Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Canine-anmen square massacre

I struggle daily with the depression that comes from being so unacculturated. The more I see of other cultures, the less tolerant of them I become. In Mouding county, in the province of Yunnan in southwestern China, the local government has responded to the death of three citizens from rabies by indiscriminately massacring over 50,000 dogs:

Dogs being walked were taken from their owners and beaten on the spot, the newspaper said. Other killing teams entered villages at night, creating noise to get dogs barking, then honing in and beating them to death.

Owners were offered 63 cents per animal to kill their dogs before the teams were sent in, the report said.
Receive two-thirds of a dollar and you can murder your pet in a way you're comfortable with. To be fair, given the per capita wealth gap between the US and China, that's roughly equivalent to receiving $3.87 stateside, and dogs are an acceptable food source in China, so it might be better to imagine your local police force culling the city's pet rabits for comparison, although in Mouding county there are a lot of dogs--roughly one dog for every four people. Brutal pictures are here and here. Individual tales of the slaughter speak volumes about the lack of individual rights in the PRC:
On Saturday, a woman was walking her dog - a small white animal she'd had for a long time - in a Yunnan Province alley. Several men approached, talked her into handing them the leash and then beat the dog to death as the owner looked on in horror.
Impetus for the campaign stems from a relatively high incidence of dog attacks on Mouding's population of 200,000, with one in 556 residents having been bitten in the last year. Initially the government's reaction was to vaccinate the county's 55,000 or so dogs, but the apparently high-profile case of a 4 year-old girl who was mauled to death sparked the cleansing. Although at least 4,000 of the county's dogs had previously received vaccination, all dogs found were dispatched irrespectively:

On Saturday, officials said that 90 percent of the dogs had been killed, and they expected to finish their work on Sunday.
Military and police dogs were spared.

Rabies vaccinations cost around $10, so the Mouding campaign saved half a million minus the wages paid to task force officers involved in the midnight raids. Would you shell out ten bucks to prevent your dog from being gang-beaten by guys with wooden sticks?

Most of Mouding's residents agreed with the government's response. The Han have few qualms with eradicating all dogs because a few have caused problems. This highlights a major fault line between the West and places in the East, not only in China but also in the Islamic world: The Occident focuses on the individual, not the group. Our response would be to immunize the canine population and destroy individual rabid dogs, just as a crime commited by a thug demands punishment for that particular thug, but not for his entire extended family (or ethnicity or religion or whatever). That perspective is not ecumenical, however, and extended close contact with disparate cultures is forcing the West to face difficult questions about how far to extend individual protections to groups that violate and refuse to respect them.

The best response I see is to come up with ways to help insure that people in nations with a Western individualistic ethical worldview agree principally with the basic tenets of that worldview (which is what countries in Europe have already begun doing in asking questions of prospective immigrants that are anathema to many Muslims). Include this as part of a merit immigration system that selects only immigrants who are likely to increase the quality of life for natives by requiring a certain level of education, skills, health, IQ, etc corresponding to the construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border, the deportation of illegals who reveal that illegal status in public (through transactions, arrests, etc), and the enforcement of pungent punitions for businesses that hire illegals.

(Clash of civilizations)


adog said...

The more I see other people('s cultures), the more I love my dog.

crush41 said...

Following another 16 deaths, the city of Jining has indicated that it will execute a campaign to cull its dogs. In Yunnan, around 50,000 were massacred. Jining, also in China's southwest, has ten times as many whelps ready for slaughter.

Why not promise aid to the PRC in the amount required to have the creatures vaccinated. It would be an act of genuine goodwill and would be nearly impervious as a PR move. The method of destruction is just brutal.