Published Date: 2011-06-16 13:47:52
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Rabies - China (02): (HE), canine, dog meat trade
Archive Number: 20110616.1836
RABIES - CHINA (02): (HENAN), CANINE, DOG MEAT TRADE
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Wed 15 Jun 2011
From: Merritt Clifton <email@example.com> [edited]
On Wed 15 Jun 2011 in Beijing, China, accompanied by a professional
translator who is familiar with the issues, I attended a press
conference convened by the Shangshen Animal Foundation to discuss the
implications for rabies control resulting from investigation of an
incident on 14 Apr 2011, when Beijing activists intercepted and
eventually rescued a truck carrying approximately 500 dogs from Henan
province to dog meat restaurants in Jilin province.
The speakers included attorneys Lu Xun, An Xiang, and Cai Chunhang,
and China Veterinary Association Pet Clinic Branch vice president Liu
Lang, who was accompanied by a laboratory technician.
Nearly 70 people attended, including about 20 journalists, half a
dozen scientists, and many leading Beijing animal advocates. The
advocates spoke only after the attorneys and veterinarians, and after
most of the media left, following 2 hours of presentations about the
veterinary and legal issues.
About 80 per cent of the dogs who were seized (about 400) came from
random sources. About 20 per cent (about 100) were purpose-bred on one
farm. The rest were of unknown origin, but many had collars and some
were purebreds, who are believed to have been stolen. I believe some
were subsequently identified and reclaimed by their owners.
All of the dogs, when intercepted, had certification of rabies
vaccination and of having completed post-vaccination quarantine, to
ensure that they were not already rabid when vaccinated.
However, the certifications of vaccination and quarantine were issued
on the same day. The "veterinarian" who signed the papers turned out
to be not a veterinarian, and was not even qualified, we were told, to
take the examination to attend veterinary school.
The certification (projected on a screen for the attendees to see)
stated that the dogs had been vaccinated not only against rabies, but
also against parainfluenza, adenovirus, distemper, and parvovirus.
Many dogs, however, were ill, apparently with some of these diseases
(though none were rabid.)
40 healthy dogs were checked for titres. None showed any evidence of
having actually been vaccinated against anything.
Thus there were no actual safeguards in effect against translocating
rabies -- just an unenforced paperwork requirement.
Failure to vaccinate was just the beginning of the legal issues,
according to the lawyers.
Chinese law requires vaccination of any dogs moving interstate, but
forbids vaccination of animals who are to be eaten. No exemptions are
granted to permit interstate movement of animals who are to be eaten.
A variety of statements from federal and provincial agencies were
presented to confirm that none of them authorize interstate movement
of unvaccinated dogs. If I counted correctly, at least 8 government
agencies took the same position.
The attorneys concluded that Chinese rabies control law actually
prohibits the entire interstate dog meat trade, which they identified
as a probable major vector for translocation of rabies.
The convenors concluded the press conference by appealing for
enforcement of the laws already on the books.
Editor, Animal People
PO Box 960
Clinton, WA 98236
[China already has a serious rabies problem with over 3000 human
deaths reported per year in most years (see the USA CDC Travelers
Unregulated or illegal movement of large numbers of dogs across
province boundaries will only increase the risk of spread and more
human and canine cases.
ProMED-mail thanks Merritt Clifton for submitting this report.
A map showing the locations of the provinces mentioned can be
accessed at http://www.muztagh.com/map-of-china/ and the
HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of China can be seen at
http://healthmap.org/r/0Zss. - Mod.TY]