Hong Kong animal lovers stage vigil for dogs killed in China
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dpa German Press Agency
Saturday December 2, 2006
Hong Kong- Animal lovers in Hong Kong were Sunday preparing a petition to the Chinese government calling for an end to the culling of dogs in Beijing and other cities. Chinese authorities have allegedly been rounding up and killing stray dogs over 35 centimetres tall in the capital and other places as part of what authorities say is an anti-rabies' campaign.
However, animal welfare groups claim that in some cases pet dogs have been forcibly taken from owners and bludgeoned to death by over-zealous officials.
Hundreds of Hong Kong animal lovers, many carrying their pets, took part in a vigil in central Hong Kong Saturday night to protest against the policy.
A petition signed by thousands of animal lovers in the former British colony outraged at reports of the dog killings is now being prepared to present to officials in Beijing.
David Wong, one of the campaigner involved in Saturday's vigil, said an estimated 100,000 dogs had been confiscated or killed in China since the round-up began two months ago.
He said Hong Kong activists wanted to express their anger and appeal to the authorities to halt the killings which he described as "like killing family members."
Pet ownership in China has boomed in recent years with increasing numbers of people in densely populated cities keeping dogs and dog clubs springing up in cities such as Shanghai and Guangzhou.
The ban on dogs over 35 centimetres tall does not extend to Hong Kong, which reverted to Chinese rule in 1997 but has semi-autonomous status under a "one country, two systems" post-hanodver arrangement.
© 2006 dpa German Press Agency