Although more than a month has passed since animal rights activists rescued a truckload of dogs along the Beijing-Harbin Highway, the debates triggered by this particular incident are alive and still raging in China, says an article in the Washington Post on May 20.
"The standoff last month has sparked the widest-ranging discussions to date in China over animal rights,”according to the article. "Pictures and videos from the incident have spawned endless arguments on e-mail groups and blogs, Web polls and news stories delving into each side’s points."
While dog meat has for centuries been on the dinner table of quite a number of Chinese, the nation's skyrocketing pet ownership amid its booming economy has helped foster a keener awareness of animal rights, says the article, and "the debate is the latest sign of China's rapidly changing mores and culture," although many still cannot quite understand why it is immoral to eat dog meat if we can happily devour beef or pork.
Indeed, and more profound, others have pointed to "class warfare" - the widening gap between the rich and poor in modern China - as the crux of the whole debate. "In online debates, many have noted the symbolic nature of the confrontation: a working trucker forced off the road by a black Mercedes-Benz whose driver was on his way to a resort hotel with his girlfriend," says the article.
In fact, at least one netizen has taken this argument to the extreme. "Enraged by activists fighting for animals while ignoring the plight of so many rural impoverished," one man in Guangzhou posted online messages threatening to kill a dog a day "until animal activists donate the money they raised to peasants living in poverty instead of to dogs."
"I didn't even intend to kill dogs. I was just making a point," the man says. "I felt I had to do something to represent the grass-roots people."