A spate of news of pet “cullings” and cruel acts against people amid Covid-19 lockdowns in China have captured widespread public attention. While it may be easy to classify the instigators of such acts as heartless, former journalist Jessie Tan believes that those actions may not be borne out of an individual’s ill nature or will, but a reaction to the complex forces amid the Covid-19 lockdown.
Sadly, a Chinese pet owner in Shangrao, Jiangxi province, had the dubious honour of witnessing via pet monitor the culling of her Welsh corgi, right before her eyes. The perpetrators? Covid-19 community workers who have now given their peers a bad name. This is not just an issue of animal rights, Lorna Wei asserts, but also one of privacy and information disclosure, personal safety, and the abuse of power.
In the face of surveillance camera footage showing pet dogs biting an 80-year-old lady, it should have been an open-and-shut case. But one such “dog-bites-man” incident in Anyang dragged on for more than two months. The pet owner was believed to be a person of power, and only increasing attention on the case led to an eventual apology. Why did it take so long for someone to do the right thing?
The pet economy is thriving in China, driven mostly by the one-child generation who crave an emotional connection and young job seekers taking up “animal communication” gigs during the pandemic. Analysts are optimistic about this sector, where middle class households are more than willing to spend more on the physical and emotional well-being of their furkids. Zaobao correspondent Wong Siew Fong speaks to pet owners and business owners to uncover more about this emerging industry.