A survey conducted recently by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)’s Beijing office and domestic organizations found widespread concern amongst residents over abandoned pets.
IFAW official He Yong said there are at least one million abandoned pets wandering the streets of the city, 80 percent of which are cats and most of the rest dogs.
One couple of breeding cats and their offspring could produce 420,000 animals in seven years if left to their own devices, according to Jackson Zee, an IFAW emergency relief expert, and a pair of dogs could produce 67,000 in six years.
According to the survey, 40 percent of interviewees said abandoned pets were now a very serious problem, but only 4 percent said they would be willing to adopt one.
According to IFAW, there are currently only around 10 animal rescue centers in Beijing. Most are non-governmental organizations run on private donations, and some are almost out of money.
The Beijing Human and Animal Environmental Education Center is one of largest rescue units for abandoned pets. It is designed to house 200 animals but now accommodates twice as many.
In March, the center accepted over 40 abandoned pets but only 3 have since been adopted, all dogs. Cats are rarely accepted for adoption.
Doctor Gao, from Beijing’s animal hospital, said sterilization is the most effective way to curb the problem since sexual frustration is a common factor in pets’ troublesome behavior. Sterilization can avoid this as well as boosting immunity, and most pets are abandoned because of difficult behavior or disease.
Zhang Luping, sponsor of the Beijing Human and Animal Environmental Education Center said people should do more in changing their attitudes: “Attitude is much more important than rescue work. Ten people changing their minds is more useful than rescuing 5 pets.”
(China.org.cn by Wang Zhiyong May 10, 2005)