A draft of the country's first law on animal protection has proposed a fine of up to 6,000 yuan ($877) and two weeks detention for those found guilty of animal cruelty.
"The proposal will be submitted to the State Council by the end of the year," Chang Jiwen, director of the social law research department of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who authored the draft, told China Daily Thursday.
As part of strict measures to manage and control the animal population in the country, the draft also proposes a prohibition on pet owners from breeding their animals, said Chang.
The draft law further makes it compulsory for data chips to be implanted in pets to track down their owners in case the animals are found abandoned.
"These rules will ensure that people who abandon their pets will be prevented from raising more animals," he said.
The proposal will be posted on www.china.com.cn, a major information portal, to solicit public opinion in August, Chang said.
Last month, at least 30,000 dogs were culled in Hanzhong, Shaanxi province, following a rabies outbreak. About 6,200 people were reportedly bitten by dogs.
"The reason (for such outbreaks) is that people abandon their pets," Sun Jiang, director of Northwest University's Animal Protection Law research center said.
The draft is divided in two parts - protection of wild animals and domesticated animals, which has five categories.
The Animal Protection Law research project was initiated by legal experts from the China University of Political Science and Law, Wuhan University, Northwest University and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences last December.
Many believe the first draft is an effort worth lauding.
Chen Chen, a cat lover in Beijing said: "Our culture regards animals as objects. Some people even eat cats and dogs, which is unacceptable in most countries.
"We must change and start treating animals like living creatures with rights," said Chen, 25, an employee at Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.
More than 87 percent of some 54,000 netizens who took part in a recent sina.com survey thought people will treat animals better if such legislation goes through.
But everyone doesn't agree with the proposals in the draft law.
Lan Tian, a dog owner in Beijing, said the draft snatches away the right of pet owners to breed their animals.
"It (the draft) is too ideal to be implemented and turned into a law," Lan said.
The draft must go through the State Council and then receive three readings at the National People's Congress Standing Committee before being adopted as law.
The draft on animal protection is not included in the legislative agenda (2008-2013) released by the National People's Congress Standing Committee, the top legislature, indicating it might be a few years before the draft is adopted as a law.
(China Daily June 19, 2009)