• International
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Australia
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Hong Kong (EN)
  • Hong Kong (繁)
  • French
  • China
  • Vietnam

A perfect day

After the horrors of Maoshan live animal market a few weeks ago and seeing so much terrible abuse of dogs, cats and other domestic animals, Christie, Rainbow and I became part of something unbelievably inspiring in China this Easter weekend.

We were invited over to Xian by Jiang Hong, who heads up the local animal welfare group there and runs a sanctuary for nearly 170 dogs and several cats. She had asked us to join one of her “street exhibitions” and it was hard not to be slightly concerned as the word “demonstration” came to mind.

We needn’t have worried – Jiang Hong knew exactly what she was doing. Gaining permission from the local police – who incidentally give her stray dogs they pick up from the streets – and grabbing a bunch of willing volunteers to help her dress up as companion animals and hand out leaflets on the day, Jiang Hong was ready for anything. A couple of bright-eyed rescue dogs to bring the plight of their species closer to home and we were on our way to the Jin Hua Shopping Plaza, banners and posters in hand.

Jiang Hong quickly erected two cages resembling those we had seen holding terrified dogs and cats in the Maoshan market and she and a volunteer, dressed as a dog, climbed inside. Within seconds she was surrounded by TV cameras and journalists all clamouring to take pictures of this brave woman as she called her message loud and clear to hundreds and hundreds of shoppers now crowding around. 

As Rainbow joined the throng taking pictures, Christie and I took the opportunity to ask the public how they felt. Their responses made me glow..... one old man said how sad he was that dogs and cats were treated so cruelly in China and he felt especially close to them as his dogs protected him and guarded his house and his cats kept away the rats! A pretty perfect response – China-style. Another woman said she was disgusted with the treatment of animals that are so clearly our friends and hoped things would change soon. The tide is turning.

Jiang Hong and her team are just one of 39 groups we’re funding in this year to create and produce their own literature and material (banners, posters, flyers, etc) to carry out similar public exhibitions – all across China.

As pop music blared out across the plaza, the only Western song of the day came on as Jiang Hong sat in the cage and began her protest. It was none other than one of my favourite songs – “Proud” by Heather Small. Standing there watching these amazing people stating their case as Heather’s words, “What have you done today to make you feel proud?” echoed around the square, the day could not have been more perfect.

So, today maybe we didn’t change the world for dogs and cats in China, but it was another small step forward, demonstrating that people here are truly ready for change.

comments powered by Disqus