Nip­ping the stray prob­lem in the bud

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By LI XUEQING in Shang­hai

lixueqing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Royal Canin, one of the world’s largest pet food man­u­fac­tur­ers, on Au­gust 28 un­veiled a long-term pro­ject to pro­vide care for stray pets at the Stray Pet Care Sum­mit in Shang­hai. In the first phase of this Stray Pet Pro­ject, the com­pany will spon­sor the ster­il­iza­tion of 1,000 dogs and cats in China.

Liu Lang, pres­i­dent of Bei­jing Small An­i­mal Vet­eri­nary As­so­ci­a­tion Ster­il­iza­tion, said that the ini­tia­tive is a good way to pre­vent aban­don­ment as it re­duces be­hav­ioral prob­lems and un­wanted preg­nan­cies. He also pointed out that stray an­i­mals can have their life spans nearly dou­bled as ster­il­iza­tion pro­tects them from cer­tain re­pro­duc­tive dis­eases, and that they are less likely to fight with one another and get in­jured when they are in heat.

“China is al­ready the third largest pet-rais­ing mar­ket in the world, af­ter the United States and Europe,” said Chen Qiao of Royal Canin. Ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey by Mars Pet­care, there were some 62 mil­lion cats and dogs in China in 2014. Chen added that the num­ber of strays in the world is es­ti­mated to be about 500 mil­lion, and Chi­nese cities like Bei­jing and Tian­jin are home to about 1 mil­lion of them at the peak.

Xia Zhaofei, pres­i­dent of the vet­eri­nary teach­ing hos­pi­tal of China Agri­cul­tural Hos­pi­tal, noted that many stray pets are a re­sult of aban­don­ment. Cai Xiaodong, gen­eral man­ager of Royal Canin China, said that ster­il­iza­tion is im­por­tant be­cause while most strays are likely to die of star­va­tion or dis­ease, their un­con­trolled breed­ing ac­tu­ally cre­ates a vi­cious cy­cle.

Another as­pect of Royal Canin’s plan to en­hance pet wel­fare is the es­tab­lish­ment of pet care com­mu­ni­ties in Bei­jing and Tian­jin that will teach peo­ple how to raise their pets us­ing the proper tech­niques. Ac­cord­ing to Cai, the com­pany will also be team­ing up with an­i­mal hos­pi­tals and an­i­mal pro­tec­tion or­ga­ni­za­tions to drive the cam­paign for­ward. Royal Canin will also help ster­il­ized strays to find own­ers through of­fi­cial chan­nels. Some may even be trained as work­ing dogs.

Since 2011, the China Bei­jing Ken­nel Club, one of the pro­ject’s sup­port­ers, has trained 10 stray dogs, with two of them be­com­ing as­sis­tants to hear­ing-im­paired peo­ple. The other eight dogs have also found homes.

“The train­ing of the dogs is long and com­plex. Not many dogs are suit­able to be­come a hear­ing dog,” said club mem­ber Wang Yue. “We hope more peo­ple will know about the pro­ject and help with it.”

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