Dog lovers can’t ig­nore law to ful­fill goal

China Daily (Canada) - - VIEWS -

The at­tempt of some dog lovers to res­cue 320 dogs by forcibly stop­ping the truck car­ry­ing them on an ex­press­way in­North China’sHe­bei prov­ince and thus caus­ing a mas­sive traf­fic jam has sparked a heated pub­lic de­bate. De­spite their good in­ten­tion of sav­ing the dogs, the dog lovers’ ac­tion se­ri­ously en­dan­gered pub­lic safety and has been se­verely crit­i­cized by ne­ti­zens.

Ac­cord­ing to the an­nounce­ment made by traf­fic po­lice of Lang­fang, He­bei, on its of­fi­cial mi­croblog site, on Satur­day a truck car­ry­ing 320 dogs from Cen­tral China’sHe­nan prov­ince toNorth­east China’s Jilin prov­ince was forcibly stopped on the high­way by three ve­hi­cles driven by the dog lovers. The two par­ties came to blows and even de­fied the traf­fic po­lice’s or­der, caus­ing the mas­sive traf­fic jam on the high­way.

This is not the first time dog lovers in China have used ex­treme or vi­o­lent means to save dogs. Even on some pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sions, they have forcibly stopped trucks car­ry­ing dogs on high­ways.

As pets, dogs are loved by­many Chi­nese peo­ple with­many re­gard­ingth­e­mas­mem­ber­sof their fam­i­lies. Sup­port for an­i­mal right­san­dan­i­mal pro­tec­tion is in­creas­ing in­China, andthe pub­lic re­spects­doglovers’ feel­ings and­many of their ap­peals.

The prob­lem is that theLa­wof Pro­tec­tion of Wildlife pro­vides pro­tec­tion to only wild an­i­mals, which means dogs, as com­mon pets, are not pro­tected by the lawin China. And that is the rea­son why we see so many con­flicts be­tween dog lovers and other peo­ple.

But there can be no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for dog lovers to use ex­treme and vi­o­lent means, espe­cially vi­o­lat­ing the La­won Road Traf­fic Safety and en­dan­ger­ing other peo­ple’s lives.

The use of ex­treme means by dog lovers re­flects two ma­jor prob­lems with safe­guard­ing in­di­vid­ual rights. The first is the as­sump­tion that per­sonal in­ter­ests and rights are above all other es­tab­lished norms and laws.

It is good that Chi­nese peo­ple’s sense of safe­guard­ing their rights and in­ter­ests is strength­en­ing. Un­for­tu­nately, some of them for­get that these rights and in­ter­ests have to be pro­tected “in a le­gal way”.

Dog lovers’ feel­ings are un­der­stand­able, but their ex­treme be­hav­ior caus­ing harm to oth­ers, for ex­am­ple, stop­ping ve­hi­cles on a high­way should not be con­doned be­cause it en­dan­gers not only their own lives but also those of oth­ers. How­can dog lovers as­sume that dogs’ safety is more valu­able than peo­ple’s safety?

More­over, if dog lovers’ ex­treme ac­tions on high­ways cause any traf­fic ac­ci­dents and result in hu­man ca­su­al­ties, they should bear le­gal re­spon­si­bil­ity. They should know that per­sonal in­ter­ests and rights can be pro­tected and re­spected only un­der the le­gal frame­work, which does not al­low them to vi­o­late other peo­ple’s rights and in­ter­ests.

The sec­ond prob­lem is ig­nor­ing pro­ce­dural jus­tice. Many peo­ple pur­sue so-called jus­tice in away that vi­o­lates the law, which can­not be tol­er­ated. The lack of a spe­cific dog pro­tec­tion reg­u­la­tion in China makes it dif­fi­cult for dog lovers to pro­vide full pro­tec­tion to their pets through le­gal means. So in­stead of re­sort­ing to ex­treme means to achieve their goals, dog lovers should ap­peal to the leg­is­la­tion to en­act a spe­cific la­won do­mes­tic an­i­mals, be­cause ef­forts to stop a truck car­ry­ing dogs, even if suc­cess­ful, can only save a lim­ited num­ber of dogs, but a sound la­won do­mes­tic an­i­mal pro­tec­tion will not only pro­tect all dogs but also save other an­i­mals from be­ing abused or slaugh­tered. To suc­ceed, an­i­mal pro­tec­tion work re­quires wide pub­lic sup­port. But the il­le­gal meth­ods used by dog lovers to save dogs ac­tu­ally tar­nish their pub­lic im­age, and there­fore they lose pub­lic sup­port to achieve their fi­nal goal. Ig­nor­ing pro­ce­dural jus­tice to achieve per­sonal goals is not the cor­rect­way to deal with a prob­lem in mod­ern so­ci­ety ruled by law. “Do­ing the right thing” is im­por­tant, but it is also im­por­tant to “do things right”.

The au­thor is a writer with China Daily. wangy­iqing@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

LIU XINYI / FOR CHINA DAILY

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