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February 16, 2011

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Dog butchery film stirs outcry

A VIDEO clip showing a man using a knife to skin what is thought to be a golden retriever on a busy street in Shanghai ignited public fury after it was posted online yesterday.

It sparked renewed calls for authorities to address the absence of laws to protect animals and punish animal abuse.

The five-minute video was uploaded on by a woman who said she came across the scene in Hongkou District's Shuidian Road.

The clip shows a man in the process of cutting the skin off the dog, which was hanging from a tree by a wire tied around its neck.

The clip showed the man was slowly but skillfully skinning the animal. "The dog is believed to have already been dead," the video poster said. Behind the scene, cars could be seen driving past and pedestrians walking by.

The man appeared to be midway through the skinning process, as the fur had been removed from the animal's head and upper torso. What remained of the body gave enough clues to identify it as an adult golden retriever, a popular domestic pet.

The person who took the video, named Shuqin online, said in a message left with the video "I was totally stunned and speechless at the scene." Shuqin called for more people to join animal protection groups - the video was reposted thousands of times on, one of China's Twitter-like microblog services, and drew widespread condemnation. Many web users called on China to introduce animal protection laws in an effort to halt practices such as the one on the video.

"In China, it is a tradition for some people to eat dogs. I might tolerate that as it is a custom, but the dog (in the video) was very likely a stolen pet killed just for the meat. It's such a shame," claimed one poster called Cape Home. Many others used much stronger language to vent their fury.

Sang Biao, a professor of East China Normal -University, said such acts of butchery can traumatize witnesses, especially the young. "Scenes -involving blood and knives are especially -harmful to children. The killing of animals should only be allowed at licensed slaughterhouses."

The district urban management team said the slaughter could have been done by a member of staff from one of the hotpot eateries on the street. They intended stepping up patrols to stop such practices as it disturbed the public environment. "But we have no right to question them on animal rights abuses," a team official, surnamed Su, told Shanghai Daily.

Dog hotpot is traditionally popular in winter and some restaurants are believed to be trading at low prices with dealers who capture strays, as well as stealing dogs from their owners.


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