“Give this women a medal,  she is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in & has actually saved animals lives across China

Qin Xiaona, 66, has earned a reputation in China over recent years as an animal rights crusader in a country where animal cruelty is rampant. It’s a mission that has courted as much support as it has controversy, with stunts including blocking highways to save dogs crammed in trucks bound for hot pot restaurants, campaigning to scrap rodeos and even condemning televised magician stunts involving goldfish being lauded and lambasted alike.

Qin Xiaona has campaigned for tougher animal cruelty laws through her NGO Capital Animal Welfare Association. Photo: Courtesy of Qin Xiaona

Qin is the director of Capital Animal Welfare Association (CAWA), an NGO she founded in 2000. The association only has three staff members, but its push to lobby lawmakers for tougher punishments for animal abusers and raise public awareness about the plight of strays is unrelenting.

Sitting cross-legged on a sofa during our interview, it’s easy to see Qin’s passion for animals and the love they have for her. A black cat jumps up onto the sofa and nestles itself comfortably into her lap. Another ginger tabby with white stripes named Monday sidles up to her. Unable to leap up due to his paralyzed limbs, Monday is content to gaze at his owner and let out an affectionate purr.

“See the desire for life in their eyes? They used to be stray cats abandoned by their owners,” she says. “But how can we be indifferent and not help them survive?”

Outlawing dog meat

Qin, a former reporter and editor at Beijing Television, is passionate and articulate when talking about animals. On the eve of our interview she had just returned to Beijing from Shenzhen, where she attended the three-day 2012 Shenzhen China Charity Fair.

Perhaps the most notable legacy of Qin’s association is a local regulation issued in June in Weixian county, Shandong Province, that banned consumption of dog meat. The law, which followed intense lobbying from CAWA and is the first of its kind in China, sent shock waves across a country where eating dog meat is a traditional culinary custom in many rural areas.

Qin, though proud of the association’s achievement in ensuring the law was passed, was disappointed it failed to attract much media attention at the time. The law not only prohibited dogs being slaughtered for their meat, it also included what Qin describes as “pioneering” provisions requiring all dogs to be vaccinated against rabies.

Qin hopes other counties across China will follow suit by passing similar laws, but acknowledges one of the key challenges lies in persuading the public to push for these amendments. “The association is playing the role as a bridge connecting public opinions with the government,” she noted.

Dependent on public support

Appeals to the public from CAWA have had mixed results, with some acts of animal cruelty prevented and others ignored. In 2009, Qin led activists protesting a bid to bring a Spanish bullfight to Huairou district, Beijing.

She also presented evidence to local government officials outlining animal cruelty at rodeos, leading the Rodeo China show slated for Beijing’s “Bird’s Nest” National Stadium on October 3 last year to be scrapped.

“Qin is willing to take responsibility and is passionate and determined,” said CAWA’s administrative assistant Li Wei, specifically referring to how Qin on April 15 last year helped rescue 520 dogs loaded in a truck bound for a slaughterhouse in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province. “Qin was up until midnight calling many different people, including police and government officials, to coordinate the rescue.”

“Animal welfare is linked to the mental health of society. If we can learn to respect animals, it will help wipe out hatred among human beings, too,” Qin said.

Written by Li Ying.  News Link:-http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/722112.shtml