The Federal Trade Commission ruled last week that a “raccoon dog” is not a dog.
More commonly known as the “Asiatic Raccoon,” members of the fox-like species (Nyctereutes procyonoides) are raised and skinned by fur farmers in China, Finland and other countries.
The creature, native to East Asia, is technically a member of the Canidae family, which includes wolves, foxes, coyotes and the domestic dog.
But the FTC, in a 59-page ruling, rejected a bid from animal welfare advocates to have it renamed “Raccoon Dog,” a move aimed at slowing the importation and sales of its fur, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The fur ends up in clothing sold in the U.S., where the Humane Society of the United States has been waging a campaign for years to ban or relabel the product — under the thinking even a cold-hearted wearer of fur wouldn’t wear dog fur.
“To our knowledge, no single furbearing animal has ever before been so mistreated and completely misrepresented to the public,” the HSUS said in a statement in 2008: “Raccoon dogs are not raccoons (Procyon lotor) — they merely have facial markings that resemble raccoons.”
In an update of fur labeling rules, the Federal Trade Commission rejected that argument: “It has rings around its eyes and it climbs trees.” the document said. “The name ‘Asiatic Raccoon’ best identifies this animal for fur consumers.”
Industry leaders praised the decision, saying the anti-fur campaign “relied on confusion, misinformation and the sympathies it created to disparage the fur trade and convince consumers that the fur industry was trading in products made of domestic dog.” The Humane Society, as you’d expect, was less than pleased.
“Here’s an example of the FTC bending over backwards to accept an industry name made up out of whole cloth, in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence and common English usage,” chief program and policy officer Michael Markarian wrote.
“A raccoon dog isn’t a raccoon, just as a kangaroo rat isn’t a kangaroo — and the FTC should know the difference.”
(Photo: Zumapress.com via the Wall Street Journal)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 14th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, anti-fur, appeal, asia, asiatic raccoon, brief, campaign, dog, dogs, farmers, federal trade commission, fur, fur industry, hsus, humane society of the united states, labels names, Nyctereutes procyonoides, raccoon, raccoon dog, relabel, ruling
As many as 200,000 dogs a year are smuggled out of Thailand, across the Mekong River and into Vietnam. The cruel journeys — in which the dogs are crammed in cages — last for days. The destination is even, by Western standards, meaner yet.
While smuggling the dogs is illegal, killing, cooking and eating them is not, and remains a tradition among some in China, Vietnam and South Korea.
Dogs commonly become dehydrated, stressed, and die during the trips, in which they are packed 20 or more to a cage, and 1,000 or more to a truck.
“Obviously when you’ve got dogs stacked on top of each other they start biting each other because they are so uncomfortable, any kind of movement then the dog next to the one that’s being crushed is going to bite back,” said Tuan Bendixsen, director of Animals Asia Foundation Vietnam, a Hanoi-based animal welfare group.
When they arrive in Vietnam, the dogs are bludgeoned to death and have their throats slit before they are butchered for their meat.
Some animal rights activisists say the stress all that inflicts, even before death, is intentional — that some believe the stress and fear release hormones that improves the taste of the meat.
While some of the dogs rounded up in Thailand are strays — known as soi dogs — John Dalley of the Phuket-based Soi Dog Foundation estimates 98% of them are domesticated and says some are wearing collars and have been trained and respond to commands.
“You can see all types of pedigree animals in these captured Thai shipments — golden retrievers, long-haired terriers, you name it,” says Dalley. “Some are bought. Others are snatched from streets, temples, and even people’s gardens.”
A dog in Thailand can sell for $10, according to animal rights activists, but they’re worth $60 once they are served up in restaurants in Vietnam, where they estimate a million dogs a year are eaten.
The trade is illegal in Thailand, but, with no animal cruelty laws, traders are commonly charged with illegally transporting animals. The smugglers usually receive sentences of just a few months in jail. And the dogs taken from them often wind up being captured again by traders, and shipped again to Vietnam to become meat.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 3rd, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, asia, china, cruelty, culture, documentary, dog meat, dogs, eating, korea, meat, pets, smugglers, smuggling, soi dog foundation, strays, stress, thai, thailand, the shadow trade, traditions, transporting, vietnam
More than 500 dogs being trucked to a slaughterhouse in China were freed from that fate when an animal activist spotted the truck transporting them on the highway, went on line and used social media to arrange an impromptu blockade.
Around 200 people helped block the truck at a toll booth for 15 hours — until they were able to negotiate the dogs’ release for $17,000, saving the dogs from being slaughtered and served as food.
While farm-raised dogs are traditionally eaten in China and some other Asian countries, the man who arranged the spontaneous road block over the Twitter-like social media site Sina Weibo, in addition to being an animal activist, reportedly suspected they were stolen.
After spotting a truck packed with hundreds of whimpering dogs on a Beijing highway, he put out a call begging fellow animal lovers to come and help him force the driver to release the animals.
Many of the animals were dehydrated, injured and suffering from a virus; at least 68 have been hospitalized, and one has died, the Associated Press reports. Video footage taken Tuesday showed the animals barking and whining in cramped metal crates.
“They were squeezing and pressing on each other and some were biting and fighting, and I saw some were injured or sick,” said Li Wei, manager of Capital Animal Welfare Association and one of the people who participated in the rescue. Li said at least one dog had died in the truck.
The rescue was remarkable on several levels. It was a rare successful case of social activism in China, a sign that new sensibilities are rising when it comes to dogs, and that the traditional practice of eating them is, for many, intolerable.
China has no animal protection laws for dogs or livestock, but animal welfare movements are growing there and in much of Asia.
The activists reached an agreement with the driver to purchase the dogs for about $17,000 dollars — most of which was contributed by a pet company and an animal protection foundation, Li said.
AP reports that dozens of volunteers have flocked to the Dongxing Animal Hospital in Beijing where they are helping to clean cages and mop floors. Sixty-eight dogs were at the hospital, many of them bandaged and hooked up to intravenous drips. Most were severely dehydrated and some had parvovirus.
The rest of the dogs have been taken to a property on the northern outskirts of Beijing where Li’s group is caring for them.
“When I saw the poor dogs on Twitter, I cried and cried, but I thought there was no way they could stop the truck. So I was very surprised when they did it and I wanted to help,” said Chen Yang, 30, a woman who tended to a dog that had given birth to four puppies just after the rescue.
The volunteer response indicates a growing awareness for animal rights, said Lu Yunfeng, a sociology professor at Peking University.
“Dogs were historically on the food list in China and South Korea, while they were loved in Western countries,” Lu said.
But in China, “as people became well-off, they had money to raise dogs, and while raising these dogs, they developed feelings for dogs,” he said.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 19th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: activism, animal rights, animal welfare, asia, attitudes, beijing, block, blockade, cages, changing, china, cramped, dog, dog meat, dogs, eat, eating, freed, meat, movement, purchased, released, rescued, road block, saved, shipped, sina weibo, slaughterhouse, social media, truck, trucked, video
A new genetic analysis indicates that man’s best friend descended from Middle Eastern wolves, contradicting previous suggestions that the dog first evolved from wolves in Asia.
“Dogs seem to share more genetic similarity with Middle Eastern gray wolves than with any other wolf population worldwide,” said UCLA’s Robert Wayne, who along with his colleagues studied more than 48,000 DNA sequences in dogs and grey wolves from across the world. ”Genome-wide analysis now directly suggests a Middle East origin for modern dogs.”
The journal Nature reports on the latest development in the ongoing debate on its blog, The Great Beyond.
Previous work on mitochondrial DNA suggested East Asia was a more likely origin, while other studies have pinpointed Africa.
“This new Nature paper is a much more comprehensive analysis because we have analyzed 48,000 markers distributed throughout the nuclear genome to try to conclude where the most likely ancestral population is,” Wayne said.
The new paper is more consistent with archaeological evidence, with the oldest dog remains coming from the Middle East around 12,000 years ago, Belgium 31,000 years ago and western Russia 15,000 years ago.
The new analysis did find that some ancient east Asian dog breeds have similarities with Chinese wolves, suggesting there was some mixing between these animals after domestication, or that these breeds actually derived from Chinese wolves.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 19th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, asia, dna, dog, dogs, evolution, genetics, genome, markers, middle east, nature, origin, origins, pets, populations, robert wayne, science, ucla, wolf, wolves
The centuries-old custom of eating dogs in China could become a crime under a proposal that is expected to be sent to the National People’s Congress in April.
What would be the nation’s first law against animal abuse would fine anyone caught eating dog or cat up to 5,000 yuan and up to 15 days in jail. The law would fine “organizations” involved in the practice between 10,000 yuan and 500,000 yuan.
Dog is an age-old delicacy in parts of China, especially in the frigid regions of northeastern China. Nationwide there are dog farms where animals are raised for their meat ande fur.
The proposal comes as a new generation of rich, pet-loving urban Chinese comes of age, the Times of London reports.
Earlier attempts to draft an animal welfare bill in China were dropped after public complaints that human rights should be perfected first.
Dog meat, as in some other Asian cultures, has long been promoted by practitioners of traditional medicine for being high in protein, boosts energy levels and increases male virility.
One waiter at the Cool Old Lady Dog Meat Restaurant in the northeastern city of Shenyang said animal protection awareness was altering popular attitudes about eating cat and dog, according to the Times story. “Personally I think these two animals shouldn’t be food. They’re lovely. I just work for this restaurant to make a living, I have no choice. If the law is passed, I think our restaurant will sell other dishes.”
In recent years, animal rights activist groups have sprung up in many Chinese cities, fighting to halt mass shipments of cats and dogs, crammed in wire cages, from the north to the markets and restaurants of Guangdong. Activists have published photographs on the internet to raise awareness of the fate of the cats.
(Photo: Dogs being sold for meat at Moran Market in South Korea/by John Woestendiek)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal rights, animal welfare, asia, asian, ban, cats, china, custom, dog meat, dogs, draft, eat, eating, fines, jail, korea, law, legislation, national people's congress, practice, proposal, proposed, restaurants, tradition