LAST MONDAY (February 13) saw simultaneous protests against the use and trade of animal fur staged in front of Chinese embassies and consulate buildings in 32 different cities across the world. The thriving fur trade in China promotes conditions of extreme cruelty towards animals, with products sold mainly in Europe and the US.
The recently formed Coligação Internacional Contra o Uso de Pêlo, the international alliance against the use of fur, represented in Portugal by ANIMAL, united groups throughout the world in marking the International Day of Protest Against Fur.
Fur farms in Europe and the United States are disappearing, but the fur from dogs, cats, rabbits, foxes, chinchillas, squirrels and other animals is being exported from China to European and American markets at the lowest prices. The animals are bred and killed in even crueller conditions than those of the European and American fur farms. All of this while China is affirming itself as one of the world’s great economic powers – at the same time, it continues to be the worst country in the world for cruelty to animals.
Recently, the Chinese authorities rejected a request from the European Union to stop the activities of the famous bear farms, a move that was considered as a clear and symbolic rejection by China of any principle with regard to respect for animals.
The situation is particularly sad since China will host the 2008 Olympic Games, which have always been associated with peace. Now, the event will be staged in a country in which numerous forms of violation of human and animal rights take place, violations that are institutionally protected, encouraged and even practised by the Chinese authorities.