Changing Attitudes about the Weak
Social and Legal Conditions for Animal Protection in China
Author: Alisha F. Carpenter & Wei Song
The foundation of current legal protection of animals in China is based on the principle of "rational utilization." This utilitarian attitude supports the exploitation of animals through the legal means of resource management. However, through a process of public education and the construction of recent legislation, attitudes towards animals are rapidly changing in China. After the introduction of the concept of animal welfare in China in 1989, preliminary socioeconomic events such as early laboratory animal science, animal cruelty reports, pet ownership, engagement in international trade, and the SARS epidemic, helped spur a trend away from a purely utilitarian attitude towards more positive associations with animals from the Chinese public. This phenomenon will be analyzed through the actions of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the media, academia, and international business to influence education and the development of legislation to promote animal protection practices. In addition, recent events will be used to illustrate political realities in China that impede the full promotion of animal welfare protection.