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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Dogs Discarded In China As Fad Ends

Back in 2011, we spotlighted the purchase of a Tibetan Mastiff  named "Big Splash" that captured the world's record for the price of a dog: $1.5 million. Now we've learned that these once trendy dogs are being rapidly discarded by their owners because, well, the fad is over. No longer are these gigantic, yet regal guard dogs revered as the latest accoutrement of the wealthy.

Photo of "Nibble' rescued from a truck bound for a slaughterhouse courtesy of Gilles Sabre for The New York Times

This telling article in The Times doesn't spare the horrific details of what happens when living creatures are treated like commodities. If it weren't for a group of Beijing animal rights activists literally throwing themselves in front of a truck, 20 Tibetan mastiff's and 150 other dogs would have met a slaughterhouse fate. By the time they paid the driver for the dogs' freedom, over a third had perished.

It gets worse. At the height of the mastiff craze, "some breeders pumped their studs with silicone to make them look more powerful" and drive up the price of their offspring. It's hard to feel sorry for them now that the fad is over and these breeders are "stuck" with dogs that cost $50 or $60 dollars a day to feed.

The founder and chief executive of a Beijing animal hospital that's treating the canine survivors said in her 25 years in China, she's seen "successive waves of dog fads, which invariably begin with speculative breeding and end with mass abandonment." But even she never dreamed she'd "see a Tibetan mastiff on the back of a meat truck."

The U.S., unfortunately, has suffered its own pet 'fads". Take, for example, the tiny dog craze sparked by celebrities who carried their miniature canines in purses. Many believe this fad resulted in thousands of small dogs dumped in California shelters when unsuspecting owners realized that dogs, no matter how small, need their feet to touch the ground.

What we love here at Bocci's Beefs is to mix things up: Write one day about a disturbing animal welfare issue like this one (knowledge is the first step to righting a wrong), and the next post a cute pet video or tout a great pet product. Although reading about some issues regarding our fellow creatures may take you out of your comfort zone, we hope you'll read and comment on those posts, too. As always, thanks for your support.

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