Three cats with Covid were euthanized in China causing uproar – Quartz

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Liu, a woman living in the northern Chinese city of Harbin, was hospitalized with Covid-19 on September 21. A week later, local authorities euthanized her three cats, sparking a huge debate over animal rights and how to treat Covid-positive pets under the country’s strict coronavirus control policies.

In a Chinese social media post this week, Liu said employees of the Residential Committee – local governance bodies responsible for enforcing Covid-19 prevention – had informed her of the test results of his cats and him. had said his pets would be slaughtered because there were no “previous examples of animals receiving [Covid] treatment, ”according to the Beijing News.

Liu’s cats, a Siamese cat and two exotic shorthair cats, have been with her for about six years. She told the media that she did not consent to euthanasia. Despite this, the animals were killed yesterday (September 28). Faced with a strong public backlash, committee workers in Nangang, the neighborhood where Liu lives, defended their decision as vital to preventing the apartment from being a potential Covid reservoir. “In this case, the owner could not return home, neither could the residents of her unit or even the entire neighborhood, and the pandemic could never end,” the workers told Beijing News.

Feng Zijian, deputy director of the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, also supported the decision at the district level. He told the point of sale that once the Covid-positive cats “released their virus” in a family, it would be difficult to turn it off completely. If a cat has tested positive on repeated testing, it should be euthanized, Feng said. Under China’s pandemic prevention laws, pets can be killed when authorities deem it necessary.

The decisions to test and then kill the cats are another demonstration of China’s strict approach to keeping Covid cases as close to zero as possible as some countries have moved to monitoring death or serious illness instead. than the absolute number of cases. But the zealous approach is not uniform across China, where pet ownership is on the rise, and the agriculture ministry last year reclassified cattle dogs as pets.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only a small number of animals around the world have been infected with Covid-19, mostly through people who carry the virus, while the risk of them being infected. transmit to humans is considered weak. Cats have a higher rate of catching the virus than dogs, according to veterinary epidemiologists, and ferrets are of greater concern.

While there haven’t been in-depth best practice studies for Covid-positive pets, testing and slaughtering pets appears to be an outlier. The Mayo Clinic, an academic medical center, recommends that pets be isolated in a room away from other family members and that owners wear gloves when interacting with them. The clinic notes that among the dogs or cats that caught the virus, some showed no symptoms, while the sick showed mild symptoms and none died. The US FDA advises against routine testing on pets. Some big cats in zoos were tested for Covid-19 after showing symptoms, which then went away.

The deaths of Liu’s cats have sparked a heated debate online. Some said they agreed with the decision, citing China’s huge sacrifices to fight Covid, and arguing that the country has no energy available to study the ideal treatment of animals during a pandemic. Others said this episode is an example of lazy governance and the government should develop a more humane and standardized approach.

“The virus situation is still serious abroad, but have you heard a single incident of pet euthanasia? … For households with pets, the animals are members of their family”, said a Weibo user.

At the start of last year, when the pandemic began, volunteers broke into homes in Wuhan to take care of people’s pets during their quarantine. And after some local bans on pets and their owners quarantined together, a district in Beijing said earlier this year that a family member could stay home to look after public rejection. pets while the rest would go to centralized quarantine locations. Ban Yue Tan, a state publication, hailed Shanghai’s January decision to allow pet owners to quarantine themselves with their pets as demonstrating a more caring approach by authorities to citizens.


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