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Rabbit abuse video highlights animal rights issue

Updated: 2010-12-01 07:11

By He Dan (China Daily)

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BEIJING - Animal rights experts are calling for urgent legislation to stop animal cruelty, following the exposure of an emerging business behind widespread videos of rabbit abuse on the Internet.

A woman, who was paid to abuse rabbits to death on a video clip, has reported to the police after angry netizens launched a "human flesh search" on her and found out her identity, Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old woman, who uses an alias of Huang Xu, appeared on a four-minute video torturing a little rabbit under her high-heeled shoes and then crushing the creature to death by sitting on a thick glass plate placed on it.

The video was first put on mop.com, a popular Chinese website, and reportedly drew more than 500,000 hits on the first day it was published.

An unidentified friend of Huang said she had been involved in this underground business since 2007, when she put her resume online to find a job. A man contacted her and offered her a job making videos of "preparing salad by foot", which meant Huang's job was to trample fruit with high-heeled shoes.

The man, who was not identified by Huang's friend, reportedly told Huang that the video would only be sold abroad and that each time she trampled a fruit he would give her 100 yuan ($15).

The man gradually required Huang to crush animals such as fish, insects and rabbits, and threatened to release the videos online if she quit, according to Xinhua's report.

Huang said she received 400 yuan for the rabbit job and later quit the business. She has been suffering psychological harassment since then, the report said.

Huang was cited by the report as saying that she hoped the police could find out who was operating the indecent business behind the scenes as soon as possible to stop them from trapping more innocent women.

A famous netizen, Liusuifeng, also revealed on tianya.com, one of the most popular Chinese forums, that these kinds of videos were produced by a group of like-minded people named "crushfetish", who hire women to abuse animals.

"I am shocked by these animal cruelty videos and their negative influence on the public, especially the younger generation, is beyond my imagination," said Hua Ning, a campaign manager of the International Fund for Animal Welfare Beijing office.

"We call on the Internet supervision authorities to delete all these odious videos and ban online animal abuse information," Hua said. "However, in the long term, we expect the speed-up of legislation to prevent cruel treatment to animals."

In September 2009, a proposed law on the prevention of cruelty to animals, drafted by an expert team led by Chang Jiwen, a professor at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, suggested making animal abuse a punishable offence.

The draft also provided guidelines on the basic standards for treating all animals in different situations, including disease prevention and medical care.

Zhang Shijun, a member of the expert team, told China Daily that the draft has already been submitted to the National People's Congress, the top legislative body of China, but there is no clear timetable for the passage of this law.

Zhang, associate professor of law at Shandong University, said the draft attracted widespread public attention and heated debate after it was made public in September 2009.

"The public has not reached a consensus on the necessity for this law, and some people argue that since China is still a developing country, we should give priority to addressing people's welfare instead of animals' welfare," Zhang said.

"I just want to emphasize that protecting animals' basic needs will never contradict human beings' welfare, and I hope more and more Chinese people will understand this," Zhang said.

China Daily

(China Daily 12/01/2010 page5)

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