38 Chinese cities host "Adoption Day" for stray animals

Across the nation, lively cats and dogs were meeting their potential family members in 38 major cities with a combined population of over 325 million. 

Local residents in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, pet a dog during a pet adoption event on January 24.

Despite the orange and blue alerts for snowy weather and sharp temperature drops across the country, 38 Chinese cities hosted a simultaneous "Adoption Day" to encourage people to adopt strays as pets.

Across the nation, lively cats and dogs -- accompanied by pop stars and artists in live shows -- were meeting their potential family members in 38 major cities with a combined population of over 325 million. A majority of these regions are encountering alarming snow, sleet or a strong cold front.

"We call on people to help the stray animals by providing a sweet home, to adopt them instead of purchasing, and to make the world a warm place for all," Jam Hsiao, a Taiwanese singer and songwriter who endorsed the event, told Xinhua.

"Adoption Day aims to provide a non-profit platform to inform and educate the public on how to help animals in distress and advocate for the rescued strays to be accepted as domestic companions," said Yang Yang, cofounder and coordinator of the events nationwide.

"A cold, snowy winter like this poses harsh challenges for stray animals," she said. "We are thrilled to see that more and more people across the country are joining us in the effort to help defend the threatened lives and to protect our urban ecosystem, of which the animals are a vital component."

"In Beijing, as in Nanjing, Shanghai, Xi'an, Harbin, Chengdu, Nanning...from north to south, west to east, people have been rescuing animals from the street and the illegal meat trade, providing treatment for the injured and the ill, as well as sterilization, vaccination and training for the once abandoned, stolen or born feral, voluntarily," she said.

Adoption Day has set up funds to encourage the society to apply the TNR (trap, neuter, return) method for the stray population control, while publicizing that adopting the rescued is a loving way of life, Yang explained.

"Our ultimate goal is that, when helping an animal in distress and adopting a rescued stray becomes common sense and a way of life, there will no longer be need for Adoption Day to exist," she said.

"In China, an increasing number of individuals and charities have been caring for animals and they are making a significant contribution to the building of a harmonious society and to the ecology conservation," commented Qin Xiaona, chairwoman of the Capital Animal Welfare Association (CAWA), in an interview with Xinhua. "For a harmonious and civilized society where people coexist in harmony, an important sign is the way humans treat animals and nature."

Qin said that many charitable organizations, including the CAWA, had designed, produced and placed fireproof shelters for stray animals throughout the Chinese capital and in other cities.

On the other hand, in a city where 70 percent of canines are vaccinated, they will form a protective screen that impedes rabies from spreading, according to Dr. Sun Quanhui, senior scientific advisor at the World Animal Protection's China Office.

"Animal welfare institutions around the country have been making tremendous progress in helping prevent infectious disease," Sun said.

The Chinese government has pledged to practically eliminate rabies by 2025.

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