While reading through a lot of the resources about China, I stumbled upon a New York Times article listed under the Culture section of the China Digital Times. The article, “Once Banned, Dogs Reflect China’s Rise,” discusses the relatively new phenomenon of dog ownership in China. Among the wealthy, certain expensive breeds of dogs are becoming status symbols, but for many Chinese, especially in cities, dogs are becoming beloved family pets with entire pet care industries centered on catering to their needs.
The article drew my attention at first because I never knew that the Chinese government once banned pet ownership. But today the rules are softening, as in a country where many couples have only one child and many children have no siblings, dogs are playing extraordinary roles as social companions. Dog swimming pools and the opening of elaborate doggy hotels reveal China’s growing affection for dogs as pets. In light of this rise in pet owner consumerism, the article goes on to raise an interesting point about the way in which a society allocates its resources. One Chinese dog skeptic expressed the concern that, “The birth of humans needs to be planned, but anyone can raise a dog?”
And, yes, far fewer people are eating dog in China these days as well, a fact the article attributes not only to the growing numbers of pet owners, but also to the fact that “other developed countries have animal protection laws.”