The slaughter of 37,000 dogs, both strays and pets, in a city in eastern China has outraged the country's growing ranks of animal lovers, the Wall Street Journal reports. Dog ownership has become more widespread as China becomes wealthier, and the Hanzhong cull, ordered in response to a rabies outbreak, has been the focus of much angry online debate. All dogs found outside were beaten to death on the spot, whether or not they were registered.
City officials say the "dog-beating teams" were necessary after the outbreak killed 13 people. "Dogs are human beings' friends when they are healthy, but once they are infected they do harm to people's health," an official said. "Human beings' lives are more important." The first Chinese law to protect animals is still in the draft stages.