By CCTV reporter Neela Eyunni
Sparks have been flying between the Beijing Zoo and the city's cat lovers over the removal of temporary cat shelters. CCTV’s Neela Eyunni looks at why this is such a hot button issue and investigates the bigger problem of Beijing’s stray animals.
It's an all too common sight in Beijing: stray cats roaming the streets in search of food. The city’s stray cat population has exploded recently with some NGOs estimating the population at between half a million and 5 million.
The issue garnered wide-spread attention this month after the Beijing Zoo removed temporary shelters for the cats, drawing public criticism. But some animal experts say the root of the problem is not a lack of shelters but certain social views.
|It's an all too common sight in Beijing: stray cats roaming the streets in search|
"I’m against neutering. It’s cruel."
Experts say pet owners’ negative perception of sterilization has produced a vicious cycle of stray cats.
Mary Peng, Co-Founder, Int’l Center for Veterinary Services, said, “A lot of people think it’s not right to stop the reproduction of the animal, but it’s actually healthy for them. There are numerous health benefits.”
Peng says the solution is education. At the International Center for Veterinary Services in Beijing, volunteers learn how to trap stray cats so they can be neutered before being released.
Charlotte Landwehr cares for a stray cat colony in downtown Beijing. Landwehr says she’s seen the effectiveness of such efforts firsthand.
|It's an all too common sight in Beijing: stray cats roaming the streets|
in search of food.
Charlotte Landwehr, Volunteer, Int’l Center for Veterinary Services, said, “I feel great when there are less stray cats. They are healthier, and I don’t have to feed as many.”
The Beijing government is also doing its part. It has worked with NGOs and veterinary hospitals to sterilize more than 30,000 stray cats.
So while many animal experts say solving Beijing stray cat problem is within reach, it will take educating pet owners to make it a reality.