Shanghai China slaughtered 50,000 dogs in a government-ordered crackdown after three people died of rabies, sparking unusually pointed criticism in state media Tuesday and an outcry from animal rights activists.
Health experts said the brutal policy pointed to deep weaknesses in the health care infrastructure in China, where only 3 percent of dogs are vaccinated against rabies and more than 2,000 people die of the disease each year.
The five-day slaughter in Mouding county in Yunnan province in southwestern China ended Sunday and spared only military guard dogs and police canine units, state media reported.
Dogs being walked were seized from their owners and beaten to death on the spot, the Shanghai Daily newspaper reported. Owners were offered 63 cents per animal to kill their own dogs before killing teams were sent in, reports said.