Camel Abuse In China Grows Among Beggars

Prin Dumas

In China, beggars have resorted to camel abuse, mutilating camels, as part of gaining sympathy from the public and increasing money donations. BBC News reports that the pictures of camel abuse have caused much debate about the laws in place to regulate such barbaric practices. Although the goal is to trigger sympathy, beggars have brought severe criticism from animal rights advocates and local police. Although wild camels are protected in China, domestic camels are not protected, and this results in law enforcement merely forcing beggars to move or leave an area.

The Bactrian camel in China has evolved to adapt with its giant fat mounds -- camel humps. According to Smithsonian Magazine, Bactrian camels also have better eye protection to protect them from heat, UV rays and dust. They also resist respiratory diseases, which is why they are great desert animals. In China, Bactrian camels are mostly found in the Taklimakan Desert.

Activist, John Hare, tells BBC News, "If the public does not want any confrontation with the beggars, they should inform the authorities. But unfortunately as the pictures show, people tend to walk by, say nothing and do nothing."

His charity, Wild Camel Protection Foundation, circulates the images of such animal abuse with the hopes of raising funds to protect the camels from further abuse in these countries.

The most recent scandal has begun to trend, after pictures of two beggars and a mutilated camel surfaced in social media. Located in Fuzhou in Southeast China, the Daily Mail adds that the two men insist they saved the camel after being run over by a train. Local police deny the story, and have called the camel abuse a scam, noting that it is more likely the men cut the hooves off themselves to continue their begging routines in the city. Even though the wounds were healed, it seems suspicious that beggars would take on the challenge of caring for such a large animal.

There are several resources to bring help to abused animals in China, including petitions online exceeding 15,000 signatures. Legislation seems to be the main platform from where change happens in China. Since domestic camels are not protected by the law, they have become an easy target for the homeless and beggars since this past spring.

(Photo courtesy of EuroPics/DailyMail)