China can be an unforgiving country for dogs: attitudes towards pets have become more progressive over the past decade – a product of growing wealth and exposure to foreign ideas – but large canines are banned in many cities; pet markets are poorly regulated, and puppies frequently die soon after being purchased. In parts of the country, dogmeat makes a popular wintertime dish; animals kept as pets are frequently stolen and sold as meat.
"Pet ownership has risen dramatically, it's just gone through the roof," said Paul Littlefair, an expert on China's animal rights. But animal protection remains a grey area, he said. Thanks to China's mass urbanisation, strict family planning laws and changing social norms, an increasing number of Chinese people live alone, and many of them keep dogs as company. "People spend a ridiculous amount of money on their dogs – they love their dogs like they're family members," said filmmaker Wu Ming, who is making a documentary about dog ownership in China. Wu said she became aware of China's often contradictory attitude towards dogs after her roommate bought a labrador retriever. "There were a lot of shocking reactions to the dog – if we got into an elevator with someone they'd start screaming and trying to climb the walls," she said. Since the 2008 Olympics, dogs over 35cm tall have been banned within Beijing's fourth ring road. During the daytime, pensioners take their pekinese and poodles on strolls through Beijing's residential areas. Golden retrievers, labradors and huskies only appear late at night, when the city's police presence dwindles. Earlier this year, protests broke out in the northern city of Harbin after municipal officials announced a new ordinance prohibiting "dangerous" breeds – including golden and labrador retrievers – forcing many of the city's dog owners to either move away or quickly relinquish their pets.
READING COMPREHENSIONRead the text and the instructions to the questions very carefully. Answer all the questions in English.
1. Write a summary of the text in English, including the most important points, using your own words whenever possible.
(Maximum 50 words)
2. Find words or phrases in the text that correspond in meaning to the following
a) forbidden: bannedb) bought: purchasedc) growing: increasingd) walks: strolls
3. Complete the second sentence of each pair so that it has the same meaning as the first one.
a) Attitudes towards pets have become more progressive over the past decade – a product of growing wealth and exposure to foreign ideas.
- Due to growing wealth and exposure to foreign ideas, attitudes towards pets have become more progressive over the past decade.b) "Pet ownership has risen dramatically; it's just gone through the roof," said Paul Littlefair.
- Paul Littlefair said that pet ownership had risen dramatically and that it had just gone though the roof.c) An increasing number of Chinese people live alone, and many of them keep dogs as company.
- An increasing number of Chinese people, many of whom live alone, keep dogs as company.d) People spend a ridiculous amount of money on their dogs.
4. Answer the following questions in your own words.
a) Why is animal protection in China described as “a grey area”?
- Animal protection in China is described as a "grey area" because pets like dogs are not really treated very well. Big dogs are forbidden in some cities, sometimes dogs are eaten, and often puppies that you buy die very soon.b) What sort of dogs do the Chinese seem to prefer, and why?
5. Have you got a pet? If so, describe it. If not, what sort of pet would you like to have? Why? (Approximately 120 words)
I do have a pet. His name is Oscar, and he's a fluffy male cat with some Siamese blood in him. He's really sweet, and behaves more like a dog. He's quite old now, so he mainly sleeps on the sofa all day and reacts only to food calls. Oscar has been in our family for about thirteen years; he's kept us company and played a lot when he was younger. He never once attacked us. There's only one thing he hates, and that’s moving house or traveling. He is so shy that whenever the doorbell rings and someone he doesn't know arrives, he disappears completely. You can only tell where he is when you notice a large lump under the sofa or the bedspread. We love him lots, but my mother says that once he is gone forever, she doesn't want to have another cat, or any other sort of pet. She says they give too much trouble with the cleaning, as there is always hair everywhere.