Pets around the globe
Countries around the world are undergoing legal, cultural and industry-related changes involving pets as they continue their integration with our lives.
In the U.S. the fact that a dog serial killer in Hong Kong made the front page of yesterday's Wall Street Journal - a story with no tangible business angle but evoking a strong gut reaction - emphasizes the growing trend of humanizing pets ("On a Hong Kong Trail, A Serial Dog Slayer Terrorizes Pet Owners" by Kate Linebaugh, The Wall Street Journal, Oct 27, 2005). Anyone up for a stakeout?
In China, the number one consumer of dog meat in the world, there is a concerted effort underway to remove it from stores and menus before the international community arrives for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The government has relaxed pet ownership rules as a burgeoning monied class in a one-child society seeks companionship and retail therapy.
The result is a country with restaurants that serve dogs as well as restaurants that simply serve dog. The pet industry in China has exploded and I expect it to maintain strong growth for the next few years. At least.
Photo by Elizabeth Dalziel, AP
In Rome, citizens must now walk their dogs at least once a day, or face a fine. Expect a spike in sales of dog collars and leashes in Roman retail stores, just in time for the holidays.
In London, the government recently announced an animal welfare bill touted as the most significant in nearly a century. Provisions include increasing fines and prison time significantly for cruelty violations and prohibiting sales of animals to minors.
In Taiwan, the Council of Agriculture recently announced new policies regulating the import, export and sale of pets in response to strong pet ownership statistics.
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