Advocating for Change in China

Beijing, China

   It was an honor to meet with U.S. Ambassador to China, Terry Branstad this week.  We had an interesting chat.  China, reportedly, has the second highest rate of incidents and human fatalities involving rabies after India.  According to veterinary experts, the main vectors of the virus are dogs.  This has led to fear-based brutality of dogs and, because it can be transmitted by saliva, exceptionally high transmission rates to humans. 

   Experts in China tell me the problem is compounded by a lack of available rabies vaccinations and a glut of counterfeit vaccinations.  It was important to me to relay this message to the Ambassador.  Rabies crosses species and the virus and the dire consequences caused by it can be reduced significantly.  

   After the discussion I presented the Ambassador with a copy of the book, Rescuing Ladybugs.  The title elicited a smile and prompted him to tell a story. 

   Ambassador Branstad told me that when he was a member of the Iowa House of Representatives (1973-79), before becoming Governor, a group of school children requested the ladybug be proclaimed the state bug. While their request wasn’t honored, it was remembered – fondly. 

   Our meeting was a reaffirmation for me that the work to protect one species benefits us all.  Let us not forget to see life through the eyes of children and when we can, reward them with action that ensures their future.  

Jennifer Skiff

Director of International Programs

The Center for a Humane Economy & Animal Wellness Action

U.S. Ambassador to China, Terry Branstad with Jennifer Skiff, Director of International Programs for The Center for a Humane Economy