Jiaqi Lu, Kathryn Bayne and Jianfei Wang
In the past few years, new social passions have sparked on the Chinese mainland. At the centre of these burgeoning passions is a focus on animal welfare, animal treatment, and even animal rights, by the public and academic sectors. With China’s rapid economic changes and greater access to information from around the world, societal awareness of animal issues is rising very fast. Hastening this paradigm shift were several highly public incidents involving animal cruelty, including exposés on bear bile harvesting for traditional Chinese medicine, the thousands of dogs rescued from China’s meat trade, and the call to boycott shark fin soup and bird nest soup. This article outlines the current status of campaigning by animal advocates in China (specifically the animal rights movement) from three interlinked perspectives: wildlife conservation, companion animal protection, and laboratory animal protection. By reviewing this campaigning, we attempt to present not only the political and social impact of the concept of animal rights, but also the perceptions of, and challenges to, animal rights activities in China.