10/21/2008, 00.00
CHINA
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Liaoning: 1,500 dogs killed by melamine-tainted feed

A dog feed scandal comes on top of the powdered milk affair in which four children died and tens of thousands got sick. China’s Health Ministry pledges greater controls.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – About 1,500 dogs have died in the last two months in Liaoning after eating animal feed tainted with melamine.

The revelation comes at a time when the government is trying to reassure the population and limit the effects of the crisis over dairy products tainted with melamine that has been linked to the deaths of four infants and caused kidney stones in 54,000 newly-born mainland children.

The dogs, known as raccoon dogs, were raised for their fur to trim coats and other clothing and died of kidney failure.

“First, we found melamine in the dogs' feed, and second, I found that 25 per cent of the stones in the dogs' kidneys were made up of melamine,” said Professor Zhang Weikui, a veterinary professor at Shenyang Agriculture University.

Last year, wheat gluten, a pet food ingredient made on the mainland that was tainted with melamine, was blamed for the deaths of dozens of dogs and cats in North America.

According to the local press, the firm that produced the feed tried to hush the whole affair by trying to compensate breeders.

The Health Ministry pledged to increase its inspections on feed companies but many of them are small and operate illegally and can thus bypass controls and rules.

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