Photo by: mastino0100
The decline in their popularity was due to overcapacity. It also didn’t help that in the recent years some Chinese cities banned them, which increased the abandonment of the breed. Recently, Nibble and many other mastiffs would end up at a slaughterhouse. But due to the activists of Beijing they were saved. Many Tibetan Mastiff breeders have lost their businesses since 2013, according to the Tibetan Mastiff Association. Gombo a veteran breeder in China’s north-westernprovince of Qinghai said the cost of feeding a mastiff cost $50 to $60 a day. At its peak a purebred Tibetan Mastiff could sell for an excess of £200,000. These days they are being slaughtered for their meat and leather.
One moneymaker from Beijing told the Global Times newspaper that he sued a Beijing animal clinic for $140,000. The reason was that his dog had died on the operating table. According to him, it was a face-lift surgery. He hoped that his dog would look better afterwards and if it had a beautiful expression, then female dog owners would pay a higher price to him in case they wanted to mate their dog with his dog. So, the reason to make a plastic surgery was to make the dog more powerful and attractive.
According to Gombo, mastiffs were used by nomadic families against thieves and wolves. They are very common to a cold weather and the thin oxygen of the higher grasslands. Through one year females give birth only once, so they are very similar to wolves with their nature. They have the power to protect people and any possession from strangers, which makes people be proud of them.
Anna Li, a Beijing Animal Rights member, organizes operations to prevent the trucks reaching their destination. The risk is considerable for the activists trying to stop a full truck on the Chinese Highway. When a truck is stopped the condition of the animals is appalling. Apart from being malnourished, some of the animals have broken bones. After the activists bribe the driver to release the animals they find more than a third are already dead.
Mary Peng, the founder and Chief Executive of the International Center for Veterinary Services, works at the Beijing Animal Hospital that treats the rescued dogs. During her 25 years of service Mary Peng has seen the rise and fall of dog breed fads. At the height of their popularity the solemn faced, rugged Tibetan Mastiff were sought after and highly regarded. Now many end up at a slaughterhouse in Northeast China, and for $5 a head they become hotpot ingredients, imitation leather and liners for winter gloves.