Everyone born and raised in China has an animal “dearest” to them based on their year of birth. It is conceptually interesting that 12 animals levy this huge influence on the world’s largest nation. Over its long history, the Chinese civilization has offered great wisdom regarding to how humanity relate to Nature and to other beings.
Unfortunately, the reality today for the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac isn’t that rosy. As the single largest market for almost all animal products—meat, dairy, eggs, fur, leather, ivory, products tested on animals, companion animals and animals for performance, China today is in general not treating these 12 or most of its non-human animals with compassion or care, except for perhaps a small handful of most "useful" animals such as pandas. Yet many people in China will find this surprising, since the vast majority of us haven’t seen this treatment with our own eyes, because the harsh reality is always hidden from us.
We plan to respond to that question by focusing on those dozen animals for whom the Chinese have dedicated a special place in their culture for centuries.