The Yulin Dog Meat Festival, an event – according to Humane Society International (HSI) – created in 2010 by China’s dog traders in effort to boost flagging dog meat sales, is quickly approaching.
This year’s Yulin Dog Meat Festival is set to run from June 21 -30, and will likely lead to the slaughter of thousands of dogs. In an effort to decrease this death toll, activists in China are working to save canines caught in the dog meat trade.
According to HSI, a group of Chinese activists, who wish to remain anonymous, recently rescued 62 dogs from a backstreet slaughterhouse in Yulin, China. Before saving the dogs, the rescuers took photos of the conditions the animal were kept in. The pictures show dogs crammed into dirty, rusty cages, and filthy canines left to suffer in bare, concrete rooms.
“It was swelteringly hot inside the slaughterhouse when we got there, the dogs were exhausted and panting, some pressing themselves tight against the wall in an effort not to be noticed. Others chased around our legs eager for attention. We noticed straight away that some of them were wearing pet collars so they were probably stolen, and some of them looked very sick so we quickly loaded them on the truck to get them to our temporary shelter quickly to receive emergency veterinary treatment,” one of the activist told HSI. “The slaughter man told us that these dogs were likely one of the last truckloads of dogs entering Yulin before the festival because the local government was likely to stop further trucks from entering the city, but we didn’t stick around to verify that. We want the world to see the horrors of China’s dog meat trade of which Yulin is typical, and for dog lovers everywhere to stand up against this terrible cruelty.”
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After the dogs were removed from the slaughterhouse on June 12, they were taken to a temporary shelter to receive food, water and emergency care. All of the animals are now on the road to their new lives. The malnourished and dehydrated dogs rested and recuperated at the temporary shelter for several days and then were moved to permanent shelters for long term care. HSI is helping to look after several of the 62 dogs pulled from the slaughterhouse and hopes to send the canines under their care to America for adoption, once the pooches are at full health
“Yulin is a very tense place right now, with dog traders and slaughterhouses on high alert, so it was difficult for these Chinese activists to win the trust of this facility to release the dogs. We commend their efforts to show the world the suffering of these poor animals, and to expose the dog theft that lies behind the dog meat trade,” Dr Peter Li, HSI’s China policy specialist, said in statement. “These dogs are traumatized and in need of veterinary treatment, but they are the lucky ones because for them at least the horror of Yulin is over. Sadly, thousands more will still die at Yulin, and millions across China, unless decisive action is taken. So we urge the Chinese government to show that it will not tolerate the dog thief gangs who perpetuate this trade, and bring an end to the brutal dog and cat meat trade.”
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Until widespread action is taken, HSI fears dog meat traders will continue to pick up pets and strays on the streets of China, drive them across the country to Yulin, and slaughter them for consumption – even though China’s interest in eating dog meat continues to decline.
To learn more about HSI and the work they are doing to put an end to the dog meat trade, visit HSI’s website.