Activists In China Rescue 19 Dogs From A Bloody Slaughterhouse In Yulin, A Week Before The Horrific Dog Meat Festival Begins

Photos by Humane Society International 

Animal activists in China have rescued 19 dogs from an illegal slaughterhouse on the outskirts of Yulin. Sadly, the infamous Yulin Dog Meat Festival, where thousands of dogs and cats will be killed for their meat, begins on June 21st.

Shocking, images show the bloody scenes encountered by the activists as traumatized dogs are standing in the same cages as their slaughtered mates. Dead dogs are also seen still lying on the floor where they had just been killed. Horrifically, activists also found a de-hairing machine and piles of dog fur stripped from dead dogs, as well as dog carcasses being blowtorched ready for delivery to Yulin markets.

The rescued dogs were severely dehydrated and malnourished, with filthy matted fur, and one dog had lost their eye. Most were small breeds typical of pet dogs in China, in addition to an extremely friendly golden retriever, and all of them responded to their rescuers with desperate affection, suggesting they were stolen companions.

Most dogs and cats caught up in China’s sickening meat trade are pets and strays snatched from the streets and from people’s backyards, often involving the use of poison and catch nooses. They are crammed into wire cages and driven for hours or even days across the country, before reaching the slaughterhouse where they are beaten to death.

The animal activists who jumped into action to rescue the dogs are from the Chinese group Vshine, which is the official partner of Humane Society International. The groups have campaigned across Asia to end the dog and cat meat trade for good.

“This was one of the filthiest and bloodiest dog slaughterhouses we’ve ever seen. The dogs had just arrived by truck that morning and we were devastated to find that we had arrived too late to save five dogs who had already been killed,” Teng, one of the Chinese activists, told HSI. “Those dogs who were still alive looked traumatized by the slaughter they would have just seen, and the smell of blood and flesh was overpowering.”

“Most of the dogs greeted us with excitement, pawing the cage bars for attention, while others were really subdued and shaken. Now, they are all safe and receiving the medical care, food, water, and love they so desperately need to recover from their frightening ordeal. They were moments away from being killed for the Yulin markets,” continued Teng.

“The brutal slaughter of dogs and cats for the Yulin trade is morally indefensible and the heartbreaking images from this rescue show us why. These poor animals endured terrifying capture and exhausting transport, only to end up at a filthy slaughterhouse and subjected to witnessing the brutal killing of other dogs,” said Dr. Peter Li, HSI China’s policy specialist.

“We are so grateful to the Chinese activists for taking a stand against this hideously cruel trade. Most people across China do not support this cruelty, and surveys show that even in Yulin, most people are not opposed to a ban. It’s time to put an end to this misery,” continued Li.

Three of the dogs are being cared for by a local Guangxi animal group, and the remaining 16 dogs have been transferred to Vshine’s veterinary shelter in north China, with support from HSI.

A new survey released earlier this month reveals that only 19.3% of Yulin residents oppose a ban on the dog meat trade, while 70% say a ban would have little or no significant impact on their lives. Sadly, 81% did not express an objection to a ban when asked if Yulin should follow in the footsteps of mainland Chinese cities like Shenzhen, which implemented a dog and cat meat ban in 2020.

Despite Yulin’s notorious reputation for killing dogs and cats for their meat, the survey results reveal that 73% of Yulin residents only consume dog or cat meat occasionally, and 18% of residents don’t consume it at all.

The World Health Organization has warned that the dog meat trade spreads lethal diseases, such as rabies and cholera. Yulin has long been a city with one of the highest rates of human rabies cases in China and the local trade undermines the Chinese government’s goal of eliminating rabies in China by 2025. Selling and processing meat from sick and dying dogs in Yulin is also a serious violation of China’s food safety law, and yet the trade is allowed to persist with relatively little legal sanction.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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