As China’s Appalling Yulin Dog Meat Festival Quickly Approaches, HSI UK Shows Us Some Of Their Success Stories

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Yulin Slaughterhouse Rescue named “Lily” Photos By HSI

As the Yulin dog meat festival in China’s Guangxi Region is quickly approaching this month, UK charity Humane Society International/UK shares some success stories of some of the dogs its Chinese activist partners have previously rescued from Yulin slaughterhouses. Snorki, Rosie, Fred, and two dogs named Lily are just five of the hundreds of dogs and cats HSI and its Chinese partners have saved from slaughter at the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, as well as from slaughter trucks and kill floors from across China.

Although the summer solstice event on June 21st in Yulin has come to symbolize China’s dog and cat meat trade, many people are unaware that the brutality of this crime-fueled trade takes place all year round and country-wide, with an estimated 10-20 million dogs and 4 million cats are killed each year. Many of these animals are believed to be strays snatched from the streets and pets stolen from people’s backyards. 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, some still wearing their pet collars.

Last year, Chinese activists supported by HSI rescued 135 dogs from Yulin slaughterhouses, five of whom — Lily, Harley, Fred, Coco and Rosie — the charity flew to the United Kingdom where they found their forever families. In 2016, HSI rescued 170 sick and injured dogs from slaughterhouses and markets in Yulin, with four lucky dogs – Lily, Snowy, Snorki and Lucy – and two cats – Simon and Li – now living safe and happy in the U.K. The group of 170 had been just one day away from being slaughtered in the Yulin festival.

Some of HSI’s dog meat trade survivors have gone on to make celebrity friends. Li the cat was lucky enough to meet Harry Potter actress Evanna Lynch when HSI filmed them for a video about the suffering of cats for the meat trade. Lily, Snowy, Snorki and Lucy were all welcomed to the UK by actor and animal campaigner Peter Egan who gave them their first cuddle on British soil together with the HSI charity.

“These dogs and cats have been to hell and back, surviving China’s terrifying meat trade, and it’s so humbling to say that despite their ordeal, their resilience and forgiving nature shine through. They are just a few of the millions of dogs and cats who are stolen and snatched for China’s meat trade all year round,” said Claire Bass, HSI’s U.K. Director in a statement. “Yulin is one relatively small example of a much larger, uglier issue, that thousands of dedicated Chinese activists are working to stop. Contrary to the assumptions by many in the West, most people in China don’t eat dogs, and in fact they are horrified at the thought of a trade that takes their canine companions away from them.”

Rosie was saved from a Yulin slaughterhouse in 2018 and now lives with Kirsten McLintock in Norfolk. “It’s been six months since I first got Rosie and she has been an utter delight; friendly with other dogs, no separation anxiety, perfect traveler in the car. It’s clear that she must have been someone’s stolen pet, when she arrived she was house trained and use to having a collar and walking on the lead,” said McLintock. “Her latest discovery is the beach. She does a little happy dance and bottom wiggle when we reach the beach which is so sweet. I love her to bits, she’s the sweetest dog who is so intuitive, soft and gentle.”

Yulin Rescue “Lily” on the bottom (Before)

Lily on the left (After).

Lily was saved from a Yulin slaughterhouse in 2018 by HSI’s partner activists. The rescue produced an iconic photo of Lily sitting patiently on the kill floor staring pleadingly at her rescuers. She now lives with spaniel Sophie and adopter Susie Warner in Berkshire. Susie said, “Lily is a superstar diva and she is adorable. A huge thanks to Humane Society International for saving her and allowing her to live her best life.”

Little Fred was saved in 2018 and now lives in London with Fernanda Gilligan, her husband and three-year-old daughter. Fernanda said, “We are so grateful to be Fred’s new family. He is such a fantastic addition. He loves going for walks and runs in the park. Adventures to the countryside are even more enjoyable with Fred and we just love having him with us as much as possible. He truly is a remarkable addition to our family.”

Lily was rescued in 2016 and adopted by Lynn Hutchings in Kent, who said “Lily has blossomed from a shut-down girl who didn’t trust humans very much to a family dog who loves everyone especially if she can charm them into giving her food!”

Snorki from HSI’s 2016 rescue found her forever home in Clapham, South London, with Angelina Lim. Angelina said, “Snorki is far more settled than she was at first but she’s still fearful of strangers. Once she knows you, she’ll happily accept strokes and belly rubs, but you have to earn her trust. I’m convinced she was a stolen pet because she was house-trained within one day. She also had a small hump on her back which has since disappeared, I think from being squashed in a cage for quite a while before she was rescued. My life is so enriched with Snorki around, she is a joy to live with despite being a 24/7 eating machine!”

HSI UK would like to thank All Dogs Matter and the Wild at Heart Foundation for helping the charity find homes for the Yulin rescues.

Facts about China’s dog meat trade

  1. The Yulin dog meat festival is not tradition. It was invented in 2010 by dog traders to boost profits. Before the festival started, dog meat consumption had already been declining as a culinary subculture, and a dog meat festival had never previously existed.

  2.  The World Health Organization warns that the dog trade spreads rabies and increases the risk of cholera.

  3. Most people in China don’t eat dogs; in fact, dog meat is only eaten infrequently by less than 20% of the Chinese population. Many of them have eaten dog meat by accident.

  4. When first launched, as many as 15,000 dogs were killed during the core Yulin festival days, but Chinese and international pressure has reduced this figure to around 3,000 dogs. However, many hundreds are still killed each day in the weeks leading up to the festival.

  5. Dogs and cats are typically bludgeoned to death in front of each other and the carcass blow-torched for sale to markets. The slaughter of dogs and cats continues to occur in public places, exposing young children to horrendous brutality and potentially desensitizing China’s younger generations.

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