It’s unthinkable that anyone would want to eat a dog, but the dog meat trade continues in many parts of the world. It’s an industry long decried as inhumane: these dogs, often strays or stolen from their homes, are kept in cramped cages before being cooked as dinner.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has shed a harsh light on many of these “wet markets,” which have been cited as a possible origin for the coronavirus, more steps have been taken to crack down on the industry, and thankfully many dogs have been rescued from a terrible fate.
And recently, activists scored another victory in the fight against the dog meat trade, saving 68 dogs who were headed to a dog meat festival in China.
The Yulin Dog Meat Festival takes place annually every June. According to Humane Society International, thousands of dogs and cats are taken off the streets and kept in terrible conditions before ending up cooked and eaten.
But this year, animal activists intervened, and intercepted 68 dogs on their way to the festival. The animals were already in poor condition, but they were saved from a grim fate.
“The dogs were crammed into rusty wire cages on the back of a truck with barely enough space to breathe,” HSI wrote on Facebook. “Many are starving, dehydrated and in desperate need of veterinary treatment.”
The rescue came after efforts to get the local government involved failed, leaving the activists to take things into their own hands and stop the illegal trade.
“It was so frustrating to watch trucks of dogs arrive in Yulin when the authorities were supposed to be stopping them and confiscating the dogs,” activist Liang Jia said, according to HSI. “So we decided to save some dogs ourselves and waited on the highway for the next truck to arrive.”
“When it did, we flagged it down and convinced the truck driver to hand over the dogs because they were clearly stolen pets for whom he didn’t have the legally required paperwork.”
She says the dogs looked like they had been cared for before being stolen, and “offered us their paw” when they arrived to rescue them. She says they will now receive veterinary care and be moved to a shelter.
HSI points out that only a very small percentage of people in China actually consume dog meat. Most citizens think the dog meat trade should be illegal, and the practice has gone down significantly in recent years.
China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs made a statement that dogs are “companion animals” and not “livestock,” and the number of dogs killed for the Yulin festival has gone down from 15,000 in 2010 to 3,000.
But it still remains an inhumane problem, and these activists won’t stop until no dog is killed for meat.
“The Yulin festival is only one small part of the year-round dog and cat meat trade in China and across Asia, where millions of animals are killed each year,” HSI writes.
We’re so glad these dogs are safe! We hope people will continue to crack down on the horrible dog meat trade.
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