As the Chinese dog meat festival in Yulin came to an end last month, 126 dogs, believed to once be pets, were rescued from an illegal slaughterhouse 1,000 miles away.

Source: Humane Society International

Thanks to animal advocates from Vshine, local Xi’an activists, the Baoji Small Animal Protection Association, and a group of police, law enforcement officers, and the mayor from Fufeng County, the animals escaped the brutal death that was awaiting them. The team worked to close down an illegal dog slaughterhouse.

When they arrived, they found a gruesome scene with dead dogs on the floor, pools of blood, de-hairing machines, and knives. They also found processed dog meat and a pile of pet collars in the corner of the facility. This is just more proof that all too often pets are stolen from the streets, their homes, and farms and taken to be killed for meat.

Vshine, an organization that campaigns across Asia for the end of the dog meat trade, released a video and photos of the horrific scene. Many of the dogs found alive at the scene were German shepherds, Labradors, huskies, golden retrievers, and other scared and emaciated pups. They huddled together in the filthy slaughterhouse but despite what they had been through, many were eager to receive comfort from the activists. They believe that most of the dogs were once pets.

Pet collars on the ground
Source: Humane Society International

Ziyang Huang from Vshine told the Humane Society International, “This was a horrendous slaughterhouse and we are so grateful to the tip-off by the Xi’an activists so that we could rally together and get this place shut down before any more dogs suffered and died there. The dogs we found alive were whimpering and distressed but very happy to see us. They were standing in their own filth with blood and dog fur all around, and slaughter equipment just nearby. They will likely have witnessed dogs killed and butchered right in front of them. The amount of pet collars we found was really shocking, and the gentle, friendly nature of these dogs tells us probably most of them were once part of a home and somehow ended up at that terrible place. That’s just one of the reasons why we campaign to end this cruel dog meat trade.”

Animal campaigners from Vshine recently teamed up with police from the city of Shaanxi to help rescue nearly 400 dogs from a truck that was headed to the Yulin festival.

Although dog meat is still a huge problem in China, most people there don’t eat dog meat and oppose the industry. It is not a part of China’s mainstream culinary culture and the country’s concern for animal welfare is growing. In 2020, China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs made a statement saying that dogs are companion animals, not “livestock” for eating. That same year, two cities in mainland China banned the consumption of dog and cat meat, a decision that was supported by nearly 75 percent of Chinese citizens. However, an estimated 30 million dogs are killed a year for meat in other parts of Asia.

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