More than 400 dogs bound for a slaughterhouse in Yunnan Province have been rescued by Chinese activists working as part of the China command center task force, in one of the tensest dog meat trade rescues in the country so far. Since then, on July 4, activists stopped a truck in Yunnan and rescued 195 dogs. Two more rescues occurred on July 7 and July 9, totally more than 1,400 animals saved in just a week and a half.
Humane Society International (HSI) helped local groups set up the command center after this year’s Yulin dog meat festival, as part of the charity’s major strategic push to end China’s brutal dog meat trade.
The activists from VShine, EShine and Xi’an Small Animal Protection Association spotted and intercepted the truck transporting the dogs near Kunming in Southern China.
After a 50 hour confrontation, during which the activists provided life-saving food, water and shade to the desperately dehydrated and exhausted dogs, they finally persuaded the truck driver to relinquish the animals and local animal control officials authorized the confiscation of all the dogs.
The dog from the Yunnan rescue were all found in terrible conditions, crammed into small cages and lacking food and water. Sadly, 30 dogs did not survive the stressful trip, but the surviving dogs will now receive veterinary care and eventually be placed for adoption, thanks to funding from Humane Society International.
HSI helped initiate and coordinate the entire rescue effort through the command center, an office composed of passionate and experienced Chinese activists to fight the dog meat industry and conduct highway interceptions of trucks with dogs bound for the meat markets. The command center dispatched three experienced negotiators to the intercepted truck near Kunming to lead the negotiation with local officials to allow the dogs to be confiscated. The rescues are part of a multi-faceted campaign by HSI to shut down the trade not just in China but across Asia.
“This was a truly tense situation, with hundreds of dogs in such terrible, inhumane conditions. We argued with the truck driver for more than two days to save these animals. We have to take a stand against the brutal and illegal dog meat trade, and this was a decisive victory over a notorious dog meat trader in the region,” said Dezhi Yu, General Secretary of VShine and coordinator of the command center.
“I am proud of the courage shown by Chinese activists in stopping these trucks and saving these dogs from the brutal dog meat trade,” adds Peter Li, Humane Society International’s China specialist. “Their dedication and patience is truly remarkable in the face of the suffering they see in these trucks, with sick, starving and dehydrated dogs looking on in desperation. Ending China’s cruel dog meat trade is a priority for Humane Society International, and this will be the first of many such rescues coordinated through the command center task force. I hope these rescues will send a clear message to dog traders in China that the industry has no future. More importantly, I hope it will encourage the Chinese authorities to legislate a ban on the dog meat trade.”
A Long Fight
The command center also helped partner groups intercept a truck on June 30 near Tianjin, in Northern China. More than 270 dogs were unloaded thanks to the effective law enforcement of Tianjin.
Between August and December of last year, thousands of activists took part in highway rescues of dogs on trucks bound for northeast China’s dog meat markets. Of 23 attempts, 18 trucks carrying more than 8,000 dogs were successfully pulled over.
In the months leading up to the Yulin festival, thousands of Chinese activists took to the streets across China to protest the consumption of dog meat in China, and call for the Yulin festival to be shut down. Younger generations of Chinese, who are becoming more urban and adopting a culture of pet care and companionship, are becoming less tolerant and more outspoken about animal abuse.
Celebrities Join The Fight
In late June, celebrities like Ricky Gervais and Simon Cowell used social media to highlight the atrocities of the Yulin dog meat festival causing immense international outcry over the dog meat trade in China.
Barbara Streisand released a statement in support of the Humane Society International’s efforts to end the dog meat trade on July 2:
I would like to join with the Humane Society International in its effort to draw world attention to the barbarity of an annual festival in China celebrating… yes, celebrating… the human consumption of dogs. Dogs became domesticated, became in every true sense our best friends, very early in the evolution of our species. Part of human civility is that we don’t condone the slaughter of our best friends.
It is important that pressure has been brought to bear both outside of China and from within that country which has reduced the number of our beloved friends who perish in this tragic event. But any continuation of this practice is sorrowful and distorts how we regard one of our most ancient cultures.
Dogs, give us unconditional love. You don’t kill anything that gives you unconditional love.
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