September 27, 2013
Survivors of Yulin
by Peter Li
In June, a dog meat festival was held as planned in June in Yulin, Guangxi, southwest China despite worldwide condemnation. This year, however, the festival was uncharacteristically quiet, low-key and subdued.
A protest in front of Yulin government offices helped send a strong message to the local authorities that brutality brings no tourists or economic profit. The event brought shame to the city and to China as well. More than 42,000 HSI supporters signed a petition calling for it to be cancelled.
There is nothing to be celebrated about suffering.
On the ground
As the streets became crowded with cages full of doomed animals, members of Guangyuan BoAi Animal Protection Group, a long-time HSI partner organization, took action to help coordinate a rescue campaign.
With funding from HSI and two Chinese groups, BoAi was able to save 421 dogs (including the newborn puppies of two exhausted mothers who had given birth under the blazing hot sun) from butchers' knives.
Unfortunately, 22 dogs died soon after they were unloaded from the traders' truck, but the surviving 399 were readied for transport to a shelter more than 1500 kilometers away.
The journey proved to be an added burden for these animals who had already been through so much. On the road, despite their rescuers' best efforts, more did not survive.
When they arrived at the shelter after crossing three provinces, 110 dogs were moved into their new temporary home, where they received immediate veterinary attention.
Sixty-seven of them have been adopted, and the rest continue to receive loving care.
Dr. Peter Li is HSI's China Specialist.