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July 14, 2015

Chinese Activists, HSI Urge Government to Crack Down on Dog Meat Trade Criminality as Efforts to Release Hundreds of Dogs Continue

Dog truck interceptions in Tianjin and Qinhuangdao highlight routine flouting of law by traders and weak law enforcement by police

Humane Society International, China Animal Protection Power

  • An activist with HSI funded China Animal Protection Power stands over an intercepted truck transporting dogs bound for slaughter near Tianjin, China on July 9, 2015. CAPP

  • An activist stands over an intercepted truck transporting dogs bound for slaughter near Qinhuangdao, China on July 9, 2015. CAPP

  • HSI's Adam Parascandola about to remove a dog to safety from a truck intercepted in Qinguandao, China on July 9, 2015. CAPP

  • Dogs rescued from a truck bound for a slaughterhouse in Qinhuangdao receive care at a temporary shelter in Dalian, China. CAPP

Chinese activists are calling on the Chinese Government to stop the routine and widespread criminality of the dog meat trade that slaughters up to 10 million dogs–including stolen pets–every year for human consumption. Since the June 22 Yulin dog meat festival, members of China Animal Protection Power have rescued more than 1,000 dogs bound for slaughter in a series of dog truck interceptions on China’s highways involving days of tense negotiation with dog traders and police. Activists with CAPP say that all too often local police disregard the laws related to dog meat trade criminality. CAPP was set up with the help of Humane Society International to coordinate dog rescues.

The most recent dog truck interceptions resulted in the rescue of 575 dogs - 379 in Tianjin following a two-day standoff between activists and the dog meat traders, and 195 in Qinhuangdao. The dogs endured appallingly over-crowded conditions, kept alive by CAPP volunteers providing life-saving shade and water while negotiating for their release. Both sets of dogs were eventually offloaded, but in neither case was the dog meat trader fined by local authorities despite breaching the law by not having required quarantine certificates. The 379 dogs rescued in Tianjin are now undergoing a compulsory 28-day quarantine period but their fate still hangs in the balance, with activists urging the authorities to release the dogs to their care once the quarantine period is over. 

Xinghai, secretary general of CAPP, said: “The dog meat trade in China relies on dog theft, dog poisoning and other criminal activity to sustain it, and local authorities are simply turning a blind eye to the illegal activity. This makes a mockery of our laws, and we believe the government needs to take responsibility for stopping the illegal transport of dogs for this industry. In the immediate term, we are very concerned for the safety of these 379 dogs in quarantine in Tianjin and want a guarantee that they will be handed over to our care. But beyond that, we need local police to take the lead in ensuring illegal dog traders are stopped and punished according to the law.”

Adam Parascandola, HSI’s director of animal protection and crisis response, was on the ground to assist with both rescue operations. Adam said: “These dogs belong in loving homes with caring families – in fact, many of them were family pets before they were stolen. Our priority is to secure the safe future of these dogs so they can be cared for and then adopted or reunited with their families when possible. We will continue to work with Chinese activists to put an end to this cruel industry that a growing number of people in China don’t support.”

Speak out against dog meat.

Much of the dog meat trade in China is illegal. CAPP members and HSI investigators have observed dogs and cats still wearing their collars at slaughterhouses, evidence of the significant problem of pets being stolen for the trade. Stories of pet owners confronting pet smugglers abound: one family who visited the Tianjin dog truck interception was reunited with their golden retriever who had been missing for three years. Truckers also typically lack proper quarantine certificates for the dogs they transport, and many slaughterhouses allegedly operate illegally. 

The rescues are part of a multi-faceted campaign launched by CAPP and supported by HSI that also include political negotiations to ultimately ban the trade. HSI believes this can have a global impact, influencing other Asian countries such as Vietnam and Korea, where the dog meat trade exists.

Media contact: Raúl Arce-Contreras, 301-721-6440, rcontreras@humanesociety.org 

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