As the infamous so-called dog meat “festival” ends in south China’s city of Yulin, some 1,000 miles away in Shanxi’s Fufeng County in north central China, 126 dogs have escaped a brutal death at the hands of dog meat traders thanks to a remarkable rescue operation by Chinese activists and local authorities.
In a show of unity to crack down on the dog meat trade, animal advocates from Vshine, local Xi’an activists, Baoji Small Animal Protection Association and a group of police, law enforcement officers and the mayor from Fufeng County worked together to close down an illegal dog slaughterhouse. Inside they found a gruesome scene with dead dogs on the floor, pools of blood, dehairing machines and knives. The activists also reported that processed dog meat was found at the facility. A pile of pet collars was found in the corner of the slaughterhouse, and some of the 126 dogs found alive were also wearing collars, disturbing proof that pet dogs—likely stolen from homes, streets and farms many miles away—are all too often being killed for meat.
Vshine released video and photos from the scene to its international partner, Humane Society International, which campaigns across Asia for an end to the dog meat trade. The shocking visuals show large and small dogs of all breeds including golden retrievers, German shepherds and huskies huddled together in the filthy slaughterhouse, many emaciated and panting. Despite their ordeal, many of the dogs were eager to receive reassurance and comfort from the activists who believe most of the dogs were once pets.
Ziyang Huang from Vshine told HSI: “This was an 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 had just days before helped other activists rescue almost 400 dogs from a truck headed for Yulin that was intercepted by police. Once again, the operation saw China’s animal advocates working with the police to thwart the dog meat trade.
Dr Peter Li, China policy specialist for Humane Society International, which supports the care of dogs rescued from China’s meat trade and is providing funds to help care for many of the
126 dogs saved from the slaughterhouse, said: “This slaughterhouse rescue, and the truck interception before it, show the passion and determination of China’s animal advocates to end the brutal dog meat trade, and are great examples of how effective local police and law enforcement authorities can be when they crack down on this illegal activity. The agencies in Shanxi are to be applauded for acting so quickly and decisively to close this slaughterhouse and save the lives of the dogs. If all police across China followed their example, the dog thieves and traffickers would find it very hard to continue their illegal and dangerous activities. China’s growing pet loving population is increasingly calling for action, and this proof that once again beloved pet companions have fallen victim to the dog meat trade will surely renew calls for it to end.”
Facts about China’s dog meat trade:
- Most people in China don’t eat dog meat and it is not part of China’s mainstream culinary culture. There is significant Chinese opposition to the dog meat trade as concern for animal welfare grows.
- In 2020, China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs made an official statement that dogs are companion animals and not “livestock” for eating. That same year, two major cities in mainland China—Shenzhen and Zhuhai—banned the consumption of dog and cat meat, a decision polling showed was supported by nearly 75% of Chinese citizens.
- Dog meat is banned in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines, as well as in the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in mainland China, Siem Reap province in Cambodia, and in 17 cities and regencies in Indonesia. An estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat in other parts of Asia.
Media Contacts: Wendy Higgins, HSI director of international media: firstname.lastname@example.org