Home for the Holidays: Dogs saved from slaughter at China’s Yulin dog meat festival arrive in Toronto

Humane Society International


TORONTO—110 dogs have arrived safely in Toronto after being rescued from slaughter by Humane Society International and our partners at the Yulin dog meat festival in China earlier this year.

The 110 dogs were rescued from slaughterhouses in Yulin just days ahead of the annual dog meat festival that took place on June 21st. The animals received veterinary care and rehabilitation at an HSI-funded emergency shelter in China before arriving in Canada. Adoption of rescue dogs in China does take place, but it is not yet widespread, necessitating the transfer of the dogs out of China. HSI is actively working with our partner groups on the ground to promote a culture of adoption in the country.

Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of HSI/Canada, who greeted the animals upon their arrival in Toronto, said: “These dogs have endured a level of cruelty that most people can’t even bear to think about. When we found them, the dogs were crammed into cages so tightly they could not move and they watched as other dogs were beaten and killed in front of them. They were dehydrated, emaciated, injured and miserable when rescuers arrived. But thanks to our amazing supporters, these dogs are recovering and will have a wonderful new life in Canada. Moreover, they will be ambassadors for our unrelenting campaign to stop the global dog meat trade.”

The 110 dogs will be placed with three compassionate Canadian organizations: Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary (based in King City, Ontario), the Montreal SPCA, and BARK (an Ottawa based rescue group). Over the coming weeks the dogs will receive care from veterinarians, behavioural therapists, staff and volunteers before they are placed in forever homes.

Danielle Eden, cofounder—Dog Tales rescue and sanctuary, added: “It breaks our hearts to think of what these dogs endured prior to their rescue. Our mission here at Dog Tales is to seek out the dogs who we feel need our help the most, and it is incredibly meaningful to our entire team to be able to play a part in providing these dogs with a second chance at life. Our hope is that all of the dogs will find loving, permanent homes quickly. However, as a no-kill shelter, Dog Tales will be home to these dogs for as long as they need. While in our care they will receive training and rehabilitation, world-class veterinary attention, regular grooming, daily off-leash play, and will be able to enjoy long walks on our beautiful 100 acre property. We are helping these dogs in honour of the millions who were not so lucky, with hope that we will soon see an end to the Yulin festival and the dog meat trade. We are proud to support HSI in this important initiative.”

Dana Margolis of The Eric S. Margolis Family Foundation, which provided crucial funds for the transportation of the dogs to Canada, stated: “We are so pleased to have helped make this rescue possible. Animals teach us to be compassionate and kind. These are traits that bring out the best in humanity. When faced with saving the life of an animal, there should be no hesitation.”

The Yulin dog meat festival, initiated in 2010 to boost dog meat sales, results in thousands of dogs and cats slaughtered and eaten. International and national protest against the festival has reduced the scale of the event by 80 percent in recent years.

Polling (Horizon, 2016) reveals that, of those holding an opinion, 78 percent of people in China believe the Yulin festival should be ended and 73 percent support a national ban on the dog meat trade.

This rescue would not have been possible without the generous support of The Eric S. Margolis Family Foundation, whose commitment to animal protection has changed the lives of countless animals worldwide. HSI would also like to thank Sharp Transportation for donating warehouse space for the temporary shelter and invaluable assistance with ground transport, Air Canada for logistical support for the air transport from China and Kane Veterinary Supplies for their generous donation of dog food.


  • An estimated 30 million dogs are brutally killed each year, primarily in Asia, for the global dog meat trade. Up to 20 million of those dogs are slaughtered in China.
  • The government of China is working with local partners to enact and enforce new animal protection laws to curtail the trade. HSI has provided training and funding to local organizations in rescuing thousands of dogs bound for slaughter and has set up a command centre to coordinate these activities.
  • HSI is also waging campaigns in South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and other Asian nations to stop the dog meat trade.


Media contact: Christopher Paré: 438-402-0643, email: cpare@hsi.org

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