Activists have rescued 386 dogs from being slaughtered in Yulin, just a few days ahead of the southern Chinese city’s annual dog meat festival.
Activists discovered a truck filled with the dogs last weekend. According to the Humane Society International (HSI), the animals were suffering from infected eyes and skin diseases.
The activists flagged the situation to the police, claiming that traders were putting people at risk of infectious diseases. Lin Xiong, one of the activists on the scene, told HSI that the sight of the dogs was “horrifying.” They added that it was “like a truck from hell.”
The police, who were from the province of Shaanxi, confiscated the dogs and they have now been taken for veterinary care. But it’s not over yet. The trafficker of the dogs will be given a fine. If they fail to pay it, the dogs will be released to HSI.
However, HSI claims fines are rarely paid because they are often more than any trafficker would make from selling the animals.
Dog meat in China
A very small percentage of the Chinese population continues to eat dog meat. In Yulin itself, HSI notes that more than 70 percent of citizens do not regularly consume dogs. In fact, HSI claims that it is traders, not consumers, who are keeping the dog meat industry alive.
This echoes the views of the government, which, in 2020, officially declared that dogs are companion animals, not livestock. Major cities Shenzhen and Zhuhai have also banned the sale of dog meat.
“If all police across China would have such a firm zero-tolerance approach to these dog thieves and traffickers, it would be the end of the dog trade here,” noted Xiong.
It’s not just dogs that are treated terribly in the meat trade. Around the world, billions of cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, and more are slaughtered every year. Like the dogs caught near Yulin, they are also abused and exploited.
According to a recent investigation by the Guardian, every year, more than 20 million farm animals die on their way to the slaughterhouse in the US, likely from exhaustion, hunger, overheating, thirst, or trauma.
In parts of Asia, it’s estimated that 30 million dogs are killed for meat every year. In the US, more than 1.5 billion animals are raised for slaughter on factory farms.