Around 60 dogs and cats were saved from certain death at the hands of butchers during the Yulin Dog Meat Festival – however, it is ‘just a drop in the ocean’, officials have warned animal activists.
The annual festival, which began around 2010, sees dogs and cats – which are often stolen pets – brutally tortured and killed on the streets before being turned into food for stalls and restaurants.
During the 10-day event, which is now underway, it is believed that up to 10,000 dogs and 5,000 cats are killed and eaten.
However, some animals will now avoid this fate, having been rescued by campaigners from a London-based charity NoToDogMeat, which raises funds to continue its rescue efforts.
They negotiated the lives of eight dogs in a slaughterhouse described as “unsanitary”, learning in the process that the dogs had been fed meat from dead puppies.
Workers from London-based charity NoToDogMeat saved 60 dogs and cats from certain death at the Yulin Festival (pictured: some of the rescued dogs)
Authorities have now been made aware of the Nanning city facility, which kills around 100 dogs a day.
However, animal advocates say police and council are doing little to stop the culling.
There is a thriving dog meat trade in Nanning, with the meat being sold by shops and restaurants to tourists and locals as a health tonic.
Qin Xi Zhao, head of the operation, who runs the NoToDogMeat shelter in Heibei, said, “It has been a devastating time for activists, I have no words.”
“In total we have rescued around 60 animals, dogs, cats and puppies, but that’s just a drop in the ocean.
“We saw killing methods in Yulin this year that we hadn’t seen in 10 years and we were even warned by the authorities that we were at the festival, as if we were spoiling the fun.
“We feel like we’re losing the fight, but we won’t stop trying to end this cruelty.”
Rescued animals (including this dog) ‘will need urgent veterinary and behavioral care as they recover from trauma,’ the charity says
In addition to rescuing dogs, NoToDogMeat has also rescued 26 cats.
According to the organization, the cats had to “be boiled alive with live snakes to create horrible Tiger Dragon Fight soup”.
Shelters, including NoToDogMeat shelters in Hebei and Beijing, will accommodate all rescues, who will need urgent veterinary and behavioral care as they recover from trauma.
London lawyer Julia de Cadenet founded NoToDogMeat in 2009, after witnessing the horrors of this cruel trade.
She said: “This year, now that the pandemic restrictions have been lifted, it feels like the thirst for cruelty and a spectacle is as high as ever.
A number of cats (including this kitten) were also rescued. The charity said some of the cats were to be boiled alive, alongside live snakes, as part of a “Tiger Dragon Fight soup”.
“It is very worrying that members of the general public do not seem put off by what is happening around them and that the authorities have done nothing to enforce their own rules on this trade.”
According to the charity, dogs are not classified as food in China after a decree by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2021.
This, he says, should have effectively banned the festival, but “local authorities are reluctant to enforce the ban because of the money it brings in to the region”.
Julia continued: “It has nothing to do with culture or tradition, everyone knows that being cruel to animals is wrong, and this festival that started in 2009 must end.
“Shame on the authorities and the people of Yulin who sit idly by and let this happen.”