Canines Rescued Ahead of Dog Meat Festival
Animal rights activists have rescued dozens of dogs from a slaughterhouse in southern China ahead of a controversial dog meat festival due to be held next week.
The frightened animals - 21 dogs, eight puppies and five cats and kittens - were crammed into small cages together.
Some were wearing collars, suggesting they may be stolen pets.
Chinese activists found the warehouse in Yulin, Guanxi province, and managed to negotiate the animals’ release. Dr Peter Li, from Humane Society International, who led the rescue, told Sky News: “We came to this slaughterhouse to find it shut, but there were dogs barking inside.
“The place was very dirty and horrendous. When we saw the dogs, especially the puppies jumping and fighting to get our attention, it was very hard to leave them in that place and in Yulin.
“We negotiated their release to us and took them immediately out of Yulin.
“Two of the dogs wore collars. Two other dogs had some kind of a leash on them, but they were all scared when we unloaded them. They behaved like owned dogs and close to people. None of the dogs displayed aggression to us.”
He said they rented a truck to transport the animals away from the city to local animal hospitals.
Some 11 million people have signed an international petition demanding an end to the festival, which campaigners say will mean the slaughter of 10,000 dogs over 10 days.
The popularity of dog meat in China has decreased in recent years, with many users of social media site Weibo posting messages against it. Supporters of the festival however, believe dog meat is good for people’s health during the hot summer months and no different to eating other animals.
Despite the international campaign against the festival, China’s state media has said the government does not feel it is appropriate to get involved.
Dogs being taken from a slaughterhouse. Picture: Humane Society International