Ca­nines Res­cued Ahead of Dog Meat Fes­ti­val

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL - By Katie Stallard

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

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