The annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival began this week in Southern China. By some accounts, thousands of animals will be slaughtered for food in the weeklong event. Many will have lived out the end of their lives in inhumane conditions.
Protesters fighting against the festival have successfully saved dogs and shut down slaughterhouses but, despite these efforts, the festival will carry on, according to The Telegraph. U.S.-based Humane Society International, Chinese lawmakers and the public have all taken steps to ban the festival, if not the entire trade, to no avail.
Activist Mark Ching is among those who are fighting against the annual festival. On behalf of his organization The Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation, he visited Yulin ahead of the festivities to try to save some of the animals. According to his group’s Facebook page, Ching has shut down six slaughterhouses and saved 1,000 animals.
“We have shut down six slaughterhouses, have five pending, and are on our way to visit a dozen more,” reads a post from June 20.
This is live. This is now: The Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, and The Tree of Life – we just rescued over 1000 dogs from Yulin.
A thousand breaths that would die here in the dark. A thousand lives that would bleed like blood left there upon ground.
These dogs, they are brothers. They are sisters. They are fathers and mothers. They are children. They deserve a chance.
All life deserves chance.
The Compassion Project. If it is about one thing, it is about that as human beings, we were meant to love. We were meant to breathe life. We were meant to be – better then who we are.
Speak out. Hold hands. Love the Earth. And rescue. Because in the end, even we need rescuing.
(Thank you Tree Of Life for teaming with us to make this possible. Thank you XiaoFang and our Nanning team for your hard and enduring work.
Thank you to our Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation volunteers. Real people that left their families – to stand here and sacrifice for the cause.
#TheCompassionProject #animalhopeandwellness #SpeakTheTruth
Posted by The Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation on Tuesday, June 21, 2016
“This is live. This is now: The Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, and The Tree of Life – we just rescued over 1000 dogs from Yulin,” Ching wrote on Facebook June 21, the first day of the festival.
Other efforts have made strides, without achieving the goal of ending the celebration. Chinese news outlet Xinhuanet reports that 8 million Chinese voted online in support of lawmaker Zheng Xiaohe’s proposal during the National People’s Congress in March to ban the illegal dog and cat meat trade.
Online petitions elsewhere have gained strong support as well. Humane Society International, which says it rescued 34 animals from a slaughterhouse last week, circulated a petition that received 11 million signatures from around the globe opposing the dog-eating festival.
The dogs who have been saved owe their lives to protesters. For those who continue the fight, many more animals could have them to thank.