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Chinese anti-dog meat activist hospitalised during daring rescue mission

62 dogs were rescued just hours before they were due to be slaughtered for meat in Yulin.
© Humane Society Int'l ‏ - Twitter

The founder of an animal protection centre in China has been attacked and beaten by dog meat traders after she attempted to liberate 300 slaughter-bound dogs on their way to the annual Yulin dog meat ‘festival’.

By G. John Cole, 25 Jun 2019

Dog meat isn’t a popular dish in China – but that’s part of the problem. Since the dog meat industry took a dive over a decade ago, increasingly desperate traders have taken more and more ruthless measures to make the books balance. They are believed to snatch dogs from the streets and owners’ gardens; they then stuff them into cages and beat them to death with metal poles.

“[The dogs] are about to reach the gate of hell and [be] clubbed to death,” said Du Yufeng, founder of the Bo Ai Animal Protection Centre, “scalded by boiling water, grilled alive and skinned alive. They are so terrified.”

Festival of atrocities

In 2010, the Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat Festival was founded in the Guangxi region of the south of China to further boost sales. Around £10m-worth of dogs are sold for meat annually - plus £4m-worth of cats, whose meat can also be sampled at the festival.

Armed vendors put Ms Du and one of her two fellow female activists in hospital as they attempted to free truckloads of doomed pooches shortly before the start of the 2019 festival. Du was left feeling dizzy, while her comrade is said to have had two ribs fractured.

Animal charity Humane Society International (HSI) now has custody of 62 rescued dogs.

“At our partner shelter, they'll receive critical medical attention along with fresh food and water,” they said in an online statement. “With love and care from staff members, they can learn to trust people again. From there, their journey to finding loving forever homes will begin.”

Activist pressure

Celebrities including Judi Dench, Pamela Anderson, and the lovely Matt Damon have joined an international chorus of outrage against the festival and dog meat in general. Partly as a result, dog slaughter rates during the festival have fallen from 15,000 to 3,000.

Eating dog meat in the summer is thought to bring health and luck by some people, while others also believe it can improve men’s sexual performance. But the practise is rare in China.

“Contrary to the assumptions by many in the West, most people in China don’t eat dogs,” Claire Bass, UK Director of HSI, told The Independent, “and in fact they are horrified at the thought of a trade that takes their canine companions away from them.”