The Yulin Dog Meat Festival happened last month, and as many as 10,000 dogs were killed, despite a fevered pitch of demands from the international community for the city to stop the controversial event.
Critics included celebrities like Matt Damon and Joaquin Phoenix who condemned the event in a PSA video. There was also a petition on Change.org that exceeded 4 million supporters. But the event went on.
Some people took matter into their own hands. The majority of people in China don’t practice this tradition, and one dog lover Yang Xiaoyun, travelled from her hometown Tianjin in northern China to buy up 100 dogs at a market to save them.
Founder of The Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, Marc Ching, and his team travelled from the US and bought up 1,000 dogs to save them. These rescue trips can be exhausting, and even life-threatening. Marc has been beaten up, shot at, and hospitalized in his 7 rescue trips to Asia. But he persisted.
Yulin Update: . This is eve before the killing. The smell of death – right there bleeding through the floor. . Fact: the Yulin Dog Meat Festival is happening. All reports about it ending, from the ground we see nothing. . This year, there seems to be some government pressure. A small step forward. But still, a step not large enough. . We are being followed by over 15 undercover agents. Their main goal, to make sure we do not reach the slaughterhouses. They are worried that we will expose the slaughterhouse conditions, and the treatment of the dogs. . The Yulin police, they are the reason why we are having a difficult time working to shut the festival down. Everyone we are coming into contact with, they are threatening. The three slaughterhouse deals I went to close down just now, the situation became tense and violent. . I almost got into an altercation with police. And there was a heated exchange between myself and the people running the slaughterhouse. Presently we are in the process of trying to shake the three cars, and four motorbikes tailing us. . NOTE: These are pictures of some of the undercover police. . #TheCompassionProject #ShutDownYulin #animalhopeandwellness #MarcChing #SpeakTheTruth
Many of these dogs were believed to have been pets that were stolen off the street. The festival supporters also believe that tortured dogs will provide better meat, so these dogs could be burned alive with blowtorches, scaled to death in boiling water, and beaten with bats.
It was eye-opening to see what lengths activists will go to for their case. Marc has said about his trips, “I have died in a way words cannot say. The journey has destroyed my life. Ruined my family. The toll this has taken on my sanity, it has been decimating. I cannot think. I cannot breathe.” He’s also mentioned thinking about stepping down from the foundation.
Despite the hard work and the toll on him, Marc still helped convince one of the owners of a slaughterhouse to shut it down and offered his support to start a vegetarian noodle restaurant in exchange.
Marc said, “There’s this moment where you come into the slaughterhouse and the dogs are screaming, and when you rescue them they know who you are, and it’s the most beautiful thing ever. That moment’s actually pretty addicting.”
(Via Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation. Photos via The Telegraph.)