In China, activists work with authorities to chip away at dog meat trade

By on August 16, 2017 with 8 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

As we build momentum for U.S. legislation to ban the trade in dog and cat meat in the United States (H.R. 1406 now has 150 cosponsors in the U.S. House), Humane Society International and its partners on the ground in Asia continue to save dogs and build the case for ending the entire, miserable trade. Last week, Chinese animal protection groups in Beijing uncovered a horrific sight in an abandoned vegetable warehouse in Changping, a rural township on the city’s outskirts: unscrupulous dog meat traders were holding dozens of dogs, including four puppies, inside a filthy, decrepit shed. This was a dog collection depot for animals on their way to the dog meat trade.

The meat traders chained and caged the dogs in the shed, which was fouled with garbage and was a bait site for flies.

According to our partner organizations, many of the dogs displayed behaviors typical of household pets, indicating they could have been stolen. One dog, who had given birth to four puppies in a pit on the ground, was chained and could barely sit down in that pit to nurse her babies. The puppies huddled together in the dirt. The trader was so miserly and callous that he didn’t even offer the animals a few old newspapers or something else to give them some small comfort.

Beijing’s Capital Animal Welfare Association (CAWA), a member of the China Animal Protection Power (CAPP) coalition that had discovered the dogs, and a long-time partner of HSI, reported the warehouse to Beijing police, who quickly intervened and confiscated the animals on August 12.

A dog rescued from the dog collection depot receives medical care at the HSI rehabilitation facility.

This depot, and others like it, serve as an integral link in the dog meat enterprise. From these depots, dogs go to the country’s major dog meat markets in South, Central, and Northeast China.

The closing of this depot is significant also because it reflects the emerging spirit of cooperation between Chinese authorities and animal activists working together to thwart dog meat traders and their largely illegal industry. Soon after the Beijing police helped close the depot last week, China’s public security ministry sent a report praising the action.

So far, working with authorities, activists have rescued more than 4,000 dogs from trucks and markets. Just last month, CAPP assisted local groups with the rescue of more than 200 dogs from a truck in Hunan that was bound for the dog meat trade. Local law enforcement penalized the dog meat traders and handed all the rescued animals to the care of the activists.

HSI, working with CAPP, has been leading a global campaign against the dog meat trade and particularly the Yulin dog meat festival. Over the past few years, meat traders have slaughtered many fewer dogs, and that is partly explained by the growing international criticism that surrounds the spectacle. In a letter to the director of CAWA, the Yulin municipal government agreed that the festival is not part of the city’s folk culture. “Consumption of dog meat…on the summer solstice day is at best the dietary habit of a small number of people in Yulin,” the letter said. Authorities also confirmed in that letter that highway checkpoints had been instituted, at CAWA’s request, to prevent inbound dog trucks.

Chinese authorities took the 26 dogs rescued from the dog collection depot and placed them in a rehabilitation facility that HSI built in 2016, where they will be placed for adoption or, in case of any pet dogs who were stolen, reunited with their families where possible. While we cannot rescue every one of the millions of dogs caught up in the dog meat trade, we are encouraged and heartened by this growing interest from the Chinese authorities in working with animal protection groups who are trying to end it. Every rescue and every exposure of cruelty is one more hammer blow against the trade. With enough blows, this wall will topple. And dogs will be spared more misery and barbaric treatment.

Animal Rescue and Care, Companion Animals, Humane Society International

Subscribe to the Blog

Enter your email address below to receive updates each time we publish new content.


Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Pam Austrich says:

    I believe the people are pushing for dogs to be catorgorized as pets, not livestock, so they will be protected more. The HSI is wonderful to save these dogs. Some day I hope this will all be a nightmare come to an end. Keep telling us who to write to in China and Korea to express our outrage.

  2. Carol Caffrey says:

    No more hurting them baby’s they need to be loved not EATEN are hurt , so I’m with you guys all the way to get them new home were they can be like playful…

  3. Brian says:

    So what is being done to communicate with the Chinese president and government hierarchy directly about this hideous situation? Too bad we don’t have a real POTUS to appeal to on this atrocity. Will Pence be better?

  4. Sandra says:

    I didn’t understand this:
    “As we build momentum for U.S. legislation to ban the trade in dog and cat meat in the United States (H.R. 1406 now has 150 cosponsors in the U.S. House).”

    It sounds like there is a China dog/cat meat trade in the US. How is it possible when cat/dog fur is illegal in the US?

  5. Lynette says:

    Absolutely appalling dogs are not dishes to be eaten they should be shamed with pictures so the normal people can see their ugly faces pigs

  6. Denise Rippee says:

    Sometime it seems like a continuing merry go round of trying to save and rescue these poor defenseless dog/puppies from this barbaric cruelty but every little bit helps when HSUS steps in and saves anywhere from 10 dogs to 200, thank you a million times HSUS and HSUS international for all your courageous work with saving these poor dogs from such pain. Many thanks to all the volunteers and staff!!!

    • rose cornwell says:

      right now I can’t stop crying reading about all the horrific abuse these poor, innocent animals suffer every day of their lives. Thank you, thank you, to the HSUS for all they do to fight these abusers.

Share a Comment

The HSUS encourages open discussion, and we invite you to share your opinion on our issues. By participating on this page, you are agreeing to our commenting policy.
Please enter your name and email address below before commenting. Your email address will not be published.