Chinese activists save dogs from truck bound for Yulin dog meat ‘festival’

By on June 21, 2021 with 24 Comments

An act of bravery has saved 68 dogs just hours before slaughter, and we have local animal activists in China to thank. The rescue happened outside the city of Yulin, the site of the infamous dog meat “festival,” which takes place each year as the summer solstice begins.

Activists flagged down a truck packed with dogs on the way to Yulin’s slaughterhouses and convinced the driver to hand over the dogs. When the truck halted, the activists found 68 panting and exhausted dogs crammed tightly in rusty cages, suffering from extreme heat and without food or water. As rescuers approached, the otherwise lethargic dogs began to show signs of typical household pets, such as reaching out their paws to shake hands. Most of them looked like dogs who were stolen from their families.

The truck loaded with 68 dogs that Chinese activists intercepted just outside Yulin, China

The dogs have now arrived safely at a facility supported by Humane Society International to rest, recover and receive veterinary care. On the journey, one dog even gave birth to two puppies.

The so-called Yulin Dog Meat Festival was created by the local dog meat traders in 2010 to boost flagging sales. Since day one of its inception, Chinese activists were the first to stand up against the festival and they are still determined to end it along with the larger dog meat trade. The campaign within China to end the dog and cat meat trade have led to some milestone accomplishments. In April 2020, Shenzhen and Zhuhai in South China became the first mainland cities to outlaw dog and cat meat sales and consumption. Equally significantly, China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs officially announced that dogs are companion animals and not “livestock” for eating.

To add to this momentum and help stop the supply of dogs to slaughterhouses where it starts, activists have been urging Yulin authorities to set up more highway checkpoints to stop and confiscate dogs from dog transport trucks. Chinese animal protection groups have sent petitions to the national and local authorities calling for an end to the mass dog slaughter in Yulin and the trade across the country in the interest of public health, zoonotic disease outbreak and food safety. China has laws and regulations that can be used to stop the dog meat trade. But in the absence of official enforcement, as in this case, activists are willing to take action to save the dogs themselves.

A dog rescued from Yulin gave birth during her transport to HSI’s partner shelter.

We recently detailed how local activism is really the heart of the movement to stop the dog meat trade in China. The criticism of the dog meat trade in Yulin and other cities across the country has been led by Chinese people. Local activists have made the Yulin festival the most visible manifestation of a much larger year-round meat trade that claims the lives of some ten million dogs and four million cats each year throughout China.

We are so grateful to the activists on the ground who saved these dogs and gave them back the possibility of happy futures. These dogs, including those two newborn puppies, will get a chance to live the lives all dogs and cats deserve.

Follow Kitty Block on Twitter @HSUSKittyBlock.

Animal Rescue and Care, Companion Animals, Humane Society International

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  1. Silvia says:

    Please do everything you possibly can to stop this .these poor dogs suffering. Stop its cruel, and bad.Dogs deserve the best.good home love and care

  2. Ewa Urbanski says:

    Setzen Sie alles in Bewegung damit die Regierung das gesetzlich verbietet.
    Das Morden der Tiere muss aufhören!!!!

  3. Carlos Quero Valdés says:

    Afortunadamente existen en China organizaciones y grupos de personas compasivas que ayudan con coraje y decisión a tratar de detener este cruel evento y el cruel comercio de carne que desgraciadamente se desarrolla frente a la actitud indolente y hasta cómplice de las autoridades, y les agradecemos de todo corazón a estas personas por su valentía, porque cada vida que pueden rescatar es muy valiosa…Esperemos que todos estos encomiables esfuerzos sean apoyados por la aplicación de las reglamentaciones que establecen claramente que los perros son, como debe ser, mascotas y no comida, y que la cruel industria del comercio de perros y gatos termine de una vez…

  4. Candace says:

    We need to get laws passed and hold people accountable for animal cruelty.
    Education is necessary whether it be with commercials, etc.
    I would never have known about this horrific festival had I not read an article.

    Thank you to those that saved those animals. Please advertise to the world and let people know HOW to stop this…. links to legislators, make commercials, obtain volunteers, etc. Additionally, make these dogs adoptable, screen applications thoroughly to ensure good homes are taking them in and make the price for adopting reasonable. I do not want to see a rescue organization just taking in Golden Retrievers from Yulin when every dog is in a horrific situation. Rescue them ALL.

  5. Mike Mullett says:

    It’s time to stop this insane nonsense on killing dogs for food

    • M Leybra says:

      The Chinese always fire back that their killing dogs for food is not worse than what we do to the animals that we kill for food & some would say they have a point.

      • Wrong!!! says:

        The TORTURE of any animal is UNACCEPTABLE. This is not just eating- its boiling, skinning them, burning them, beating them alive. Id like to see that happen to the demons doing this to these beautiful animals and see how they like it?

  6. Patricia says:


  7. Prevot says:

    STOP à ces cruautés ce sont des êtres sensibles et vivants

  8. Sandra says:

    Stop a questo orrore

  9. sylvyane lambert says:

    Il faut mettre fin à ce carnage !!

  10. Terry J Gibson says:

    I stand in solidarity with the Chinese people and the Humane Society who have been constantly chipping away at this cruel and dreadful practice of eating cats and dogs. Your patience and perseverance has paid off and been rewarded by the Chinese government as they finally and officially recognise the value of these animals as companions. You are moving mountains and I wish you strength in the push to close down this vile and primitive festival. Your example will resonate across Asia until, one day, the obscene cruelty of butchery along with the screams and agony of these sentient beings will finally stop.

  11. Tim says:

    Few things are as depressing as reading about this festival. Every year it comes back around and it hits harder each time. I cannot comprehend how this can be done to companion animals.

    I just pray that those in positions of power actually do something about this barbarism once once for all. I’m tired of the perennial outrage, yet here we are yet again…nothing seems to really get done.

    In saying that, this rescue effort mentioned in the article is so lovely to read. To those who were involved, nothing but love and respect.

  12. Makayla says:

    This trade needs to end! The torture and barbaric acts of animal cruelty should be treated as of that!

    Thank you so much to the activists who rescued these sweet dogs who could have had a very painful outcome at the end of this! You’re all incredible!

  13. Cynthia Mattera says:

    Why this is legal? Why does the torturing and killing of dogs and cats still continues in China, Viet Nam and Korea????Its disgusting how they torture, boil, burn, hang, and skin them while FULLY CONSCIOUS! What kind of human being does this to a helpless animal??? Do these people have no soul, no compassion? Truly evil and it needs to be stopped all over the globe. God…please help them!!!

  14. M Leybra says:

    “The dogs have now arrived safely at a facility supported by Humane Society International to rest, recover and receive veterinary care.” Where do the dogs eventually go?

  15. Priscilla Mendoza says:

    Nothing but praise and respect for those on the frontlines and behind the scenes trying to put an end to the dog meat trade in China. We must keep in mind that the slaughter and consumption of dogs continues in other Asian countries as well.
    I thank the HSUS for its continued hard work and commitment to this cause.
    We as supporters and concerned citizens around the world must support their efforts by writing advocacy letters, contacting government officials and by donations so that they have the funds to continue this work. Every little bit helps to end this barbaric practice.

  16. Angela F says:

    It’s so hard to sleep at night knowing of the horrible ways in which these dogs are tortured and killed. I’m speechless. I don’t understand how people can act this way towards innocent animals. I’m glad to hear local Chinese are taking a stand as I feel helpless being so far away.

  17. James Harrison says:

    Well done to those brave people who refused these poor dogs! It’s hard to contemplate what their fate would have been! China must act now to ban this evil festival before 2022! The world is watching.

  18. Ewa Stein says:

    We must do everything to stop and end this horror! Dogs and cats there are counting on us!

  19. Laurel Rasnick says:

    I would like to see yulin dog festival to end for good

  20. Karin Erker says:

    Das sind so zerstörerische Bilder und ich verstehe nicht, dass es Menschen gibt, die kein Gefühl für ein leidendes Tier haben. Es ist schrecklich, was die armen Hunde leiden … haben die kein Herz für einen Hund … schau in seine Augen … was haben die Tiere denn getan, dass man so grausam mit ihnen umgeht und sie grausamst tötet. Warum verbietet die Regierung das tierleid nicht und gibt es nicht tierliebe Menschen mit Herz, die dagegen protestieren und den Tieren helfen. Es tut mit körperlich weh, dieses unendliche Leid der armen Hunde … es trifft mich tief ins Herz und es macht hilflos und todtraurig … stop stop stop

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