On the eve of July 23, a group of Chinese citizens spotted a truck stuffed full with hundreds of dogs. It didn’t take long for them to discern that the vehicle, which originated in the Shandong province, was en route to a dog meat market in the Jilin province of northeastern China.
Immediately, they called upon other activists through the popular messaging app WeChat to inform advocates about the canines in need of rescue.
According to Peter Li, Chinese policy specialist with Humane Society International (HIS), this is the FIRST time a truck has been stopped on its way to a meat market.
The animal rights activists closely followed the truck while simultaneously informing law enforcement about the ordeal. The Dodo relays that consuming dog meat is legal in China, but authorities had the right to stop the vehicle to investigate whether or not all the dogs had health certificates for transportation.
The activists were soon joined by advocates from China Animal Protection Power (CAPP), a coalition of Chinese groups fighting against the dog meat industry. Shortly after, the truck was stopped by the police.
A two-hour dialogue between the truck driver, animal welfare advocates, and officers eventually resulted in the driver agreeing to release all 300 dogs.
Li relayed in a statement:
“Police confiscated all of the dogs, with zero compensation to the traders, and placed them in the care of the activists. This was the first major highway rescue after last month’s Yulin dog meat festival, and the first one in Liaoning since January 2015.”
The advocates suspect some of the dogs were stolen from loving homes, as many of the pups acted like pet dogs or rural guard dogs. They were familiar with human interaction and craved attention.
And, according to Li, stealing dogs from homes is a common practice in China. He told The Dodo:
“China does not have dog farms. The majority of the dogs slaughtered for food are believed to be stolen pets or stray dogs. The perception is that ethnic Koreans eat dog meat as a cultural food choice. This is not necessarily true. Like the rest of Chinese, ethnic Koreans do not eat dog meat in the same way they eat pork or fish. Dog meat consumption in Jilin as it is in Korea is very tiny, not a household food. However, the Han Chinese dog meat traders, in order to promote their business and create demand for dog meat, have been known to exaggerate ethnic Korean fondness for dog meat.”
Thanks to the activists’ efforts, the 300 rescued dogs are now receiving veterinary care and will soon be put up for adoption predominantly in China.
“This successful rescue is a huge encouragement to animal activists throughout the country. It showed that the dog meat trade can be stopped if law enforcement strictly enforces the country’s laws.”
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