(ANIMAL WELFARE/DOGS/PETS) In recent years, China has seen an increase in activism against the dog meat market. However, a lack of resources and legal support has kept from saving and protecting the region’s dogs. There are several stories regarding the rescue of thousands of dogs mid-transport to slaughterhouses, yet the aftermath of the rescue is less explored.

The New York Times interviewed a dedicated animal activist,  Li Wei of Capital Animal Welfare Association, on-site at her rescue facility. Since the dog meat festival in August 2014, there has been an influx of dogs, and with a lack of financial support the conditions are bleak.

The dogs arrive alive in cages ready to be killed, cut up and cooked at the meat market in Yulin City, Guangxi province, China. Photo Credit: Imagine China / Caters News
Dogs used for meat are delivered in small cages, ready to be killed, cut up, and cooked at the meat market in Yulin City, Guangxi province, China. Photo Credit: Imagine China / Caters News

Wei’s organization intercepted a 160-dog transport to the slaughterhouse, but as with many other cases, the dogs were too sick to be adopted and, according to Peter Li, a specialist for the Humane Society International in China, activists fear euthanasia would give dog meat suppliers an avenue to attack activists.

Organizations lack the funds to care for and provide sanitary conditions for the rescued animals.  While one volunteer group lost half of its canines to distemper, another organization–the China Small Animal Protection Association–was sued by ten veterinary facilities for not being able to pay the medical bills.

Chinese dogs en route to the slaughterhouse during the dog meat festival. Photo Credit: Humane Society International
Chinese dogs en route to the slaughterhouse during the dog meat festival. Photo Credit: Humane Society International

Many dogs are raised for slaughter but since a recent law requiring health vaccination papers for trafficking was introduced, canine theft has become a widespread concern.

In August 2014, a milestone rescue took place after 2,400 dogs were saved en route to the slaughterhouse and a large portion of the dogs were reported to be wearing collars, according to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).  One particularly lucky dog was even reunited with his family after his photo was seen on the Internet.

Although the law still allows for the dog meat trade, it’s an improvement from 2011, when activists lacked a law in support of the market dogs’ seizure, and were forced to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket to release the dogs. However, this law seems to only be enforced by dedicated activists.

“The authorities don’t want the mess, so they leave it to a bunch of citizens who are caring but incapable,” said Chinese veterinarian Liu Lang.

The lack of a happy ending with these dog rescues is a sad example of heroic compassion without the proper resources or support to follow through. Volunteer organizations have created ways to help so everyone can join the fight against the dog meat trade. The HSUS’ international sect is helping provide for over 3,000 rescued canines, and you can help by donating here.

Discord in China between traditional and current views on human and canine symbiosis fuels the conflict behind the dog meat market. While many view dogs as human companions, traditionalist views support the idea that dogs were used for meat long before they were friends.

But Li believes there is hope in the young activists of China:

“I am truly impressed with the organization and mobilization skills of these activists…they managed not only to halt the trucks, but to ensure aid and supplies from across the country were quickly sent to the scene,” he said.

You can join activists in helping put an end to the dog meat trade by signing the petitions below.


Stop The Dog Meat Smuggling Trade!

To learn more about the global impact of the dog meat trade, visit SayNoToDogMeat.net.

— Dori Edwards, exclusive to Global Animal




  1. Clearly, Jean Bush, you are unable to have a discussion without resorting to name calling and rudeness. However, I would imagine everyone on this page would be against any sort of violence towards any animal. In a perfect world no animals would be killed for food, but until then all we can do is try to educate people, help them improve the way they treat animals, and encourage a more humane way of living. We will continue to sign petitions, go to rallies, inform people and anything else we can to improve the life of animals. If you have nothing positive to add and just want to be rude to everyone, you are not helping, so go away!