While for most people in North America or Europe the idea of eating dogs is completely horrific, the practice is not unknown among a minority of people in several large countries in Asia, including China, South Korea, and Vietnam.
But attitudes toward the dog meat trade have changed dramatically in recent years, with governments cracking down on the business, especially in response to charges that animal meat sellers kidnap dogs off the streets and even from people’s houses for sale. Even more important, ordinary people in China are taking action to rescue dogs destined for the chopping block.
He was so happy to be out of that bag ❤️
As Xingyi Danielle, a young Singaporean woman whose father works in China, posted on Twitter, she and her father saw a group of men down an alley with a group of live dogs, which they were selling for meat. Danielle was especially shocked because she had never met anyone in China who ate dogs. The poor pups were being kept wrapped up in sacks where they couldn’t move and could barely breathe.
She and her father were appalled to see this and decided to take action. For about $90, her father managed to buy one of the dogs from the sellers. He obviously wished he could do more, but as Danielle told The Dodo, “his environment isn’t dog-friendly so he couldn’t buy more.”
Some people expressed surprise that the dog, which her father called Lucky, didn’t try to escape or fight back. As Danielle explained on Twitter, “they sold him in plastic bag to my dad and the dog didn’t retaliate at all [as he] must’ve been traumatized by those sellers!!”
— The Dodo (@dodo) June 1, 2017
Unfortunately, Lucky wasn’t allowed to live at Danielle’s father’s apartment building, so her dad kept him at his office. The pup enjoyed his new freedom but also did a fair bit of damage by chewing things up, as Danielle believed he might have been young enough to be teething.
“My dad’s colleagues are complaining about the mess Lucky is making, but he’s still trying his best to provide a good environment for him,” she told The Dodo.
From the first pictures of Lucky tied up in a mesh bag to a dog smiling and panting in a garden, this rescue came a long way. As for Danielle, she was really impressed with the action that her dad took.
A month ago my dad bumped into a grp of men selling live dogs to dog eaters and he bought one home out of pity. Look at him now!! pic.twitter.com/GDhbieLydR
— DA NIELLE (@xingyidanielle) May 20, 2017
“I was quite proud, to be honest,” Danielle told The Dodo, knowing that her father’s timely actions had saved at least one pup from slaughter. Though Danielle’s father couldn’t keep Lucky long-term as he already has two dogs at home, he was able to place him with a trusted friend who’s given Lucky the forever home he deserves.
Attitudes toward dog and cat meat consumption have changed dramatically over the past decades in China and elsewhere in Asia. The infamous Lychee and Dog Meat Festival, which takes place every summer in Yulin in Guangxi Province, has drawn massive criticism at home and abroad with over 1.5 million signatures on a petition sponsored by Humane Society International calling for its ban.
As Peter Li, a China policy expert for the Humane Society, told The Dodo, “millions of dogs and cats are stolen each year, including pets, and driven thousands of miles across China to be bludgeoned to death in front of each other,” in order to supply the festival’s food tents.
Thankfully, a study carried by the Yulin government in cooperation with the Humane Society in 2016 showed that the vast majority of Yulin residents (72 percent), do not regularly eat dog meat. As Peter Li noted, “the truth is that eating dog and cat is not part of China’s mainstream culinary practice even in Yulin, the home of the dog meat festival.”
Chinese animal rights activists, supported by the vast majority of Chinese people, who have never consumed dog or cat meat, have managed to intercept some of the shipments and save the dogs, with help and funding from the Humane Society.
The bravery of these local people standing up to the cruel theft of household pets and strays from the streets has given many people hope that the Yulin Festival will one day disappear.
And it all starts with the actions of individuals, like Danielle and her father, who gave Lucky the new lease on life he deserved!