Last week, UF Maddie’s Shelter Medicine alum Dr. Katherine Polak was on the ground in China assisting with the care of hundreds of dogs rescued from the cruel dog meat trade.
Over the past month, more than 1,600 dogs and cats on trucks bound for slaughter have been seized by Chinese activists. In Zhengzhou, the provincial capital of Henan Province in east-central China, a truck was intercepted carrying over 600 dogs. Volunteers ambushed the vehicle and unloaded cages of terrified dogs in cooperation with local law enforcement. A makeshift shelter was quickly constructed.
Several weeks later, another rescue involving 1,000 dogs occurred in Guangzhou, a city over 900 miles from the temporary shelter in Henan Province. There was high mortality among rescued dogs, primarily due to the barbaric transport process and spread of infectious disease. No Dogs Left Behind, a charity focused on providing care to intercepted dogs and cats, mobilized to facilitate rescue and sheltering efforts.
Unfortunately, in the days immediately following the rescue in Guangzhou, rescued dogs had had to be relocated to a secret location when angry villagers stormed the temporary shelter where they were being housed. Some dogs were killed by the villagers who did not want them in their community. A total of 209 dogs were rescued from this facility and were transported 18 hours north to the temporary shelter in Henan Province.
The majority of rescued dogs were most likely destined for the dog meat celebration at the annual Yulin festival, which began on June 21. While many believe that the Yulin festival is responsible for most of the dog meat industry in China, millions of dogs are slaughtered in China for their meat and skins every year, particularly in the southern and northeastern provinces.
“The dog meat trade is one of the most serious animal welfare issues in Asia, and this summer has been unprecedented in the number of dog and cat trucks intercepted,” said Dr. Polak, the International Director of Animal Welfare for Soi Dog Foundation, the premiere agency working throughout Asia to end the inhumane and barbaric dog meat trade. “While intercepting dogs is vital to ending the dog meat trade by cutting off the supply, the long-term sheltering and medical care of rescued animals cannot be forgotten. Soi Dog Foundation is committed to assisting No Dogs Left Behind in China to provide long-term humane care for the hundreds of rescued dogs and cats to ensure they have happy, healthy futures.”
For more information, visit No Dogs Left Behind and the Soi Dog Foundation website.