A Chinese American traveled all the way to Yulin, China to purchase entire businesses of dog meat suppliers. He hopes he can save these animals from the horrors of the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, where they will be slaughtered, skinned, cooked, and eaten.
Many of the dogs there are not treated as lovable pets, but are kept in terrible conditions, where disease is rampant and the dogs die early, if not eaten first. The meat can also cause festival attendees to become sick.
Marc Ching runs the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation. The California-based organization’s purpose is to rescue dogs in Asia from the meat trade, as well as rescue any dogs living in conditions of maltreatment.
After rescue, the organization rehabilitates the dogs and offers them to homes where they will be cared for. Ching is a trained nutritionist and herbalist, and runs the organization out of a his PetStaurant, a healthy foods center for cats and dogs.
As Inside Edition reports, he traveled all the way to Yulin in an attempt to save as many dogs as he could before the festival kicked into high gear. He posted on Facebook a few days ago that he had rescued 1,000 dogs.
He did it by purchasing the slaughterhouses of six dog meat businesses. Since he purchased the slaughterhouses that source the meat, this affected many of the street vendors who would have sold the meat, forcing them to close, too.
His efforts to purchase Yulin Dog Meat slaughterhouses weren’t always successful. The amount he paid owners was less than they could make selling the dog meat.
The ones that sold him their businesses thought they could save on costs and retire. This is sure to have an effect on future dog meat production in the region, and perhaps offers another chance to dogs that would have ordinarily been kept in cramped cages before getting cut into pieces or cooked alive.
The effort to save these dogs wasn’t easy. The government of China says they don’t officially get involved in supporting or opposing the festival, yet that is not what Marc Ching experienced in China.
He says he was followed, detained, and beaten up. The police also tried to interfere in the slaughterhouse deals. Another concern is extortion.
As reported by The New York Times, animal protection and wildlife conservation specialist Peter J. Li stated one of the concerns with efforts by activists to free these dogs.
“We’re likely to see extortion against the rescue people as happened last year, when dog meat traders brutalized dogs in order to fetch high prices from the rescue people.”
The festival only started in 2009, when local officials thought the festival could boost tourism to the region for people seeking dog meat, along with the festivals other staple, lychees. Protests have gotten stronger and stronger each year.
The sweet, delicious lychee fruit is of course not a part of the concerns of protesters. If the worldwide mounting objection to the festival continues, the festival may just have to suffice on the lychee aspect alone.
Those who take part in the festival say it is a part of the cultural traditions, but Chinese people in China were the first to object to it. The festival currently faces objection from people and celebrities both inside and outside of China.
The tradition may be forced into a modern update to reflect modern people’s view of what constitutes food and what constitutes pets.
— BLS (@blaisesc_____) June 15, 2016
Sixty-four percent of people in China oppose the Dog Meat Festival. Peter J. Lin further told The New York Times some reasons why.
“Opposition to eating dog meat began with the Chinese themselves. The bond between companion animals and humans is not Western. It’s a transcultural phenomenon.”
This year’s Yulin Dog Meat Festival will go until June 30. Activists in China and other parts of the world will continue efforts to free these dogs, and dampen people’s enthusiasm for descending upon a city stacked high with the peculiar meat.