50 Dogs and Cats Were Rescued from the Yulin Dog Meat Festival · The Wildest

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50 Dogs and Cats Were Rescued from the Yulin Dog Meat Festival

The animals were going to be slaughtered as part of the notorious event—now they’re looking for loving homes.

by Sio Hornbuckle
April 4, 2024
No Dogs Left Behind organization and a rescued small fluffy dog.
Photo Courtesy of No Dogs Left Behind

Each year, millions of dogs and cats are killed for human consumption. According to reports by the Humane Society International (HSI), 30 million dogs and 10 million cats are slaughtered annually. The most notorious celebration of the dog meat industry is the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, which was started in 2009 and takes place each June in Yulin, China. Since its beginning, the festival has faced scrutiny, with both local and international activists protesting against its existence.

The festival was originally designed by dog meat traders to bring in tourism and improve dog meat sales. The industry was small and struggling; eating dog meat has never been very popular in China. “There is a misconception about people wanting to eat dog meat, or that there is a consumer demand for dog meat,” Peter Li, the China Policy Specialist at HSI, said. “This is a false perception. It is a consumption driven by the traders. Dog meat is not a household food.”

Chinese animal activists were some of the first to protest against the festival, Li added, and the Yulin Dog Meat Festival has rapidly declined in popularity. At its height, approximately 10,000 dogs were killed for a single Yulin festival; in 2018, the HSI reported that 3,000 dogs were killed. Progress has been made, but needless to say, there’s still a long way to go.

No Dogs Left Behind (NDLB) is one of many life-saving organizations dedicated to helping end the dog meat industry, as well as local acts of animal cruelty. This Tuesday, NDLB rescued nearly 50 dogs and cats who were fated to be killed as part of the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. The animals are now safe in the U.S. and awaiting adoption.

The rescue 

No Dogs Left Behind works in collaboration with local activists, who help them pull dogs from slaughterhouses, trucks, and traffickers. “Everyone who is part of [our intel team] is under strict [non-disclosure agreements], and they’re all around the world,” Jeffrey Beri, the founder of No Dogs Left Behind, said. “We send up drones. We have people wading through paddy fields, looking through backyards and fences. We are hardline frontline freedom fighters for the voiceless.”

For this rescue, volunteers tracked the trucks of suspected dog slaughterers. “We will follow the truck with 50 or 60 cars and intercept it,” Beri told the . “Then we bring in news media and government officials, and we’ll demand they provide proof of where the dogs came from, where the cats came from.”

Once the animals were rescued, they were taken to the United States, where they were met by fosters and adopters. Any animals who weren’t immediately fostered or adopted were taken to NDLB’s New York Facility to live until they can find a home. 

These dogs and cats were the first to be rescued by NDLB in 2024. They’re hoping to ramp up their efforts this spring to intercept as many animals from the festival as possible before it takes place in June.

How can you help?

No Dogs Left Behind urgently needs adopters, fosters, and financial support. “As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, our work is so dependent on the kindness and generosity of dog lovers all around the world, who have joined us to fight the good fight in saving lives,” Beri said in a statement. “We are reaching out to animal lovers everywhere now to please help us in our efforts to save lives by making a donation.”

Donations can be made through the link below; you can also apply to adopt a rescued dog or email NDLG at adoption@nodogsleftbehind.com.

Sio Hornbuckle

Sio Hornbuckle is a writer living in New York City with their cat, Toni Collette.

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