Police and activists in the Chinese city of Shaanxi have rescued almost 400 dogs on the eve of the Yulin dog meat festival.
386 dogs were crammed into cages and stored on a truck head for Yulin.
With the help of animal activists, the police spotted the truck 500 miles outside of Yulin before intercepting and rescuing the animals.
Footage shows the distressed dogs packed into small wired cages in the sweltering heat.
According to activist Lin Xiong, the animals showed clear signs of dehydration, starvation, as well as injury and diseases.
Speaking with Humane Society International (HSI), Xiong said: “It was horrifying to see so many dogs in such an appalling state, it was like a truck from hell for these poor animals.
“We could see their petrified faces peering out from the cages and we knew those dogs were headed straight for Yulin slaughterhouses where they would have been bludgeoned to death.”
Xiong praised the Shaanxi police for their quick response to the matter.
They added: “If only all police across China would have such a firm zero-tolerance approach to these dog thieves and traffickers, it would be the end of the dog trade here.”
Yulin dog meat festival
Yulin’s barbaric dog meat ‘festival’ began in 2009. The 10-day event sees thousands of dogs and cats consumed by attendees.
However, it is reported that only a small percentage of Yulin citizens participate in the festival.
According to HSI, 72% of Yulin locals avoid dog meat despite efforts by dog meat traders.
Across China, there is growing opposition to the dog meat trade. In 2020, China confirmed that it officially recognised dogs and cats as companions and not ‘livestock’.
In a statement, Peter Li, Ph.D., China policy specialist for Humane Society International, shared: “Despite the fact that most people in China don’t eat dogs, dog-eating hotspots in the south such as Yulin do still exist and millions of dogs continue to suffer terribly.
“I’m so proud of the Chinese activists who are standing up for these animals, and the police whose response was absolutely vital because without them these dogs would already be dead on the kill floor of a Yulin slaughterhouse.”