Footage shows hundreds of cats and dogs being rescued from a ‘death truck’ heading for Yulin in southern China.
The truck contained 1,400 animals kept in cramped cages. A total of 370 animals died aboard the truck after suffering from open wounds, respiratory illnesses, dehydration and broken bones, according to a statement from Humane Society International (HSI), an animal welfare group.
Footage shared by Humane Society International shows the cats and dogs once rescued by the Capital Animal Welfare Association (CAWA), receiving emergency care.
The animals were directed to slaughterhouses in Yulin, southern China, an area known for the dog and cat meat trade. There is no national ban on the consumption of dog and cat meat in China. But the Department of Agriculture refers to the animals as pets, rather than livestock. In Yulin, there is an annual lychee and dog meat festival held in June where people gather to eat meat.
CAWA’s Hao Da-yue was present at the rescue and said in a press release that she had never seen “such a shocking scene”.
Hao said “the smell of death, diarrhea and vomit was overwhelming.”
“I think it’s hard for people to really consider the huge scale of the dog and cat meat trade in China. It’s only when a truck interception like this happens. that the whole world is facing the shocking reality, because the truth is that even a truck this size is a drop in the ocean,” said Wendy Higgins, Director of International Media at HSI. Newsweek.
Although there is no ban on eating animals, dog and cat slaughterhouses still break the law. This is because they kill animals that are not legally recognized as livestock.
The truck was intercepted on its way to Yulin by the police. Animal activists arrived at the scene to find dead cats and dogs.
Activists have tried to save as many animals as possible by giving them emergency roadside care.
“I saw a number of dogs and cats die on the side of the road despite desperate attempts to help them, there was nothing to do but hold them when they died. activists worked with tears in their eyes, many were clearly shocked by what they were witnessing,” Hao said. “The world needs to see how these poor dogs and cats are suffering for China’s meat trade. Such appalling cruelty puts China and the majority of Chinese people to shame who want nothing to do with this despicable trade.”
The surviving animals were taken to temporary farms while waiting to be picked up from local shelters. It is likely that many animals were stolen.
“Millions of cats and dogs are snatched and killed for meat every year. Horrible as it sounds, change in China really has to come from within and so the most effective advocacy we can do is to support these Chinese animal groups and activists working so hard to create this change,” Higgins said.
“The Chinese groups that HSI works with actively engage with law enforcement so that when these interceptions do occur, officers on the ground are aware of the relevant laws they can apply to confiscate animals or engage These are not animal welfare laws, which are so desperately needed, but they are at least legal instruments that can be used to clamp down on this cruel trade.”
Newsweek contacted the Chinese Foreign Ministry for comment.