Nearly 800 dogs were rescued by a Chinese animal protection group last Saturday night in the city of Zigong, in southwest Sichuan province.
The Qiming Center, an animal-rights protection group in Sichuan, was the hero of the day. Last Friday, an Internet user known as “Mosquito” initiated the rescue via the Twitter-like microblogging site Weibo after learning the dogs would be transported out of the city of Zigong in Sichuan province and taken to slaughterhouses in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to be processed for meat.
200 Animal Lovers Responded To The “Tweet”
On Saturday about 200 Chinese animal lovers responded to Mosquito’s call and blocked the three trucks packed with hundreds of whimpering dogs.
After a standoff and negotiation, the group agreed to pay the dog trader 83,000 yuan ($13,000) to secure the caged dogs’ freedom, said Qiming president Qiao Wei.
“It’s a compromise we took in an effort to let the dogs free—they are visibly suffering for being packed in small cages with very limited space. We spent hours negotiating with the trader,” Qiao told CNN in a phone interview. “Finally with the help of local government he was willing to hand over the dogs in exchange for 83,000 yuan—60,000 for personal compensation, another 20,000 for cages that we lack.”
Qiming volunteers are now helping settle down the dogs, according to state-run media.
The two groups, Sichuan Qiming Animal Adoption Center and Chengdu Home of Love, will take care of the dogs.
Animal Rights Activists: “No Trading, No Killing”
Through this rescue the Qiming Center hopes to send the general public one message: “No trading, no killing.” Meanwhile, dog trading remains rife in certain regions in China due to lack of a national law on animal welfare and protection. Indeed, while the trader, Tang Daguo, promised that he would no longer engage in the transport of dogs, local authorities said he had all the proper permits and did not break any laws. It is perfectly legal to consume dog meat in China.
A positive sign is that Tang, who has been in the business for seven years, said he had never come across such a blockade before, which raises the hope that China’s attitudes on pets, and especially dogs, are changing.
580 Dogs Rescued In April
And this isn’t the first such rescue. As Care2′s Sharon Seltzer wrote here, in April nearly 200 heroic animal lovers in China saved the lives of 580 dogs that were being trucked to a Beijing slaughterhouse for their meat. Then too, the plea was put out on Weibo, and nearly 200 people responded, blocking the truck full of dogs for 15 hours.
Dog meat has long been a popular dish in certain regions of China. But over time this cultural and culinary tradition is getting more and more unpopular, as international and Chinese animal protection organizations increase pressure against the dog meat trade. And these rescue missions speak volumes about changes in Chinese culture. Thank you, brave Chinese animal lovers.
Photo Credit: Kenneth B. Deckard