Chinese activists from the Human Society International (HSI) intercepted and rescued 68 dogs on Friday that had reportedly been on the way to a slaughterhouse at a meat festival in the city of Yulin.
Many of the dogs, which were rescued just outside of Yulin in the autonomous region of Guangxi, were reported to have been dehydrated and starving, and extended their paws towards activists from HSI, indicating that they might’ve been stolen pets, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.
Peter Li, a China policy analyst at the HSI explained that while the 68 dogs are now safe, thousands of other dogs in Yulin and millions of dogs across China are not as lucky, according to SCMP.
“Through dog theft, illegal trans-provincial transport and inhumane slaughter, the trade not only subjects animals to suffering but also risks public health with the potential for the spread of rabies and other diseases. These are compelling reasons for the Chinese authorities to end this trade once and for all,” Li added.
BREAKING YULIN RESCUE ????: 68 dogs destined for slaughter have been rescued in China .Many are starving, dehydrated and in desperate need of veterinary treatment.
Please, make a donation to support immediate care for the dogs & protect all animals: https://t.co/4Mx0bCvd4v pic.twitter.com/f4UhbIocTa
— Humane Society International (@HSIGlobal) June 18, 2021
An anonymous Guangxi animal activist explained that the “Yulin authorities have a responsibility to protect public health,” adding that the dogs could be carrying diseases that “could end up in the food market.”
The Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat Festival is an annual 10-day festival held during the summer solstice, with festival-goers partaking in the eating of dog meat. HSI and animal activists have previously petitioned and protested over the past decade for the Guangxi Province to end the dog meat festival due to the abuse that dogs face. (RELATED: Chinese Province Moves Toward Banning Consumption Of Some Exotic Animals)
Following the outbreak of the coronavirus, Wuhan banned the consumption of wild exotic animals which pose numerous health and safety risks.
The Daily Caller reached out to the Humane Society International and Peter Li for comment and did not receive a response at the time of publication.