2012 was the first year that our founder Du Yufeng made the journey to Yulin to protest against the Lychee Dog Meat Festival there.
She and some of the volunteers from our shelter attempted to educate locals and tourists who were buying and eating dog meat about not only the cruelty involved in the dog meat industry but also about the danger to the eater's health.
They gave out leaflets and set up information points as well as protesting on different days at different parts of the markets.
As well as local people from Yulin, tourists from other parts of China were present at the festival.
Du was the first person to document the festival and speak to the media, making her the first person to bring the festival to the attention of the world.
Du posted a statement on her Weibo account that year which was shared many times by Chinese animals lovers. Her statement explained that the festival was tarnishing China's image.
Du documented many dogs being brought to Yulin to be slaughtered. Some were brought by the hundreds in trucks, others were trussed up or crammed in to cages, balancing on the back of motorcycles.
Some people even brought their own pet dogs to be slaughtered for their own Summer Solstice celebrations.
The following photos were taken by Du and this situation made her and all of our volunteers cry.
The man brought his Golden Retriever to be slaughtered. When Du learnt of his intentions she pleaded with the owner to let her buy the Goldie from him. He refused, saying that the dog had served her purpose by having lots of litters of puppies and making him lots of money. He bragged that only recently she had given birth to a litter but now she was too old to have any more so therefore he was going to have her slaughtered for his own celebrations.
The owner found a butcher to buy his dog and left her there until later when he would collect the meat.
Again, Du and our volunteers begged the butcher to let them have the Goldie but the butcher refused.
To leave her tied up, probably thinking that her owner was coming back for her was heartbreaking and later when Du again passed by the butcher's stall, intending to ask to buy the Goldie, she was told she had already been killed and was directed to her dead body, lying next to another Goldie.
Unfortunately dog meat traders do not differentiate between breeds of dogs and Golden Retrievers are a popular breed at dog meat markets.
Du was interviewed about our visit to Yulin festival. She explained to the Chinese public who were watching the interview on television what happens to the dogs when they are killed. Many people still don't know of the torture involved when killing the dogs so it is important that the message is put out there. You can watch the interview below.
In between documenting the festival, Du and our volunteers protested against the festival and the dog & cat meat trade. They gave leaflets to people passing by, telling them about the risk to their health when eating diseased dogs and cats. Many people don't bother about the cruelty involved in the killing to the sentient beings they are going to eat. The dogs and cats are purposefully tortured. The longer the torture means, to them, better tasting meat. In reality the toxins sent out by the body of the animal as it endures the torture are a real risk to the eater's health. This route often works more than saying the killing is cruel.
The best feeling is when the youngsters want to help us protest against the dog and cat meat trade. Many young Chinese people are turning against their parents and grandparents cuisine and realising that dogs and cats are companions not food. They want the trade to end and for the cruelty to be stopped so they are the future of Chinese animal rights. They go home with the information and literature that we give them and hopefully make their elders see what they see.
Hundreds of dogs and cats are killed during the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. Du and our team documented this too and when they returned to their hotel room at the end of the day (and night) protests they were exhausted from crying about what they had seen and heard. They had seen dog slaughter before and visited illegal slaughterhouses but to see the killing on such a mass scale was horrific for them.
The butchers take each dog to be slaughtered from the cage and beat it over the head until it is unconscious. They are then punctured in the heart and left to drain the blood life out of them.
As documented by one of our volunteers when as she tried to comfort a Samoyed, the butcher pushed a stick in to the heart again, prolonging the agony that the dog was in. She tried to close the dog's eyes and begged him to let go and go on to his next life but the dog was fighting to live. At least he felt gentle hands and a soft voice to comfort him as he died but this experience made our volunteer heartbroken and determined to expose the cruelty involved.
Some dogs are tortured far worse. They are still alive as their fur is blow torched from their bodies or as they are lowered in to vats of boiling water. The killing and screams from the dogs is done in full view of the other dogs.
The following photos of Pian Shan Kong kneeling before the dead dogs and asking forgiveness have been shared on the internet all over the world. Pian was in the group with Du, protesting against the dog and cat meat trade.
He was taunted by dog meat traders who laughed at him praying but it did not deter him.
The message on his t shirt reads:
''I on behalf of humans sincerely apologise to the animals''
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