Over the weekend, before the first day of Yulin on Tuesday 21st June, our small team of volunteers working with the incredible Chinese activists tracked and traced the trucks carrying the dogs to Yulin on the 2400 km stretch of road on the highway from Beijing.
Around 6 pm, just as they were losing hope, at the Tan Jia Toll Station, the licence plate TX760 we had also reported travelling from Xian Gaoling to Yulin was stopped for illegal dog transportation. Volunteers arrived from all over to get the 386 dogs released.
This truck had been on the road for about 12 hours and still had 19 more hours to drive to get to Yulin. Imagine the poor terrified dogs.
It was a real standoff between the police and the activists. Just a week before they had let a truck with 2000 dogs go free.
The activists were fearless and chased the dog dealers away. We were delighted that news on the truck rescue 618 got into the Chinese mainstream press.
For a few days before, our small team working alongside independent Chinese activists, ran 24-hour surveillance on all the known villages that stock dogs in warehouses. These are dogs they have stolen. They were unable to stop trucks leaving the villages and faced threats and abuse. They did not give up.
You need people who are dedicated. People who will stay up for nights on end in the heat and man the checkpoints. You need eagle-eye drivers who can spot and record the number plates. Our small team were determined to fight to the end and do all in their power to stop even one more dog from getting into the hands and mouths of Yulin party-goers. They left our base of over 500 dogs and even broke local lockdown to be part of the surveillance team. That’s real sacrifice.
It was going to be a long night. Police knew that the dog dealers had broken the law, but the dealers usually do their utmost to bribe and shake free. It was not easy to get the police to intervene but they did, and they called in The Ministry of Agriculture, who initially stepped in at 02.05 am (in China) to supervise the unloading of the dogs and take charge of them.
The conditions the dogs were being kept in were not great, so we were thankful they soon agreed to release the 386 poor dehydrated and terrified dogs into our care. The dogs are all super thin, and some are covered in wounds and bites. Yet, as can be seen from our many photos and videos taken over the last few days, they trust us. It is challenging being on the ground knowing the suffering they have endured. We won’t let them down.
It’s a race against time to get all the dogs into quarantine before the infectious diseases they will inevitably have among them continue to spread. Volunteers have been driving some of the dogs to be tested for the various diseases they typically have. We are looking for distemper, canine flu, parvo and other coronaviruses. All are highly infectious.
If anyone tries to tell you that dogs sent to Yulin or packed tight onto trucks to be sold by the kilo are ‘farm dogs’ or ‘special dogs’, it is plain lies.
The dogs included a male Samoyed and a blind Chow Chow we found cowering at the back of the cages. She has a terrible cough, and we took her for treatment. This little girl was someone’s pet. She was wearing a collar.
Many of the dogs had tags and ID numbers, so we are reporting this to authorities. They were clearly someone’s pet.
Our charity is committed to taking some of the blind and weak ones who won’t make it otherwise. Our small team, along with the independent Chinese activists, all worked together and will continue to do so, to ensure all animals get proper care.
We will drive some of the brave souls back to our base in Hebei to give them whatever care they need. A stray animal hospital agreed to help, and a few groups came forward to take dogs. One group from northern China came and took some of the dogs, and several lovely Chinese families took some healthy dogs home with them.
That’s 386 dogs that will not be eaten at Yulin. Actually, it is 389 because one pregnant mother gave birth at 6 am to 3 puppies. Some kind volunteers will take them home (with Mum).
The whole operation was carried out with just our small team and about 20 fantastic local volunteers. Although one or two have tried to claim credit themselves, none of the big organisations were present at the rescue, and none have donated. An activist group from up North near to Korea were sent down to take dogs for an international group who do not have permission to work on the ground in China. The rescuers were worried it would be too long in another truck to send the exhausted terrified survivors. Only 78 made it from the 140 they took. This is really sad news.
As of 26th June, 90 dogs were too sick to be moved from the holding base at Xi’an where the 618 truck rescue took place. We will not leave them behind. We could not bear to leave these dogs to die. We are now working to support small local rescues who will take in these dogs and make sure they get medical treatment. In the next few days we will give our reports from the ground on how they are doing.
All funds raised so far have been safely transferred to China. And we appreciate your generosity. Please continue to share and donate what you can. We don’t know how sick the dogs are yet. Our priority is making sure they get clean water and some decent food. Twelve more puppies have now been born so far.
Your kind donations are saving lives because even though it is estimated that over 2500 dogs were killed before Yulin Dog Meat Festival began, these poor mites have a chance. Your donations have so far bought 2000 kilos of dry food and 500 kilos of wet food. We have also bought testing kits and cleaning supplies. We are trying to send as many dogs as possible to the hospital.
In 2021 our NGO was the only organisation to be boots on the ground in Yulin. Since then, the activists are still traumatised that this brutality can continue despite a global pandemic. We were the only NGO actually at Yulin documenting and saving. We can do this because, unlike many prominent organisations that claim to help from afar, our mission at NoToDogMeat has always been to work to empower grassroots groups who share our vision.
A truck with even 400 dogs can net an evil dog deal ‘at wholesale prices’ of nearly $10,000. He is not going to give up that kind of illegal income easily. Our question to Beijing is, what is their cut?
Why did they say “dogs are not livestock” in 2020 and officially include them on the ‘safe’ list?
We are determined to work as hard as we can to make 2022 the last year for Yulin. But now, we continue on the ground right now to provide help and medical care. And we need your support.
Please share this news with everyone you know. We cannot let them get away with this anymore. Our China team are counting on you. Tell the press. Tell your friends. Tell your MPs. Why do the eaters so desperately need more dogs to gorge on in Yulin? Just how many people are they expecting at their festival?
It breaks our heart that despite the changes in law, Yulin went ahead. But we need you to know we will never give up campaigning, educating and rescuing until the cruelty ends.
Our prayers are also for all the brave Chinese activists. They share our vision of compassion and change. That’s why we never give up. You, too, can help.
Let’s not forget all the dogs we rescued from the truck. We really want to thank you for helping us be part of this rescue.
Please urgently continue to share our posts and donate what you can. Please donate to our End Yulin 2022 fundraiser. Every $ adds up, and you are helping us save lives.
Thank you to everyone who has donated so far.
Rescue is only the beginning. We are committed to empowering change and compassion on a grassroots level. You need to be there to see the challenges and the suffering, but your kind words mean so much.
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Your prayers, your awareness campaigns, your fundraising – you matter. We are in this together. It has been ten long years. Not giving up till the cruelty ends. #JoinUs #NoActionTooSmall #StrongerTogether say #NoToDogMeat