Humane Society International partner Vshine rescued seven live dogs from an illegal dog slaughterhouse in Dalian, China
Days after the end of China’s Yulin Dog Meat Festival, authorities in Dalian, China, shut down an illegal dog slaughterhouse, saving the lives of seven dogs, according to Humane Society International (HSI).
The bust came after a tip from an outraged citizen, the organization reports.
Among the dogs rescued were German shepherds, golden retrievers, and a Rottweiler. The slaughterhouse owner surrendered the dogs to the organization, Vshine, a partner of the Humane Society International, who provided veterinary assistance to the dogs at their shelter.
The rescued dogs are currently at Vshine’s animal shelter, where they will continue to receive veterinary care, according to HSI.
“We are very proud that in Dalian you will rarely find a restaurant serving dog meat, and generally citizens here care very much about their dogs and cats,” said Dezhi Yu of Vshine in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. “So when we received a call about this new slaughterhouse, we and the law enforcement officers acted immediately to shut it down. Whenever anyone dares to open such a cruel business here, they are very quickly reported and the police take immediate action. If all police across China were as active as Dalian police, we could crack down on the cruel dog and cat meat trade almost overnight.”
One of the dogs was reported to have been wearing a pet collar, leading authorities to suspect that the animals were former guard or farm dogs that had been stolen or purchased from their previous owners.
“Most people in China don’t eat dogs, but the city of Dalian is particularly progressive on animal welfare, and a shining example of what the whole of China could achieve if animal protection were taken more seriously,” said Dr. Peter Li, Humane Society International’s China policy expert. “The dog meat trade is not welcome in Dalian, with the local police and animal activists using China’s food safety laws to eliminate this cruelty in the absence of any animal protection legislation. If all Chinese police acted the same, we could have a massive impact on the dog and cat meat trade. If China went further and introduced a robust animal cruelty law, we could eradicate the trade very quickly.”
An estimated 10 million dogs a year are killed in China’s dog meat trade, according to HSI. The organization says thieves snatch the dogs and cats right off of the streets, as well as from people’s backyards.
According to a 2016 survey commissioned by the China Animal Welfare Association and Humane Society International, about 52 percent of Chinese citizens believe the dog meat trade should be banned, 64 percent want the Yulin festival ended for good, and nearly 70 percent have never tried dog meat.