Chinese animal rights activists have rescued 1,000 dogs and cats on the eve of the annual Yulin dog meat festival.
The rescue was carried out by local groups affiliated to the Humane Society International (HSI), which reported that the animals were tightly packed into cages in a truck heading to a slaughterhouse.
HSI say that the truck originated in the southern Gansu province, an area associated with dog theft, and was intercepted in Guangzhou after travelling 1,948km. Activists involved in the rescue reported that the animals were starving and wailing in distress with disease spreading rapidly in the confined conditions.
Activists negotiated with the truck driver to release the captive animals and provided them with water and aid. They reported that the truck driver did not have health certificates for the dogs, which Chinese animal transport regulations require for each animal, and urged local police to enforce China’s animal disease control laws.
The surviving dogs on the truck were said to display behaviours commonly found in companion animals. The various breeds of the dogs on the truck also suggested that they had been pets and were not raised to be killed for their meat.
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