CRY FOR HELP
Rescued from meat traders, they need your help now!
Urgent dog rescue appeal from Animals Asia
Sent: Thursday, January 22, 2009
For us, it was a bumpy start to the year – elation at being involved in the first major rescue of “meat dogs” from a trader in China, but also sadness at seeing the state of the dogs and the knowledge that millions of others are still trapped in this brutal industry.
It all started on New Year’s Eve when the Qiming Rescue Centre, a dog shelter in Chengdu, asked for our help.
The authorities in nearby Pengzhou had just confiscated 149 dogs from an unlicensed trading station (after a tip-off from Qiming staff) and the dogs were on their way to the shelter.
Our first sight of the dogs was shocking.
A small team, including one of our vets and a vet nurse, quickly grabbed medical supplies and headed for the shelter. We arrived just as the truck carrying the dogs pulled in. I couldn’t believe what we were witnessing! It was horrible in every sense of the word – the stench (so familiar from our visits to live animal markets), the blood-curdling cries coming from the cages as the terrified dogs bit into each and, as always, the terrible feeling we all get when we look into the haunting, sad eyes of these beautiful animals.
I hate to think how long they had been in those cages, many of them packed in so tightly that they were piled on top of each other. Some of the dogs were shaking with anxiety, while others were rigid with fear. Many were suffering terribly and showing symptoms of parvovirus, distemper and kennel cough. Most were skeletal and their coats filthy from being excreted and urinated on by the top layer of dogs.
Our volunteer vet nurse Helena tends to the dogs.
Animals Asia is health-checking the dogs, treating their wounds, vaccinating them and, sadly, euthanising those that are just too sick to save or so aggressive that we could not rule out rabies or other diseases; these dogs are also a serious risk to other dogs and handlers. The process is ongoing, but we hope many of the dogs will recover and find good homes. However, these are the lucky ones – this year alone, millions of other dogs (and cats) will be slaughtered in the most brutal manner in hellish meat markets in China.
Many of the dogs were chronically ill and weak.
They will be crammed together into tiny cages, loaded onto trucks and driven day and night for four or five days with no food or water (if they are lucky, they might be hosed down, just to keep them alive). Once at the markets in southern China, they will be bludgeoned across the face, stabbed and bled out, or slowly, torturously beaten to death in the misguided belief that their meat will taste better if they are panic-stricken at the point of death. The same fate awaits millions of cats – some of them are even boiled alive.
What is so encouraging about this rescue is that it was a local animal-welfare centre that alerted the authorities about the unlicensed trader and, for the first time, the authorities actually confiscated the dogs! This is a wonderful example of Chinese people standing up and saying “no” to the cruel dog-eating trade – and it underpins our education efforts to stop demand and bring this industry to an end.
Many of the dogs were wearing collars and a number of them were pure-bred; these were possibly stolen pets; others had been collected as strays from the streets, bred in dingy cages on dog farms or raised in rural houses purposefully for meat.
At the moment, Qiming Rescue Centre has only cramped room to house these new dogs – at least temporarily – as we revamp and upgrade the facility and help them recover from their terrible trauma while they await adoption.
Animals Asia’s Christie comforts some of the survivors.
We have much work to do, as the bitterly cold winter months close in on us, including more weatherproofing, extending the roof to cover many more dog runs, concreting the enclosures and runs and making dry, wooden-box beds. With the added expense of food and medical care, this is going to be a costly process.
All the money raised in this appeal will go directly to the care of the dogs at the Qiming shelter. Any remaining when our work there is finished, will go to our ongoing campaigns to end dog-and-cat eating.
Already, dogs that ran away whenever we walked into the enclosures are now slowly approaching us with cautious tail wags and trusting eyes. Some will stand nervously as we gently stroke their fur – but when we stop they will turn towards us shyly asking for more. Somehow I think they know they're the lucky ones – but there is still a long way to go.
Right now, these poor dogs need your help! Please send a donation, however small, to help us save them – and maybe turn some into animal-therapy “ambassador” dogs.
Jill Robinson MBE
Founder and CEO
Animals Asia Foundation
PS: Don't forget to check my blog for regular updates on how we're helping the rescued dogs and to read their brave stories.
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