Rescuers and Animal Lovers Try to Save as Many Dogs as Possible Ahead of the Yulin Dog Meat Festival

As China’s Yulin dog-meat festival begins tomorrow, rescue groups, advocates and animal lovers are using their voice, influence and actions to put an end to the horrific, barbaric event.

The 10-day festival — started in 2010 — focuses on an old Chinese belief that consuming dog (and cat) meat during the hot summer months will cool the blood. It is also believed that the more the animal suffers, the greater the benefit. Because of this, dogs are skinned and burned alive, blowtorched, hung upside down and bludgeoned to death, among other unimaginable, heinous acts. Many were someone’s pet, stolen from their home; others were raised on awful dog-meat farms. At its peak, 10,000 dogs were consumed during the Yulin festival, but in recent years, the number has dropped to 2,000-3,000. (Yearly, it is estimated that anywhere between 10 and 30 million dogs die for their meat in countries, including Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, South Korea, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.)

Related: Dog Rescued From Meat Trade Finally Gets Prosthetic Legs to Walk

Right now, there are many boots on the ground protesting and shaming festival goers, while rescue groups are frantically trying to save as many dogs and cats as possible.

According to reports, animal-welfare groups can stop dog trucks heading to the slaughterhouse and ask for paperwork, proving these dogs are indeed theirs. If they can’t provide documentation – which is often the case – the dogs can be confiscated.

While global organizations, like Humane Society International, are putting pressure on farmers raising dogs for slaughter to close down their business by providing resources for other job opportunities.

Groups are also putting pressure on the government to change its policies for dog consumption, with many hoping it will end all together.

Ricky Gervais, Matt Damon, Ellen DeGeneres and many others, have used their voice on social media to raise awareness about the issue, while millions have signed petitions. Indeed, on Charge.org a petition called “Shut Down the Yulin Dog Meat Festival!” has received more than 3 million signatures to date.

Related: Matt Damon, Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara and Other Celebs Star in Video Pleading to Put an End to the Violent Dog Meat Trade

Despite all of this, the Yulin festival will occur this year. However, many hope that this disgusting event will end one day. As pet ownership is increasing in the country, the younger generation is against dog and cat consumption and there is continuous pressure for change, Wendy Higgins, director of international media at HSI, told the Daily Express she thinks the Yulin festival will someday cease to exist.

“These young people are China’s future, and a beacon of hope in these dark days as we approach the Yulin dog meat festival, an event that goes against everything these courageous animal champions stand for.”

Related: Los Angeles Condemns Eating Dog Meat, Yulin Festival

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