The brutal dog eating festival that sees hounds beaten to death and blow torched

This story contains footage, pictures and descriptions that many will find very upsetting!

Yulin, Guangxi Autonomous Region

A butcher grills a butchered dog at a slaughter house at a dog meat market in Yulin, Guangxi

Terrified dogs have been filmed howling in agony as they are bludgeoned to death for a dog-eating festival held today.

Animal activists recorded the traumatised animals being crammed into cages then brutally killed in front of one another in packed pens.

Their hair was then burned off with a blow torch and their bodies thrown into boiling water.

Activists said they filmed the horror at an unlicensed slaughterhouse at 3am on Saturday, after following a lorry carrying hundreds of the animals bound for the Yulin dog-meat festival in central China.

Every June, residents of various Chinese cities in the South will ‘celebrate’ summer solstice by eating dog meat, with lychees. Tens of thousands of dogs are suffering from the cruel capture, long distance transport and gruesome slaughtering method. The welfare and basic needs of these animals are totally neglected.

Yulin, Guangxi Autonomous Region

Dogs are kept in a cage at Dashichang dog market

Local authorities had claimed the festival had been abolished after global outrage, and ordered the killing of around 10,000 dogs and cats to be done away from street markets.

Yet locals will gather today to eat dog-meat and lychees to celebrate the summer solstice.

Yulin, Guangxi Autonomous Region

Dogs are kept in a cages

“They climbed on top of each other to get away from the beating, and pressed themselves against the bars in a desperate attempt to escape. It is a sight I will never forget, although I wish I could.”

He added: “In the adjoining alley the lifeless bodies of these same dogs we just saw were then thrown on to the ground and boiled and burned to prepare them for the market.”

Despite the outrage, animal protection charities working to expose the cruel market have revealed the festival is booming this year.

Queues have stretched outside eateries selling the newly slaughtered animals to hungry customers.

But Western animal charities are keen to stress opposition to the trade also comes from Chinese activists, who attempt “interventions” when a lorry-load of dogs is spotted. They check if the driver has a licence for them and claim many dogs have collars, having been stolen.

Mr Parascandola said: “We received an early morning call that a large truck crammed with dogs had been spotted at the market.

Yulin, Guangxi Autonomous RegionA woman eats dog meat

“When we got there, there were a few transport cages still packed with dogs but most of the animals had been unloaded into a pen, where they were packed so tight they had to stand on top of each other.

“The workers were poking the dogs through the bars with large tongs and would grab one out and take them into a back room.

Yulin, Guangxi Autonomous Region

A woman from an animal right activist group looks at a dog as she negotiates a price

“At one point, a man got into the pen with the dogs and started beating them with a club.” In one video, a dog-meat trader throws what appears to be boiling water in the direction of activists who are filming from outside the slaughterhouse

Yulin, Guangxi Autonomous Region

A man carrying butchered dogs drives past a pet dog at a dog meat market

Mr Parascandola added: “Knowing that this truck full of dogs was just one small fraction of the animals who suffer so terribly during this festival is heartbreaking. Many of the dog-meat vendors stood around to jeer and laugh at the ­activists who were visibly upset.

“Such cruelty to the dogs and the people who were in pain watching the suffering is in stark contrast to the love and gentle compassion with which so many Chinese people love their pets.”

In recent days, a number of dogs have been purchased by activists in order to rescue them from
dog-meat dealers

Yulin, Guangxi Autonomous Region

A customer holds a puppy for viewing

The animals are then housed at a temporary shelter in Yulin’s Guangxi region. Celebrities including Ricky Gervais and Leona Lewis have backed HSI’s campaign to end the dog-meat trade.

It has existed in some Asian countries for centuries but had become less popular in a rapidly industrialising China.

Wendy Higgins, EU communications director for HSI, said: “I’ve never seen anything that has affected me quite so much as seeing dogs beaten to death or cats boiled alive in a Chinese live-animal market.

“This is extreme cruelty, with dogs and cats brutally beaten to death in front of each other. They die in pain and terrified. Whether you eat meat or not, this is an appalling situation that has to stop.”

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