Only around 400 of the some 1,400 dogs that were rescued from the Yulin dog meat festival and taken to a shelter have survived, according to a Reference News report.
The controversial event, held annually at the end of June in Yulin, Guangxi, attracts crowds of protestors and animal rights activists who fork out thousands in cash to purchase dogs that will otherwise be slaughtered and sold for meat.
One animal protection shelter in Gaoyu, Jiangsu has been housing 1,400 stray dogs that were rescued from this year’s festival, on top of the 400 that were saved from the year before. Due to disease and shoddy living conditions, however, many have died anyways, Want China Times reports:
The dogs were shipped on a 35-hour journey before arriving at the shelter and joining the 400 dogs rescued from last year’s festival, according to Hong Kong’s Sing Pao.
Life at the shelter is rough for the animals, however, Reference News reported, and one of the shelter’s volunteers says dogs have been dying every day since their arrival. The shelter speculates that the confined conditions of the journey from Yulin enabled the easy spread of canine distemper, one of the leading causes of death among canines.
Some dogs were already dead by the time they arrived, crushed in the tight confines, said one of the volunteers. “A considerable number were killed by distemper…and some have managed to find homes,” another added.
After a little over two months since the new arrivals, only 400 dogs remain at the shelter, the report said.
This year’s event garnered international attention, with Western celebrities and widely circulated petitions all calling for its closure in the weeks leading up to it.
Still, huge crowds of vendors and customers were seen purchasing, eating and butchering dogs in the streets of Yulin in June. This is despite experts issuing food safety warnings about mass gatherings of canine consumption, such as in Yulin, which can increase the risk of spreading and contracting diseases.
As they hype surrounding the festival has died down, the dogs that did managed to get rescued are lacking proper care. The Gaoyu shelter only has three volunteers and barely enough donations to cover the costs.
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