The images in the following program are highly sensitive and may be as disturbing to viewers as they were to us. However, we have to show the truth about cruelty to animals, praying that you will help to stop it.

This week on Stop Animal Cruelty we’ll examine the abhorrent trade in dog-and-cat- meat in China and other parts of Asia, where some mistakenly believe that eating such products has health benefits when in fact the opposite is true.

For example, those who consume dog flesh risk contracting rabies, anthrax, hepatitis, leptospirosis, brucellosis, E. Coli, salmonella and other serious diseases. Let’s first hear from Communications Director for ACTAsia for Animals, Nel van Amerongen about the appalling practices of the dog-and-cat-meat trade.

The animal suffering which is attached to these industries is enormous. Cats and dogs are being farmed for their fur and for their meat and, they are also being stolen. There is currently a sort of underground chain of criminals who will just go into various provinces, go into townships and collect animals, which are companion animals or pets, and use them for food or for fur.

You can imagine that this is causing sadness for animals as well as for people. And you also have to acknowledge that the ways these animals are captured, are being kept, are being skinned is not a humane way of dealing with them.

Although many of the dogs and cats used in the meat trade are strays or stolen animal companions, some are also raised in factory farms where the animals’ welfare, sentience and lives are given absolutely no respect. The helpless beings are treated as mere commodities and packed tight in tiny cages with no room to move. The conditions are so utterly filthy that disease and parasitic infection are rampant.

It’s a truly horrific industry. The dogs are coming from all across the country in both China and in Âu Lạc (Vietnam). In China, they are generally raised by people who have other domestic animals for the farming industry. They are then collected by a middle man and then trucked, usually from the north of China way down to the south of the country. In journeys by road they endure the most horrendous cruelty for three or four days overnight, overland.

These places where they are offloaded are called “live animal markets” in China. The animals are treated in such a disgusting condition. They are offloaded screaming and crying with the cages stacked so high on the trucks that they are just literally thrown from the top of the truck and they are smashed onto the concrete below. So if the animals, the dogs or the cats, have their paws through the cage wire, they will be smashed onto the concrete as well.

Many of the animals are also pregnant. You know, mother dogs and cats are having babies which they abort during such horrible conditions. Then they lie there in these cages in the heat of the sun and the cold in the winter, again, for several days as people start to buy them and then transport them to other areas of the country.

In 2009, in Tianjin, China, 700 cats were rescued from being sold to meat traders in South China. Zeng Li is the founder of the non-profit feline protection organization Lucky Cats. The group was involved in an operation to save and subsequently rehabilitate the kidnapped cats.

Those 700 cats came to us at the end of 2009 in Tianjin. Tianjin is a distribution center for stray cat sales in Northern China. The cat dealers catch cats from places such as Hebei and Shanxi, mostly from Hebei. They gather them together in Tianjin, before transporting them to the south. So, it was the volunteers in Tianjin who found these cats. The news quickly spread.

Were the transportation conditions or the overall environment for those cats very poor?

The conditions were extremely poor, because the transporting cages were only 20 centimeters tall, which is only about this tall. After a cat goes in… The cages are flat. They wanted to load as many cats as possible in the trucks, so each cage was only 20 centimeters tall and looks like a flat pan. Therefore, every cat that went in could only lie down on their stomach.

So, after we accepted these cats and took them to a hospital in Beijing for a checkup, a malignant, infectious disease was diagnosed among them. It was almost impossible to stop the infection, because most of the cats lived in a crowded environment.

When I went there the first time, there were more than 700 cats, but when I went there the second time, there were only over 300 cats left. So the death-rate was very high. It means once a cat plague starts, many cats will be gone.

In a similar incident, 500 dogs destined for slaughter were rescued from a truck on the Beijing-to-Harbin highway in 2011. Now let’s hear from some of the volunteers who care for these canines.

They are getting better slowly.

What were they like when they first came?

They were very weak with severe illnesses.

What kind of illnesses?

Canine distemper, parvovirus, and others. The illnesses were very serious. There were many dogs. We gave them blood transfusions in the beginning.

When they first came, were they scared or felt safe?

Some dogs were very scared and some others were very friendly to people. There were two extreme types of cases. It was because some of them have been frightened.

Did they improve after you treated them for a couple of days?

Yes. They got used to us after a while and were fine. After careful treatment by the doctors, they gradually recovered. Especially these two in the room, when they came here, they almost...

This is “Bao-bao.” When he first came, he almost died, because he had a puncture injury at the rear hips. At that time, he may have been injured for quite some time. Inside, the wounds were swollen and festering with some pus oozing out. This is a scar after his operation. Without this operation, he would have passed away already.

Maybe these two dogs used to be pets, so they like to be petted. Whenever they are petted, they become quiet and well behaved. But as soon as they are left alone, they start barking loudly.

Were they abandoned?

No. The dog vendors stole them. These two huskies were probably stolen.

After they were stolen, they were not well taken care of.

They were about to be sold as meat dogs. The vendor didn’t care about the dogs’ well-being, because even when a dog is dead, he can sell it as meat. So a lot of the dogs were sick.

Due to the false and sickening belief held by some that the more a dog or cat suffers before death the tastier their meat will be, some of the methods used to butcher and slaughter the animals are purposely designed to prolong and intensify their pain and suffering. The ways used to murder these sensitive, intelligent beings is beyond inhumane.

For example, some dogs are butchered alive while fully conscious, others are brutally stabbed in the neck or groin, while still others are hung and then electrocuted. Dog meat sellers may heinously use a propane torch to set the dogs on fire to kill them, which also removes their fur. The burning is done slowly to cause the maximum amount of agony and torture.

The method of slaughter is beyond belief. We have seen them stabbed through the jugular, down into the heart where they are bled out. We have seen them bashed on the head and on the snout, falling into unconsciousness and then coming into consciousness again during the process.

We’ve seen them thrown into vats of boiling water, still conscious, where they are struggling to get out of the heat and the horrors that face them. All this is in front of the other dogs that are waiting to be killed equally cruelly.

The exploitation of canines and felines goes beyond just meat. Their beautiful, soft fur may be ripped off their bodies and sold to the vicious fur trade industry.

Where dogs are slaughtered, very often their fur is used as a byproduct. Please if you are in any doubt if the fur is real or fake, just don’t buy it because inevitably it will be real fur. It is dyed today in such bright, lurid colors like bright pink, and bright orange and bright blue, you couldn’t even think that it came from an animal, let alone a dog. But it absolutely does and I urge people please just drop all fur from your clothing.

They’re taken and they are brutally tortured, they’re skinned alive sometimes, they’re clubbed, they’re just cut open while still squirming and screaming for their lives in front of each other. And then that fur is shipped to the United States through a loophole in the law that we have, and used for fur here.

Ninety percent of the fake fur in the United States is actually dog and cat fur. In the Unites States if a garment is under US$150, the material doesn’t have to be labeled. So that faux fur, or what you think is faux fur, really contains dogs, cats and coyotes.

Awareness is the best tool for creating change and stopping the horrific, barbaric trade in dogs and cats that we have briefly examined today. The more people know about the abuse and torture of companion animals like felines and canines, the sooner the heartless fur and meat businesses will cease to exist.

So please inform others, including your family and friends, of these ghastly industries and be a true hero by following the plant-based lifestyle which respects and protects all sentient beings.

I would ask, just always take that opportunity to find out what you’re putting into your bodies. We should not only stop at dogs and cats, but we should stop at all animals. A vegetarian-based diet is much, much healthier for our bodies.

We sincerely thank all the compassionate volunteers and activists who constantly work to safeguard the world’s defenseless dogs and cats, and extend our gratitude to Jill Robinson, Shannon Keith, Nel van Amerongen, Zeng Li and many others for their devoted efforts to rescue animals and for taking time to speak with us.

For more information on the groups featured in today’s program, please visit the following websites:
ActAsia for Animals
Animals Asia Foundation
Animal Rescue Media & Education
Lucky Cats
Thank you for your presence today on our program.

May humanity as a whole soon adopt the compassionate, life-affirming, organic vegan diet so that all beings may forever live together in peace and love.