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Published November 2006
LGVN Animals / China

The Chinese Year of the Dog - by Kim Cooling.

I thought I had witnessed enough suffering and pain that we inflict on animals to last me a lifetime, until I recently visited a small-town market in the Guangxi Province of China.

WARNING - this link leads to extremely upsetting pictures
Moments after this picture was taken this little dog was bled alive then boiled.
See photos warning ...
This link ... leads you to the photo page accompanying Kim Cooling's story.
WARNING the photos are extremely explicit and upsetting.

In this market I saw first hand the most horrific abuse of man's best friend imaginable.
Live dogs were crammed in rows towards the back of the market along with the usual overfilled cages of live poultry. The dogs were silent, some frozen in terror, others simply resigned to their fate.
Most of the dogs were the traditional and 'tastiest' yellow variety like my own dog Rama, rescued from Thailand in 1998. However, there were others, including a scruffy little mongrel/terrier cross who looked like a stolen pet.
I went up to comfort them. But as selfless as dogs are, they probably comforted me more because they are gentle and trusting.
But this is a trust so cruelly betrayed by those with whom they form the closest and most intimate bond - us humans.
So as they awaited their brutal demise, they gently licked my hands ... forever faithful, till the end.
Most of the animals were young. One noticeably older and remarkably calm looking dog with sad doleful eyes appeared to be comforting another by tenderly licking her ears.
Then, as I watched in horror, dogs were brutally lifted by the neck by their torturers, wielding metal tongs. The dogs were stabbed in the neck, some had wire placed round their necks to slowly choke them as they were bled. They were then suspended upside down by their hind legs, from the same cages where their companions were held, who could only watch in terror as the blood flowed from the suspended animals into a bucket placed below their heads.
My first instinct was to try to save some of these poor animals, but with nowhere to take them and more and more baskets crammed full of dogs entering the market quicker than they were killing them, I realised that the only thing I could do was to try to film their treatment.
The dogs were suspended for some time still alive and making gurgling noises as they were fighting to breathe. After being bled, they were hoisted down and thrown into a large drum of boiling water. The dogs were still alive, one was thrashing violently around as it hit the water. After being boiled alive, the dogs had their fur scraped off their bodies, they were gutted and then blow torched to caramelize / preserve their meat. The dogs were then hung on large hooks in full view of the live dogs in the cages and baskets, or placed directly on top of the cages with the live dogs. Their guts were placed in plastic bags and attached to their legs. The people killing the dogs were chatting, laughing, eating noodles and boiling the animals like vegetables. A poor goat, tethered to the ground nearby, could see the slaughter of the dogs.
The goat was defecating and urinating in fear as it lay helplessly in the blood and guts of the dogs.

The hatchet used for gutting was hung dripping with blood on the cage containing the live dogs. It seemed all effort was made to terrorise the dogs awaiting their horrendous slaughter and to ensure the animals died a long and agonising death.
As I stood there filming I suddenly realised that pools of blood had formed around my feet from the slaughtered dogs. I could not bear to see any more, especially the brutal death of that little terrier and I left the market in floods of tears. But my tears will not help these animals ... only actions do that.

These dogs were being killed for their meat. A thriving trade where huge dogs farms have developed in China. The dog meat trade has become more industrialised, even promoted by the government in some provinces.
It is estimated that between 10-20 million dogs are killed slowly and violently every year in China, just like the ones I witnessed.
Vacuum packed canned dog food is increasingly sold in supermarkets and brutal slaughter methods are openly promoted in books and VCD's about dog farming.
Four million cats are also consumed and killed every year in equally barbaric ways.
China is the biggest dog and cat eating nation in the world.
China is also the world's biggest fur trade production and processing base in the world.
Up to 2 million dogs and cats are skinned, many while still alive, in China every year.
85% of fur products are imported from China, most flooding into Europe where there is still no Europe-wide ban.
Many of these animals are farmed, so their brutal deaths end a life of unimaginable suffering and cruelty at the hands of people who are driven by greed and devoid of compassion through sheer uneducated ignorance.
Improving animal welfare in China is the greatest challenge of all and although animal welfare groups talk about progress being made, animals are still being skinned alive and tortured in markets and elsewhere in greater numbers than ever before.
The Chinese have no incentives to change. Dog and cat fur is still being imported into Europe, as are Chinese products which flood our markets and are boosting China's awesome economic growth.
The country is hosting the next Olympics in Beijing in 2008. They are preparing for this by cleansing the streets of any dogs they see, not only in Beijing but also Guilin. Needless to say they are doing this in the most brutal fashion.
So what can be done?
I made a pledge to those gentle dogs in that market in Guangxi Province, to do all I can to highlight their suffering - the brutal treatment of companion animals in a country emerging as the world's next super power.
My tears will not help them, but pressure on the Chinese government, leading up to the Beijing Olympics, offers the only hope for these poor souls.
The evidence of these dogs plight will I hope, move others to help me to help them.

Kim Cooling

Kim Cooling with rescued pups in Sri-Lanka November 2006
Kim Cooling with rescued pups in Sri-Lanka November 2006


Looking-Glass Guidance - Peaceful Protest

If you are affected by what you have read here and wish to make your opinions heard, take note of these guidelines when corresponding with Chinese officials:

The mindset inside China is very different to western culture.
When writing to their official departments, be polite and courteous. They will not be accommodating to correspondence that is aggressive, insulting or dishonourable in any way.
Diplomacy is important when communicating with any government, and you can still respectfully make it clear to Chinese officials that their country's treatment towards animals causes you great distress, and you feel that while such cruelty continues you are unable to visit or support international events taking place in China until this situation is humanely resolved.

Writing paper letters is often more effective than e-mailing (but please use recycled paper)

Write to your local Chinese Embassy.
A link page of embassy addresses can be found on the following website:

Wite to the Chinese President.
His Excellency, Hu Jintao President of the People's Republic of China
9 Xihuang-Chenggen Beijie
Peoples Republic of China
email: info@cppcc.gov.cn OR info@china.org.cn

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