Chinese animal charities urge animal lovers to stop buying dogs in Yulin

21 June 2016

Dogs in cages

Thirty-five Chinese Animal Charities have put their name to an open letter requesting animal rescuers no longer buy dogs at the Yulin dog meat festival.

15.05.2017: In the end an astonishing 84 Chinese organisations signed the letter.

With international and local media coverage of the festival growing each year - more and more animal lovers are travelling to Yulin with the intent of saving animals. Unfortunately, say the NGOs, they are now becoming part of the same dog black market they are trying to end.

The letter (translated in full below) says the actions are counterproductive and raises dog meat industry profits. In addition any rescuers would be paying an inflated price that could rescue more dogs elsewhere. It's suggested that local Chinese travelling to Yulin would be better advised to save dogs in their own area.

In addition while the spotlight is on Yulin during the festival, the long-term rehabilitation and housing of dogs remains an issue. In the weeks ahead it's often difficult to track the dogs once coverage of the festival diminishes

Jill with puppy

Animals Asia founder Jill Robinson said:

"I believe we have a duty to observe this request. The dog meat industry is not one we want to benefit in any way. Going forward the focus for all must be on the bigger picture - beyond the Yulin festival. There are so many incredible people working so hard to end this horrific cruelty we need to harness that in a way that brings us closer to ending this cruelty for good and continue supporting these groups on the ground."

The statement:

It's the Summer Solstice again. It's also the peak period for dog meat consumption in Yulin. In the past two years, passionate animal lovers have travelled to Yulin to rescue dogs by paying vendors. This also includes foreign individuals and organisations joining rescues. Here, the following animal welfare groups make a joint appeal to oppose these paid-for rescues, the reasons are:

1. Despite the number of dogs bought in Yulin, the absolute number of saved dogs is small while the absolute numbers of dogs consumed could yet be increased due to this abnormal stimulation of consumption within the market. By buying dogs in Yulin you objectively become part of the black market dog meat trade.

2. Buying dogs pushes up the local dog meat price, increasing the price during the Summer Solstice period and helps vendors make more profit. This is an abnormal boost even though it enjoys public sympathy.

3. There is the risk of criminal activity and it is open to abuse. Public announcements are not always backed up by transparent accounts and management and the dog meat market price is also affected by public announcements promising dog rescues.

If rescuers have limited funds then Yulin festival is the worst time and location to carry out a paid-for rescue. The inflated price means many more dogs could be rescued away from the region.

4. It is also difficult to track rescued animals after the event. A rescue is just the first step - frequently there is no money for rehabilitation for a large number of dogs. If the dogs have to be rehoused fast then it's impossible to background check individuals. There remains the risk that these could return back to dog markets. Even those moved by truck to far-flung shelters may die en route. Again it is open to abuse as individuals can exaggerate the number of rescued animals in return for donations.

Yulin people consume dog meat all the year round. If groups or individuals want to buy dogs in order to "save lives", they could purchase dogs at other times to avoid the festival period. The same amount of money will save more lives and there are also dog meat restaurants in other places. Dog lovers can buy dogs locally at a lower transport cost and save more lives.

Buying large number of dogs in Yulin stimulates the local market, increasing the number of slaughtered dogs and pushes up the price while the animal welfare of saved dogs cannot be supervised or guaranteed.

If there are those with resources large enough to start a Yulin dog meat trade transition then that's okay. For that they would have to buy out the industry, close all slaughterhouses and the dog meat restaurants. But just buying dogs will only stimulate the local industry and encourage crime. We would firmly say no to this.

Without an animal protection law and without the local government enforcing strict security supervision, we cannot stop the dog slaughtering in Yulin temporarily. While we push for animal protection legislation, we have to face the helpless truth that large number of animals will be killed. In the meantime we need the existing laws and regulations to be used.

We need to urge the government to strengthen law enforcement, we need to do more public education work, make more legal challenges, increase correspondence with government, seek more celebrity support, seek more international support and more media coverage. These are all pragmatic methods - not high profile buying of dogs, and not fundraising without transparent accounts where neither donations nor dogs can be tracked.

Via this joint-letter from Chinese animal protection groups, we urge animal lovers to be sensible. We won't buy Yulin dogs from now on. We won't rescue dogs by buying them in slaughterhouses or dog markets.


1. Angel Animal Aid (AAAID)

2. Chongqing Small Animal Protection Association

3. Xi'an Grenadine Companion Animal Rescue Center

4. Xi'an Small Animal Protection Association

5. Xi'an Love pet welfare association

6. Yi Shan

7. Tianjin Aunt Gong's shelter

8. Tianjin Stray Animal Rescue Team

9. Hainan Zhongshan Love small animal association

10. Hainan Small Animal Protection Association

11. The Smiling Angels Animals Love-Care-Center

12. Qingdao Animal Protection Association

13. Qingdao Stray Animal Rescue Organization

14. Shining Action Animals Protection (SAAP)

15. Nan Ning Chong Ai You Jia Liu Lang Dong Wu Xiao Zhan

16. Kunming Dog Lovers Association

17. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Xiangzhou, Zhuhai

18. Changsha Small Animal Protection Association

19. Handan Small Animal Protection Website

20. Wuhan Stray Pet Rescue Center

21. Shenzhen Dog Protection Association (SDPA)

22. Harbin Small Animal Protection Association

23. Shijiazhuang Adoption Day

24. Qinhuangdao Animal Home

25. Szcat Animal Protection Volunteer Association (Szcat)

26. Luoyang small animal protection association

27. Qinhuangdao animal protection association

28. Xi'an Adoption Day

29. Beijing Yichong Yard

30. Beijing Natalie's Yard

31. One Metre More Love

32. Zhengzhou Chuhui Stray Dog Rescue Station

33. Shan Dong Tai Shan Animal Protection Centre

34. Voice for the Voiceless

35. Sichuan Qiming Small Animals Protection Center