Every year, an estimate of 10,000 dogs are butchered in Yulin in Guangxi province, southern China, for the city’s yearly meat festival.
Before the animals are cooked, they are often beaten and are skinned alive.
However, one teacher stood her ground and did something noble to stop the unmerciful annual feast.
65-year-old Yang Xiaoyun is a teacher who has sheltered about 360 dogs and dozens of cats. She has been a volunteer dog carer for about 20 years and has saved over 3,500 dogs and ¥150,000 ($25,000).
She started saving animals after her husband died in 1995. She spent all the money she got from his husband’s insurance, which amounted to ¥2 million ($330,000) to taking care of her animals. Years later, in 2006, she sold two of her houses and all the money went to her dogs. Nothing was left for her.
As a result, she now depends on donations. For this year alone, she has spend more than $1,000 to save 70 dogs and 30 cats from being eaten.
Xiaoyun runs a yard called “Common Home”where hundreds of stray dogs and cats have found shelter. She has rehoused the animals at a home in Tianjin but she plans to set up a home in Yulin itself – the city of the meat festival.
“It’s their custom to eat dog meat and I don’t want to change everything. I just hope that I can enlighten them by what I’m doing.”
During weekends, Xiaoyun gives the dogs and cats some treats, which they all love very much. They also love it when volunteers and visitors come to visit.
As a support to her efforts nearly 4 million people have signed an online petition to stop the dog-eating – a practice in China which was believed to date to hundreds of years back. It is believed to keep off the heat of the summer months.
According to China Dialogue, a non-governmental organization, it’s not such an ancient tradition, and that this is often used as an excuse by those who want to eat the meat.
To know more about Xiaoyun’s efforts, watch this clip: