A 65-year-old dog lover from China, has gone to great lengths to save as many dogs as she possibly could from being eaten during this year’s Yulin Dog Meat Festival. She managed to pay around $1,000 for the release of 100 otherwise doomed canines. It may not sound like much, but the media attention her actions got in international media also helped raise awareness about the cruel festival, thus increasing the chances of it being banned in the near future.
Yang Xiaoyun, a retired school teacher from Tianjin, China, traveled 1,500 miles from her home to the city of Yulin, to save scores of dogs from being slaughtered and eaten during the Dog Meat Festival. Photos shared on Chinese internet portal Netease show the 65-year-old woman walking through a market where dogs were kept in cages and paying for various sums of money for their release. Reports say she ended up paying 7,000 yuan ($1,000) to save 100 dogs.
It’s estimated that around 10,000 dogs are killed and sold as meat during the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, an event meant to ring in the summer solstice by promoting the consumption of dog meat. Started in 2010, the dog eating festival has been gaining in popularity, despite cultural attitudes toward eating cats and dogs changing for the better in China and throughout Asia. This year, the Yulin caused international outcry, with animal right organizations, celebrities and millions of individuals around the world speaking against the display of cruelty and appealing to the local government to ban the festival.
As if Yang Xiaoyun’s recent efforts weren’t enough of a testament to her love for animals, it has been revealed that her home in Tianjin is also a shelter for abandoned dogs and cats. Called “Common Home for Stray Animals”, Yang’s place houses around 1,500 dogs and over 200 cats. She can only afford to feed them steamed corn bread twice a day, and relies on volunteers and donations to function, but she always manages to make ends end meat. The dedicated caretaker also provides medical assistance to animals that require it.
Chinese media reports that the 100 recently rescued dogs will be making the trip back to Tianjin with Yang Xiaoyun, to join her shelter.
Yang Xiaoyun is one of several kind souls who have taken it upon themselves to help stray animals in China. In the past, we reported about other kindhearted people, like Ha Wenjin, a woman who takes care of thousands of dogs and cats, Grandma Bai, who hasspent the last 15 years of her life taking care of stray canines and felines, or Wang Yanfang who feeds and tends to over 1,300 dogs every day. It’s people like these who help restore your faith in humanity.
Photos: Animals Asia/Flickr