Meet the Chinese woman who buys dogs, spending thousands of dollars to save them from meat festival
Are you an animal lover, who is ready to pay more than thousands of dollars to save dogs from being eaten? Yes, this is what an animal lover has done in Yulin, China. Yan Xiaoyun, a 65-year-old retired school teacher has paid about 7,000 yuan to save around 100 dogs during a dog meat festival.
The city holds an annual festival devoted to the animal’s meat on the summer solstice, which has provoked an increasing backlash from animal protection activists. This year the festival has been targeted by British Comedian Ricky Gervais, who posted a series of messages on Twitter with the hashtag ‘StopYuLin2015’.
Yan Xiaoyun plans to re-house the dogs at her home nearly 2,000 kilometers (124 miles) away in Tianjin. Yan Xiaoyun, who believes that the festival is cruel, has travelled to the city to hold demonstrations and to buy dogs to save them from the cooking vessels. The 65-year old saved 360 dogs from the festival just last year.
The majority of ‘meat dogs’ in the country are stolen pets and strays, according to an investigation published by Hong Kong-based charity Animals Asia, even though eating dog is unusual in most parts of China. Around 30 million households in the country are estimated to keep dogs as pets, helping to fuel the growing animal rights movement.
I hope to start a dog breed centre as well as a vegetarian restaurant in Yulin. I hope the locals can gradually accept our culture through them and to learn to love dogs, says Yang Xiaoyun.
Each morning, Yang wakes up at 5am and works until 10pm at night. She eats only one meal a day, but cooks two meals for the entire pup population living in her very full house. Each meal takes about eight hours to prepare since there are so many dogs to feed. Most of the dogs that are brought to the shelter are either disabled or in need of intense medical attention. Even with her limited resources, Yan Xiaoyun has never turned any of them away.