Two dogs rescued from the Chinese meat trade have arrived at Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris as they make their way to their new homes in the UK.
London-based charity No To Dog Meat, which was founded in 2009 when founder Julia de Cadenet saw for herself the horrors of the trade, saved the two dogs.
They were facing certain death at the hands of dog meat butchers at the infamous Yulin Dog Meat Festival.
The annual event, which began around 2010, sees dogs and cats – who are often stolen pets – brutally tortured and killed in the street before they are made into dishes for stalls and restaurants to serve.
Over the 10-day festival, it is thought that up to 10,000 dogs and 5,000 cats are killed and eaten. The event is set to take place later this month.
Debbie is one of two dogs who has just arrived in Europe after being rescued by No To Dog Meat in China. Here she is pictured not long after being saved by the charity
Pomeranian crossbreed Debbie, and Samoyed Delphi are among the many dogs rescued from slaughter at Yulin by No To Dog Meat.
NoToDogMeat, which was the first organisation to highlight this animal cruelty issue on a global scale, holds United Nations Special Consultative Status regarding the trade.
The charity is currently seeking UK homes for more than 750 dogs who are currently living at its shelters in Hebei and Beijing.
Travelling to the west is often the best option for the dogs, according to the charity.
It explained that regional rules on dog size, and lack of interest in adopting pets, means the animals are otherwise at risk of ending up back on the streets to be picked up by meat trade opportunists.
Charity founder Julia de Cadenet said: ‘We are so pleased that Debbie and Delphi are finally getting the happy lives that they deserve.
‘We have had lots of tears at our Beijing shelter as volunteers love this pair so much, but everyone knows they have won the lottery by getting to travel.’
She added that Debbie and Delphi have been waiting since before the pandemic to come to the UK, ‘so they deserve this more than ever’.
The pooch, who was facing a certain death at the hands of Chinese butchers, is looking much healthier and happier now
The animals were accompanied by a chaperone on the plane for the 13 hour flight from Beijing airport, rather than travelling cargo.
Speaking about the misconception that the festival is an event with historical and cultural significance, Julia said: ‘People often mistakenly think that condemning the dog meat trade is attacking another culture, but the Yulin Dog Meat Festival began in 2009 so is hardly a cultural tradition.’
She added that the charity is dedicated to continuing its work saving animals from the dog meat butchers, asking people to donate.
She said: ‘We desperately need the help of the public to save more dogs like Debbie and Delphi, and to continue our lobbying work to end this cruel trade once and for all.’
Delphi (pictured in Charles De Gaulles airport in Paris) is heading to her new home in the UK after being saved from the dog meat trade
The charity adds that at Yulin, dogs are tortured in front of crowds of people, before being killed or boiled alive to make stews and soups.
It is estimated that in China alone, 10 to 15 million dogs are eaten annually – some figures say 50,000 per day and 4 to 5 million cats.
However, polls show the majority of Chinese people do not support the dog and cat meat trade.
Additionally, around 72 per cent of Yulin residents say they don’t eat dog meat regularly, despite traders’ efforts to promote it.
The work of international organisations like NoToDogMeat as well as Chinese organisations and activists mean progress has been made in working towards an end to the brutal trade.