Inspiring Chinese Woman Travels 1,500 Miles to Rescue 100 Dogs from a Dog-Meat Festival
Xiaoyun Yang, a retired teacher in China, has emerged as a hero to dog lovers everywhere after she traveled more than 1,500 miles and spent over $1,100 in order to save 100 dogs from being slaughtered and eaten during the controversial dog-meat festival in the southern city of Yulin.
The annual festival, during which as many as 10,000 dogs are killed in order to celebrate the summer solstice, has attracted fierce opposition from the international community, celebrities, and local activists in China. While meat consumption may differ from country to country depending on cultural practices, activists are largely taking issue with how the dogs are procured, treated, and slaughtered. Many dogs killed for meat are family pets stolen from homes, or are strays captured on the street. They are often crammed tightly in cages, increasing the risk of spreading diseases. Finally, many of the slaughtering methods—such as being boiled alive or beaten to death—are considered to be unnecessarily cruel and inhumane.
Yang is one of many Chinese activists who crossed long distances in order to save as many dogs as possible from certain death in Yulin. The 65-year-old has a long history of rescuing animals, stemming from a pivotal day in 1995 when she jumped into a river to save a drowning kitten who had been tossed into the water by its owners. Since then, Yang has taken in countless animals to her animal shelter called “Common Home.” The shelter, located in the Dongli District of Tianjin, houses more than 200 cats and 1,500 dogs, many of whom need medical attention. With the help of a few volunteers, Yang works from 5AM to 10PM each day in order to care for the animals. Although she has limited resources, the selfless animal lover has never failed to feed her furry friends steamed corn bread—all she can afford—twice a day, plus special treats on the weekend.
Despite the difficult work involved in rescuing and caring for so many lives, Yang has never given up. On the contrary, the activist even has plans to expand her outreach by establishing an animal shelter and a vegetarian restaurant in Yulin in the future.