Home for the Holidays: Dogs saved from slaughter at China’s Yulin dog meat festival arrive in Montreal

Crédit photo : VShine/VShine

Montreal, December 23rd 2016 – Over 30 dogs have safely arrived at the Montreal SPCA after being rescued from slaughter by Humane Society International/Canada at the Yulin dog meat festival in China earlier this year.

The dogs are part of a larger group of 110 dogs that HSI/Canada transported from China to Canada on December 21st to be placed in forever homes by local shelter partners in Ontario and Quebec. HSI rescued the 110 dogs from slaughterhouses and markets on the outskirts of Yulin just days ahead of the annual dog meat festival that took place on June 21st. The animals received veterinary care and rehabilitation at an HSI-funded emergency shelter in China before arriving in Canada. Adoption of rescue dogs in China is not yet widespread, necessitating the transfer of the dogs out of China. HSI is working with partner groups on the ground to promote a culture of adoption in the country.

“The Montreal SPCA is pleased to assist HSI/Canada with this important rescue. We are relieved these dogs will soon be placed into loving families, where they will get the chance to live happy and healthy lives,” stated Me. Alanna Devine, director of animal advocacy of the Montreal SPCA.

Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of HSI/Canada, who greeted the animals upon their arrival in Toronto, said: “These dogs have endured a level of cruelty that most people can’t even bear to think about. When we found them, the dogs were crammed into cages so tightly they could not move and they watched as other dogs were beaten to death in front of them. They were dehydrated, emaciated, injured and miserable when HSI rescuers arrived. But thanks to our amazing supporters, these dogs are recovering and will have a wonderful new life in Canada. Moreover, they will be ambassadors for our unrelenting campaign to fight the global dog meat trade.”

The Yulin dog meat festival, initiated in 2010 to boost dog meat sales, results in tens of thousands of dogs and cats slaughtered and eaten. International and national protest against the festival has reduced the scale of the event by 80 percent in recent years.

Polling (Horizon, 2016) reveals that, of those holding an opinion, 78 percent of people in China believe the Yulin festival should be ended and 73 percent support a national ban on the dog meat trade.

The 32 dogs are all settling in at the Montreal SPCA where canine behaviour experts, veterinarians and staff are working with them. Many of the dogs are timid and seeking patient and calm adoptive families to help them adjust to their new lives. They will become available for adoption as of Friday, January 6th 2017 at noon. For more information about the Montreal SPCA’s adoption procedures, please click here. The remaining 60 dogs have been placed with two other compassionate Canadian organizations: Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary (based in King City, Ontario) and BARK (an Ottawa-based rescue group).

This rescue would not have been possible without the generous support of The Eric S. Margolis Family Foundation, whose commitment to animal protection has changed the lives of countless animals worldwide. HSI would also like to thank Sharp Transportation for donating warehouse space and assisting with ground transport, and Kane Veterinary Supplies for their generous donation of dog food.


  • An estimated 30 million dogs are killed each year, primarily in Asia, for the global dog meat trade. Up to 20 million of those dogs are slaughtered in China.
  • The government of China is working with local partners to enact and enforce new animal protection laws to curtail the trade. HSI has provided training and funding to local organizations in rescuing thousands of dogs bound for slaughter and has set up a command centre to coordinate these activities.
  • HSI is also waging campaigns in South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and other Asian nations to stop the dog meat trade.


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The Montreal SPCA, founded in 1869, was the first animal welfare society in Canada. Their mission is to: protect animals against negligence, abuse, and exploitation; represent their interests and ensure their well-being, and raise public awareness and help develop compassion for all living beings. For more information about the Montreal SPCA, please visit our website at www.spca.com.

Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, with active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation, farm animal welfare and animals in research. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International, which, together with its partners, constitutes one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide – on the Web at www.hsicanada.ca

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