Warning: Some of the images in this article show animal abuse and may be distressing.
A social-media campaign has rallied around a woman in China, Yang Xiaoyun, who reportedly paid over $1,000 on Saturday to save 100 dogs from being killed and eaten during a dog-meat festival in the southern city of Yulin.
This is Yang Xiaoyun, a 65-year-old retired teacher who wants to stop dog slaughter in China.
The festival, which occurs annually during the summer solstice, has faced increasing backlash from activists who say the event is cruel, reports Agence France-Presse.
Every year, 10,000 dogs are eaten at the traditional Chinese Yulin festival.
Yang Xiaoyun, 65, was seen in photographs browsing through a market where dogs were kept in cages, before paying about $1,100 to rescue scores of canines.
Many have accused the organizers of unnecessary cruelty when cooking the dogs.
In the past, animal-rights activists have traveled to Yulin to demonstrate against the festival and have been known to buy dogs to save them from being eaten.
According to Hong Kong–based charity Animals Asia, the majority of dog meat in China comes from stolen pets and strays.
The group says many of the dogs are treated inhumanely, kept in tiny cages and poisoned or beaten to death. Nevertheless, eating dogs is legal in the country.
Yang decided to travel 1,500 miles to Yulin and spent 7,000 yuan ($1,100) to rescue 100 dogs from being slaughtered.
Here she sits next to a cage with poor dogs that she just bought from dog-meat dealers.
She runs a shelter called ‘Common Home,’ which is home to more than 1,000 dogs.
Many of the dogs require medical attention, which she provides.
Her shelter depends on volunteers and donations to operate.
Yang makes steamed corn bread twice a day to feed the dogs, which is all she can afford.
It’s always a special treat for all of the animals when volunteers come and visit.
She tries to give the dogs treats every weekend.
Attitudes towards dog and cat consumption in China are changing, but some of these traditions have deep roots.
This year, animal lovers including British comedian Ricky Gervais are decrying the festival under the hashtag #StopYulin2015.
Ricky Gervais condemned the festival and said footage he saw from past years broke his heart. “I will never forget the look of bewilderment and fear on the faces of these poor animals — the dogs and cats await a horrible fate,” he said in a statement.
“No animal deserves to be treated like this.”
Yang Xiaoyun, you are one awesome human-being. We salute you.