Ahead of China’s annual Yulin dog meat festival later this month (June 21st), actress Evanna Lynch has joined with Humane Society International to raise awareness about the work the charity does across Asia to end the suffering.
In a new PSA video, Evanna also highlights the lesser known plight of cats caught up in the brutal trade, with the help of cat meat-trade survivor Li who now lives in her forever home in the United Kingdom.
Li was rescued from Yulin by HSI’s Chinese partner group where she was found crammed in a tiny cage with other cats, terrified and waiting to die. An estimated 4 million cats a year are killed for human consumption in China, many of them stolen pets still wearing their collar when rescued from slaughter trucks or slaughterhouses.
Evanna, who cares for her own cat companion called Puff, visited Li’s new north London home where she is doted on by her new dad Daniel, and her best feline friend Pippin! Evanna says: “When I first found out that cats are also victims of Asia’s deadly meat trade, it broke my heart. I love all animals, but cats have a special place in my heart so I was delighted to meet Li and see how she’s put her distressing meat trade ordeal behind her. HSI works in China, South Korea, India and Indonesia is vital to help bring an end to the suffering that so many millions of cats and dogs endure.”
HSI’s program sees the charity work in partnership with local groups eager to bring about change in their home country. In South Korea, HSI works with dog meat farmers to permanently close their farms and help them move on to alternative livelihoods such as water delivery or crop growing. HSI has rescued nearly 1,300 dogs so far from South Korea’s meat trade, who are flown to the UK, Canada and the USA for a better life. In Indonesia, as part of the Dog Meat-Free Indonesia coalition, HSI exposes the horrifying cruelty of traditional markets where dogs and cats are bludgeoned and blow-torched, while at the same time advancing policy work to persuade local governments to change laws.
In China, HSI’s partner groups rescue thousands of dogs and cats throughout the year from trucks headed to slaughterhouses. As Evanna explains in her new video, the activists tend to find more dogs than cats on these rescue missions because dogs are eaten in far greater numbers than cats in China. But when cats like Li are rescued, they are taken to recover in one of HSI’s partner shelters where they receive a soft bed, toys and lots of love.
Dr Peter Li, HSI’s China Policy Expert says: “Li is one of the lucky ones who thankfully escaped a dreadful fate in China. I have seen first-hand at the Yulin festival the rows of cages on the slaughter trucks, each one packed tight with cats meowing in distress, their little paws often crushed as the cages are offloaded and thrown on the road. People around the world are increasingly aware of the horrors of the dog meat trade, but few realise that cats are caught up in this trade too. Most people in China don’t eat dogs and cats, and there is growing vocal opposition to the trade, particularly because so many companion animals are stolen.”