Updated: Sep 20
Duo Duo Project, a U.S. non-profit dedicated to ending the Chinese dog meat trade, has been approved as a legal entity by the government of Mudanjiang, infamously known as the only city in China to have two sanctioned dog slaughterhouses. Andrea Gung, Founder and Executive Director of the U.S. non profit says this legal status, which has been granted to a very few U.S. non-profits, means that Duo Duo Project can legally work directly with local NGOs dedicated to ending the cruel trade. It’s likely the COVID-19 pandemic was the impetus for the Mudanjiang government granting this important status to Duo Duo. The fact that Duo Duo has been on the ground in China —
since 2014 — lending help and expertise to local groups also factored into the decision.
Plans are underway in Mudanjiang to transform a vacant space into a vibrant community center for young adults. While there will be a variety of programs available, Gung says that the centerpiece of the youth center will be a dog social room where visitors can enjoy and learn about dogs, including the importance of spaying and neutering. “Guest dogs will be brought in from Duo Duo Project’s sponsored local shelter and may, in some cases, be available for adoption” Gung adds. This is significant because many of the young visitors will likely never have had — or known — a companion dog. Mudanjiang, in northeastern China, is home to many North Korean immigrants who are likely to have grown up eating dogs. “With 2 legal slaughterhouses in the city, it’s important to change hearts and minds right here”, says Gung. Now, local people will be able to share their love and knowledge about humankind's best friend. Duo Duo Project was instrumental in helping a caring group of Yulin citizens open a dog cafe that’s now a popular place to gather. The Bay Area-based non profit’s goal is to replicate this model in other Chinese cities that still have this backward dog eating practice. It’s a proven way to get people to see dogs as family rather than food.