Last, week, in part 2 of this series, we learned how over 10 million dogs and 4 million cats are slaughtered each year in China.
So surely an intensive factory farming industry must exist to meet the enormous number of dogs and cats that are killed annually.
There must be a huge number of well-regulated dog and cat meat farms where dogs and cats are bred and raised through to slaughter age, and given appropriate medical care and vaccinations to ensure that there are no health issues for the dog and cat meat eaters. Right?
Let’s take a deeper look at one of these farms.
Wait... THERE AREN’T ANY.
A lot of dogs and cats that are slaughtered in China are either stolen pets, or trapped stray or free-roaming animals.
SO WHERE DO THE DOGS AND CATS COME FROM?
In part 3 of our 6-part blog series, we’ll take a closer look at supply.
DOG MEAT SUPPLY SOURCE #1: A small portion is bought from farmers who sell their old and sick dogs to the trade.
China is home to over 100 million pet dogs and cats (1) and is also home to the world’s largest number of stray and free-roaming dogs, at over 40 million (2).
The dog-meat trade is totally enabled by the criminal enterprise of stealing and abducting pet and stray dogs, and most notably in rural areas, where people keep dogs as guardian and companion animals, but allow their dogs to free-roam, and unfortunately become easy prey for the dog thieves.
Farmers keeping their dogs as guardian or companion dogs in rural China are most at risk from predatory dog thieves. Over 70% of the villages polled as part of the study had dogs stolen (Animals Asia). Duo Duo Project did several interviews with different victims who lost their dogs to the trade, and all gave the same response.
Despite being terribly upset by the loss of their dog, they never reported it to the police because they knew little if any follow-up investigation would ever be carried out. The owners generally accepted that there was little or no chance of retrieving their dog, and the police would not take the case seriously.
“If a pig or bicycle is stolen, the police will take that matter much more seriously than a dog”, said a farmer in tears whose grand mom lost her companion dog to the trade.
Turning our attention towards dog farms, or lack thereof, a simple exercise in economics explains why the concept of large-scale dog farms does not make sense, and why none exist:
Dogs are carnivores and would require a meat-based diet for at least six months to be raised to the profitable slaughter size.
The cost of doing this, coupled with the cost of providing rabies and other vaccinations, would make the price per pound double or triple the current going market rate for dog meat.
Quite simply, no legal business can compete with an illegal business selling stolen goods.
DOG MEAT SUPPLY SOURCE #2: The majority of the dogs are stolen and are typically stray dogs and people’s pets.
In addition to the illegality of stealing, we have to point out that the cruelty involved in the trade is horrifying and disturbing.
After local thieves and criminals routinely abduct and steal pet and stray dogs, they are sold to middle-men suppliers, who house the dogs at their collection points, a filthy and rundown empty warehouse with little food, until they have enough dogs (and cats) to supply a truck to a city.
Generally, this is around 500 dogs, who are then transported in tiny, cramped cages, over hundreds of miles, without food or water, often in freezing or extremely hot weather, depending on the region and the time of year.
HORRIFYING FACTS OF DOG MEAT SUPPLY TRANSPORTATION
Puppies that are born on the truck are often thrown onto the freeway because they have no value. Because dog meat is rumored to have warming properties, it is more popular in the fall and winter periods. This coincides with the reports of missing and stolen dogs at the same time of year.
As the cages are stacked on each other, many dogs on the bottom have crushed spines due to the excessive weight on them. They are then often thrown from the top of the truck upon arrival which can lead to excruciating injuries from broken bones.
Many animals die from exhaustion, anxiety, lack of food and water, illness and disease, and heat stroke or hypothermia, during this horrific final journey. While the dog butcher is responsible for the brutal slaughter of the dog, we believe the thieves, snatchers, truck drivers, and particularly the consumers, are equally evil in the dog meat trade business.
The supply chain has two major routes, south and north. The sales of the North Line are mainly in the northeast region with Changchun as the center, and the main sources of stolen dogs come from Hebei, Shandong and Henan provinces. The sales areas of the southern route are Guangdong and Guangxi (where Yulin is), and the main sources of stolen dogs come from Anhui, Zhejiang, Lianghu, and Sichuan provinces.
WHAT DUO DUO PROJECT IS DOING TO STOP THE DOG AND CAT SUPPLY
Duo Duo Project’s spay and neuter programs aim to reduce the supply. The less dogs and cats available for consumption in China, the better. Reducing the supply increases the price of the meat which will have an effect on demand. We plan to launch a first-of-its-kind spay and neuter program in China in 2022. Stay tuned to our newsletter and blogs for updates.
Our education and community outreach programs aim to make people see dogs and cats as family not meat. Our Youth Compassion Center in Mudanjiang City is already making headway in promoting dogs and cats as companion animals that deserve to be treated with compassion and respect. This will, in turn, reduce the demand for dog and cat meat consumption as more dogs and cats are seen as valuable and loving pets.
JOIN US and on-the-ground Chinese animal activists. Help us end the illegal Yulin dog meat festival and trade for good.