Humane Society International/Canada

Humane Society International/Canada

December 23, 2016 16:00 ET

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

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 23, 2016) - Ten dogs have safely arrived in Ottawa after they were rescued from slaughter by Humane Society International (HSI) at the Yulin dog meat festival in China earlier this year. Ottawa-based animal rescue group BARK will coordinate the fostering and rehabilitation of the dogs before they are placed into forever homes.

The dogs are part of a larger group of 110 dogs that HSI/Canada transported from China to Canada on December 21st to be re-homed in conjunction with local placement partners in Ontario and Quebec. The 110 dogs were rescued by HSI 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.

Sharon McKeil, executive director of BARK, added: "BARK is pleased to have assisted HSI/Canada with this important rescue and we are looking forward to finding loving, permanent homes for these poor dogs. It is our hope that they will raise the profile of the dog meat issue in the Ottawa region and be ambassadors for all the dogs implicated in the dog meat trade that still need to be rescued."

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 stop the global dog meat trade."

The Yulin dog meat festival, initiated in 2010 to boost dog meat sales, results in 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 10 dogs are all settling in to foster homes organized by BARK. When the dogs do become available for foster or adoption, BARK will publish this information on their website and social media. The remaining 100 dogs have been placed with two other compassionate Canadian organizations: Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary (based in King City, Ontario) and the Montreal SPCA.

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 for the temporary shelter and invaluable assistance with ground transport, Air Canada for logistical support for the air transport from China and Kane Veterinary Supplies for their generous donation of dog food.

Please click here to download photos and video of the dogs; email or call media contact below for interview request and/or further information.


  • An estimated 30 million dogs are brutally 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.

Established in September 2001, the Bytown Association for Rescued Kanines (BARK) is an all breed "no kill" rescue organization based in Ottawa. BARK is a registered charity comprised primarily of dedicated and experienced volunteers.

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

Contact Information