Bug – Yulin Meat Festival

As the Yulin Cat and Dog festival begins, my mind turns to a very special little dog called Bug.

I arrived in Chengdu China on 8th June where I travelled to Animals Asia’s CBRC (China Bear Rescue Centre). That afternoon I was taken to meet the incredible 123 bears that live in the sanctuary. Each with their own extraordinarily sad story to tell, they now live in peace away from farms and cruelty. However, for now, there’s another story I’d like to tell you about.

There are… where, three street dogs that live next door to the sanctuary: Bug, Buster and Huan Huan. Their owners have them tied up outside their houses and whilst they have some form of a relationship with them, they are still used as guard dogs. As a volunteer here, one of the things we do is provide fresh water to them every day and give them each lots of cuddles and attention. When I arrived on the 8th, I was introduced to the three. They all have such happy and playful personalities; I immediately fell in love with them all!

Just two days after my arrival something terrible happened. I had my worries about travelling to china but this had confirmed them all.

Bug was gone.

Bug had been let off her lead to go to the toilet when she suddenly decided to run off. This puzzled her owners and the staff at CBRC as this was extremely out of her usual character and wasn’t something she had ever done before. Security at the centre had also seen what happened and said that it did not appear as though she had been spooked or anything. So why she ran… we have got no idea.
Immediately search parties went out. We spent our evenings and lunch breaks putting up posters and asking locals if they had seen her. Some shock their heads. Some laughed. Some even expressed that she was probably dead already. Seeing as there are so many stray dogs, we knew it was going to be difficult.

Now unfortunately there is no happy ending to this story, we still don’t know where she is. There are many possibilities of where she could be and everyone has their own theories.

Being such a friendly dog, could she have been taken in by another family?

Could she be on the streets somewhere near by surviving of scrapes?

I don’t know. But there’s another possibility that has me extremely worried.

The Yulin dog and cat meat festival has begun. Many of the dogs that are barbarically killed for this ‘festival’ are illegally stolen from peoples back gardens. One of my first thoughts was that surely Chengdu is too far away Yulin. Surely they won’t be picking up dogs here and taking them hundreds of miles to the slaughter houses? Right? Well actually, they probably are doing just that.

It makes me sick to think of any animal in those slaughter houses. But to actually have met a dog, especially one as loving and adorable as Bug, who could potentially be in Yulin right this second makes me feel that much worse. I didn’t think that was possible.

I may have only known her briefly but I will never forget what happened and I know I’ll be forever wondering what truly happened. Someone’s got to know somewhere.

Over the past few years, many more people in china have turned to oppose the eating of cats and dogs. It is getting a lot better. Local authorities have stopped supporting the “festival” and are taking action on illegal slaughter houses. Already this year protesters have come and campaigned against the festival and are continuing to do so. It’s not all bad. A huge increase of local people are standing up and doing something, as we all should be.

I hope you will read this and it’ll inspire you to do something no matter how small. Think of little Bug. Think about the 20,000 other beautiful animals that are compacted into tiny metal cages, stacked on top of one another right now. This may just be something that you are just reading about from the comfort of your home or wherever you may be but it’s happening, right now. Some things are certainly better off as ‘out of sight, out of mind’ but not this. In order to stop this from happening again we need remember and we must begin to educate. So come on, do something – tell your family, your friends, share on social media, sign petitions and donate if you can.

Links to petitions are below along with a picture of the beautiful Bug. Thank you all so much for the response I had had so far – please leave comments!

Megan McCubbin.



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