Archives for category: Companion Animals

The Yulin Dog Meat Festival, which takes place in Yulin, China every summer solstice, consists of the torture and slaughter of countless animals for the purpose of consumption.  It is believed that the more the animal suffers, the tastier the meat.


Dogs grabbed off the streets, often stolen from pet owners, and others raised specifically for this dark industry, are spared no mercy.  In fact, witnesses have attested to observing the tormentors exhibit enjoyment while meting out the torture.  During this display, perpetrated in public, children are not protected from being exposed to the horrors.


Animals destined for slaughter are crammed so tightly into cages, that many have their legs purposely broken in order to fit them all in.  They are denied food, water, vet care; and are forced to suffer through extremely harsh conditions both while held captive and when transported to their destination in cages stacked so high on the trucks, that they suffer crushed bones when crates are roughly tossed onto the ground as the workers don’t bother to exercise care or compassion when unloading.


Among the torture witnessed, animals have been crucified with nail guns and disemboweled while still alive and shrieking in agony.  Those who do not die quickly are left to slowly perish, suffering every minute of their last moments on earth.


Others are hung by ropes or meat hooks through the jaw and burned (blow torched), beaten, or butchered.  Many are boiled alive in vats of water, meant to loosen the fur.  Workers then scrape off the fur with a knife.  Commercial slaughterhouses use agitator machines filled with boiling water to spin and rip off the fur, often while the animal is still conscious.


While this practice is deemed as “tradition” or “culture” by those who support it, the global community has responded with outrage.  Chinese government officials seem to be distancing themselves while the rest of the world is denouncing this festival and demanding that the dog and cat meat trade in participating Asian countries be banned.


Farmers who derive their livelihood from the sale of dogs and cats destined for consumption are often willing to end their enterprise once they are assisted in replacing this cruelty with another form of income that does not involve harming animals.


Organizations such as Humane Society International and Soi Dog Foundation, are among many groups that are working to rescue animals, provide education to societies and businesses, and compel the Chinese government to take action.


A Los Angeles businessman, Marc Ching, has been actively traveling overseas to conduct his own mission of documenting the horrors, sharing his footage with the world, and rescuing animals.  He has additionally helped tear down one slaughterhouse with a promise to the owner that he will help him establish a noodle restaurant.  Marc’s testimony can be viewed here:


While we are horrified by the brutality, we are reminded that in the U.S. and other countries, we consume cows, pigs, and chickens in much the same manner.  They are raised in inhumane conditions, tortured and mutilated, and sent to a horrifying slaughter where many die piece by piece as they are being butchered alive.  Choosing a plant-based diet is not only humane, but healthier for humans, the planet; and certainly in the better interests of animal welfare.

Annoula WylderichYulin-Dog-Paws-Tied


I volunteer at a local animal shelter on weekends, working with the Behavior Modification team to concentrate our efforts on those animals who seem to have problems, so that they may have a better chance at getting adopted.

Each time, I am greeted by hundreds of pairs of eyes that express confusion, fear, sadness and hope.  It breaks my heart every time because I know that:

1.  Many of these animals were someone’s “family” once and have been given up, because it wasn’t convenient or possible to keep them.    They went from a home to a kennel atmosphere overnight and don’t understand why they were abandoned.   Some have been confiscated due to cruelty issues and might not have ever known a loving owner.

2.  For a good many of these creatures, this could very well be their last stop.

Instead of going further with my own observations, I prefer to reprint a letter from a California shelter director who posted this on Craigslist (anonymously) with a request that it be shared.  I think this letter far better describes the life of a shelter animal than anything I could write. While not all shelter operations may follow identical protocols, the bottom line is that animals do share similar experiences and emotions; and they do get euthanized, all too often, due to the overpopulation problem. Retail sales and breeding contribute to this, as well as a reluctance to spay and neuter pets.

For those who decide to turn in their pet to a shelter and think their animal will be “fine,” guess again. There is no guarantee.

Letter From a Shelter Director (California)

You can’t keep your pet? Really?

~By a Shelter Director

Our society needs a huge “Wake-up” call.
As a shelter manager, I am going to share
a little insight with you all…
a “view from the inside” – if you will.

First off, any of you whom have surrendered a pet
to a shelter or humane society should be made to work
in the “back” of an animal shelter – for just ONE DAY.

Maybe if you saw the life drain from those sad,
lost, confused eyes, you’d stop flagging the ads on here
and help these animals find homes.

That puppy you just dropped off will most-likely end up
in my shelter when it’s no longer a cute little puppy anymore.

Just so you know, there’s a 90% chance that your dog will never
walk out back out, once entered in to the shelter system…
Purebred or not!

About 25% of all of the dogs that are “owner surrenders” or “strays”
that come into a shelter are purebred dogs.

The most common excuses: “We’re moving and can’t take our dog (or cat).”
Really? Where are you moving to that doesn’t allow pets?
Or they say “The dog got bigger than we thought it would”.
How big did you think a German Shepherd would get?
“We don’t have time for her”.
Really? I work a 10-12 hour day and still have time for my 6 dogs!
“She’s tearing up our yard”.
How about making her a part of your family?
“We just don’t want to have to stress about finding
a place for her & we know she’ll get adopted,
she’s a good dog”.

Odds are, your pet won’t get adopted
& how stressful do you think it is for your pet?

Did you know…
Your pet has 72 hours to find a new family
from the moment you drop it off?
Sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn’t full
and your dog/cat manages to stay completely healthy.

If it sniffles, it is euthanized.

Your pet will be confined to a small run/kennel in a room
with other barking & crying animals.
It will have to relieve itself where it eats and sleeps.
It will be depressed and will cry constantly for you.
If your pet is lucky, there will be enough volunteers in that day
to take him/her for a walk.
If not, your pet won’t get any attention besides having a bowl of food
slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of it’s pen
with a high-powered hose.
If your dog is big, black or any of the “Bully” breeds
(pit bull, rottie, mastiff, etc) it was pretty much dead when
you walked it through the front door.
If your cat is scared and doesn’t act friendly enough,
or if it catches a cold (which most of them ‘do’),
it will be put to sleep.
Those dogs & cats just don’t get adopted.
In most cases, it doesn’t matter how ‘sweet’ or ‘well behaved’ they are.
If your pet doesn’t get adopted within it’s 72 hours
and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed.
If the shelter isn’t full and your pet is good enough,
and of a desirable enough breed it may get a stay of execution,
but not for long.

Most dogs get very kennel protective after about a week and are
destroyed for showing aggression.
Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this environment.

If your pet makes it over all of those hurdles chances are it
will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be
destroyed because the shelter gets paid a fee to euthanize each animal and
making money is better than spending money to take this animal to the vet.

Here’s a little euthanasia 101 for those of you that have never witnessed a 
perfectly healthy, scared animal being “put-down”.

First, your pet will be taken from its kennel on a leash.
They always look like they think they are going for a walk…
happy, wagging their tails…
until they get to “The Room”,
every one of them freaks out and puts on the brakes when they get to the door.
It must smell like death or they can feel the sad souls that are left in there.
It’s strange, but it happens with every one of them.
Your dog or cat will be restrained, held down by 1 or 2 shelter workers,
depending on the size and how freaked out they are.
Then a shelter worker who we call a “euthanasia tech (not a vet)”
finds a vein in the front leg and injects a lethal dose of the “pink stuff”.

Hopefully your pet doesn’t panic from being restrained and jerks.
I’ve seen the needles tear out of a leg and been covered with the resulting blood…
the yelps and screams are deafening.

They all don’t just “go to sleep”, sometimes they spasm for a while,
gasp for air and defecate on themselves.

You see, shelters are trying to make money to pay employee pay checks
and then, there’s the board of directors…
who need to be paid too!

Consequently, corners are cut, & we don’t spend our funds to
tranquilize the animal before injecting them with the lethal drug,
we just put the burning lethal drug in their vein and let them suffer until dead.

If it were not a business for profit, we’d do it humanely and hire a
licensed vet do this procedure.
That way, the animal would be sedated or tranquilized and THEN euthanized.

But to do this procedure correctly would only cost more money…
so we don’t necessarily do what is right for the animal,
we do what’s expedient so we can continue to make a buck!

Shelters do not have to have a vet perform their euthanasia procedures.
Oftentimes, they are untrained personnel administering lethal injections.
So… that employee may take 50 pokes with a needle and 3 hours to get inside the vein.

In the end, your pet’s corpse will be stacked like firewood in a large freezer,
usually in the back of the building with all of the other animals that were killed.
There they will sit until being picked up like garbage.

What happens next? Cremated?
Taken to the dump?
Rendered into pet food?
Or used for schools to dissect and experiment on?

You’ll never know and it probably won’t even cross your mind.

After all, it was just an animal and you can always buy another one, right?!

I hope that those of you who still have a beating heart and have read this
are bawling your eyes out and can’t get the pictures out of your head.
I deal with this everyday.
I hate my job, I hate that it exists &
I hate that it will always be there unless you people make changes
and start educating yourselves, your children, the public.
Do the research, do your homework, and know exactly
what you are getting into before getting a pet.
These shelters and humane societies exist because people just do not care about animals anymore.

Animals were not intended to be disposable but somehow that is what they’ve become.

For those of you who care, please repost this to at least one other Craigslist in another City/State. 
Let’s see if we can get this all around the US and have an impact.

The above letter sums up the reality for countless animals who are relinquished to a shelter, confiscated in animal cruelty cases, or are picked up by Animal Control as strays.  Everyone has the opportunity to help curtail this tragedy by adopting from a shelter or rescue group, spaying and neutering their animals, and encouraging others to not patronize retail or breeding establishments.   We shouldn’t be part of the problem, when we can be part of the solution.

– Annoula Wylderich 

Waiting on Death Row




Not long ago, I learned about a horrific practice in Asian countries involving millions of dogs and cats who are tortured or bludgeoned to death each year for food.  Although some countries have laws protecting dogs and cats from abuse, governments blatantly disregard those laws and continue to allow the mistreatment, torture and murder of innocent beings.  In spite of a 1991 law in S. Korea, which prohibits consumption of dogs and cats, there still exists a flourishing industry within the markets.

Illegal dog farms are hidden away in country sides where breeders raise stock for butchers.  Dogs are kept in unimaginably squalid conditions and intensely confined in filthy cages where they cannot move.  Their cages are stacked atop one another as they sit in piles of feces, uncared for, going without food, water, medical care. . .or love.  Many of these animals were a family pet at one time (an estimated 30% were stolen from families who love them); others are homeless victims.  When the animals are ready to be shipped to the markets, their cages are stacked onto trucks; upon arrival at their destination, workers crudely drop the cages onto the ground, oftentimes crushing and breaking the fragile bones of those animals at the bottom.

The animals are purposefully tortured to death as it is believed that the more the dog suffers, the more male virility will increase when the meat is eaten.  Before dogs are killed for meat, they are often strung up by their legs and beaten.  Eyewitnesses have reported seeing dogs being literally torn apart while still alive, screaming in pain, as they are forced to endure a prolonged death.  Others are tied to fences, rendering them helpless, as they are being beaten mercilessly.

Cats fare no better, as they are considered pests.  They are often placed into sacks and beaten against the ground.  Sometimes, they are thrown into large pots of boiling water while still alive and cooked until liquefied.

Getting lost in one of S. Korea’s large downtown markets, one might see the head of a dog with its legs stuffed in its mouth, skinned limbs, carcasses browned by a torch, chopped up meat; and crates containing frightened and injured animals everywhere.  There is a law that dictates dogs must not be butchered in sight of another dog.  However, most dog markets ignore this law and torture, kill and butcher dogs in plain sight of one another, instigating even more fear for those awaiting their turn.

Currently, an estimated 6,500 stores deal in this horrific trade, despite that most Koreans don’t eat dog meat.  Koreans have only eaten dogs when poverty was widespread during World War II.  Even then, dogs were considered companion animals and treated well.  Unfortunately, greedy, unscrupulous traders have been propagating the myth that canine consumption increases sexual prowess in males and cat juice cures rheumatism.  This industry has organized itself and bribes government officials and police to look the other way.  They have persuaded newspapers to extol the “virtues” of dog meat and have hired thugs to intimidate animal welfare advocates who are campaigning to end this brutal illegal activity.

One animal welfare group, In Defense of Animals, has been working diligently on this issue to draw international attention to the plight of helpless dogs and cats in S. Korea. They hold an annual campaign, with dozens of cities around the world hosting outreach events and educating their communities about this important issue.  Outside Korean embassies and consulates around the world, compassionate activists pass out leaflets and display signs, drawing the world’s attention to the dogs of Korea.

IDA’s S. Korean partners, Coexistence for Animal Rights on Earth (CARE) have had their activists pay a visit to a facility that was brought to their attention.  After viewing the conditions, the activists felt they could not leave the innocent animals behind and rescued them at the risk of arrest and possible personal injury.  CARE filed a civil complaint against the facility and the owner agreed to demolish the buildings.  With IDA’s support, CARE planned to bring criminal charges against dog butchers for violating Korea’s animal cruelty laws and is acquiring video footage to help further expose the animal cruelty and encourage punishment of wrongdoers.  This would hopefully be a strong deterrent for other dog meat markets.

If you have been appalled and horrified enough to feel compelled to act, please contact In Defense of Animals and help support their efforts in this campaign. There are many things you can do including spreading the word, handing out literature, signing petitions, contacting embassies and consulates, or providing financial support to IDA.

Imagine how you feel about your own beloved dog or cat; and remember that those innocent creatures who are suffering through fear, miserable conditions, torture and agonizing deaths might have been someone else’s family member at one time.  No living being deserves such deplorable and inhumane treatment.

– Annoula Wylderich