Hundreds of dogs are crammed into filthy warehouses in China as meat traders wait to send the animals to the annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival in June.
Animal activists said volunteers have saved many dogs but many other helpless pooches are waiting to endure a long journey before being cruelly slaughtered around the summer solstice.
They also accuse Dazhou officials of working together with meat traders by giving the rescued dogs back to them.
Stolen pets and a large number of stray dogs are being stored in different cities in Sichuan Province as the barbaric festival draws near, according to Du Yufeng, the founder of Bo Ai Animal Protection Center.
Ms. Du told Mail Online that the province has become the popular stopping point for meat traders to distribute, keep and sell captured animals illegally.
Many of the canines are said to be stolen pets as they had collars. Ms. Du and her team managed to save 300 dogs from three warehouses in Dazhou, which is 839 miles (1,350km) away from Yulin.
From there, the dogs would need to endure a 15-hour drive to Yulin, squeezed and chained in filthy cages, before being cruelly slaughtered.
Photos provided by Ms. Du showed hundreds of pooches crammed into a dark warehouse. The animals can be seen standing up and looking at her as she rescued some of them last month.
More than 140 dogs have been ‘hidden’ by the government while over 235 dogs remain in ‘observation’ in another district.
“In a place where the killing, stocking and selling of dogs is ubiquitous, those dogs that were rescued from traders and then given to farming families are more than likely to fall into the hands of dog traders again,” Ms. Du expressed. “The local authorities protect dog traders.”
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