Chinese Animal Activist Attempts To Save Pooches From Yulin Dog Meat Festival
The animal lover rescued 360 dogs and dozens of cats at last year's festival
A brave woman is trying to sabotage a gruesome dog meat festival in China by rescuing as many dogs as she can to save them from the dinner plate.
Yang Xiaoyun, 65, is going to purchase dogs ready for slaughter direct from traders at the festival and take them to a safe house.
Ms Yang has saved up 50,000 Yuan (£5,000), and travelled 1,652 miles from her home town Tianjin to Yulin to save the condemned animals, according to the People's Daily Online.
Since 2010, every year as many as 10,000 dogs are taken to Yulin in Guangxi province ahead of the annual meat festival due to star on June 21.
Many animals die from shock, starvation and dehydration on the journey. The traumatised ones who do survive are beaten to death or their throats slit in street markets and illegal slaughterhouses, animal rights campaigners say.
And, there are fears that the mass transportation of the animals will present an increased risk of rabies.
For, Guangxi province, where the festival is based has the highest levels of rabies in China and Yulin, with 338 deaths from the disease between 2002-2006 alone.As many as 20 million dogs are killed in China each year and eaten as the meat is believed to help protect from evil ghosts and disease. Some men believe it will help boost their sexual performance.
Ms Yang last year spent 150,000 Yuan (£15,178) saving 360 dogs and dozens of cats from the festival.
A university graduate, she started campaigning to save dogs in 1995 after the sudden death of her husband.
She loved the first stray dog she found and took home and has since adopted nearly 3,000 dogs.
As well as saving dogs from dining tables, Ms Yang is also planning to launch a series of animal-loving campaigns in Yulin, where eating dogs is tradition.
'I hope to start a dog breed centre as well as a vegetarian restaurant in Yulin. I hope the locals can gradually accept our culture through them and to learn to love dogs,' she said.
Thousands of pets are slaughtered every years at the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, which local authorities said was shut down last year.
Despite it being officially banned, the meat festival is due to go ahead this year as planned.
It's the long-held belief of Yulin residents that dogs should guard their houses when they are alive and eaten when they die, according to The Beijing News.
Although, it is still legal to eat dogs in China the festival has faced backlash from the public, who have nicknamed it a 'festival of cruelty'.
A number of celebrities, including Ricky Gervais, Ian Somerhalder and Leona Lewis, have criticised the event in a bid to get it banned - and some Chinese celebrities have boycotted it.
By Tracy You and Poppy Danby For Mailonline