An animal rights activist intercepted the truck transporting them. China Post
reports the activist used his Chinese micro-blog to alert other animal-rights activists.
According to AFP
, the activist swerved his car in front of the truck forcing it to stop.
Several other people picked up the message and the police were alerted. The dogs, according to China Post
, were being transported from the central Chinese province of Henan to restaurants in Jilin province in the northeast.
reports the truck, carrying 505 dogs squeezed into 156 small cages, was stopped on Yunnan Province's highway from Fumin to Kunming. The police took the truck to a nearby police station. China Post
reports about 200 animal lovers and activists mobilized at the police station around the truck in eastern Beijing and after a standoff that lasted 15 hours, the dogs were set free after an animal protection group purchased them for 115,000 yuan (US$17,600).
Unfortunately, some of the dogs had died before they could be rescued.
According to Daily Mail
, an activist said: "They were cramped together. A cage could be stuffed with seven to eight. Our hearts were broken in seeing that."
Volunteers offloaded the dogs from the truck and took care of them over night.
An investigation by officials of the Animal Inspection Department found that the transportation was legal. The owner had a license, therefore, the police were unable to act though they suspected the dogs were being transported to dog meat restaurants for slaughter.
, however, reports that activists said many of the dogs still had collars with bells and name tags, suggesting that the dogs had been stolen from their owners.
According to Daily Mail
, an activist said: "We can't stop them from eating dogs, as we don't have an animal welfare law. We just hope the government could stop dog mongers from doing dog business."
An animal protection group finally intervened and offered to purchase the dogs. Daily Mail
reports the dog rescue group paid 60,000 yuan for the dogs, but China Post
reports 115,000 yuan was paid.
According to China Post
, the interception of the dogs was yet another of similar incidents in the past. China Post
also reports than in recent years animal rights activists have attempted to stop trucks carrying "hundreds or even thousands of cats" to meat markets in southern China, where cat meat is popular.
Consumption of dog and cat meat is believed to help keep the body warm in winter cold and in spite of increasing popularity of pets, the practice of eating dogs and cats remains widespread in China. Reports say, however, that authorities are looking into drafting a law to stop the practice.