Yulin, a city in southern China, celebrates the summer solstice by throwing a festival that involves the slaughter and consumption of as many as 10,000 dogs. Not everyone in China supports such practices, however; 65-year-old Yang Xiaoyun, a retired teacher who runs an animal shelter in Tianjin, traveled more than 2,400 km (1,500 miles) and spent more than 7,000 yuan ($1,100 or €990) to save 100 dogs from certain death.

Parts of China have long-standing traditions surrounding the consumption of dog meat, though this seems to be more focused in southern China. This year’s Yulin Festival, held on June 20th, has drawn extraordinary ire from the international community, using the trending #stopYulin2015 hashtag to proclaim their condemnation of the festival. Activists in China, Xiaoyun included, have also responded, accusing the festival organizers of unnecessary cruelty and torture.

Though the public conversation about this controversial tradition in China continues, it’s nice to see that there are people like Xiaoyun who are taking real action!

*UPDATE: 2016.04.11* A reader has written in painting an alternate picture of Mrs. Yang’s operation. Poor and unsanitary living conditions, along with misuse of funds, are among the claims made. Concerned readers can make up their own mind before donating by reading the blog entry here.

(h/t: TIMEBlogspotnews.163.com)

This is Yang Xiaoyun, a 65-year-old retired teacher who wants to stop dog slaughter in China

Every year, 10,000 dogs are eaten at the traditional Chinese Yulin festival

Image credits: Reuters

Many have accused the organizers of unnecessary cruelty when cooking the dogs

Image credits: AP/Humane Society International

Yang decided to travel 1,500 miles to Yulin and spent 7,000 yuan ($1,100) to rescue 100 dogs from being slaughtered

Here she sits next to a cage with poor dogs that she just bought from dog-meat dealers

She runs a shelter called ‘Common Home,’ which is home to more than 1,000 dogs

Many of the dogs require medical attention, which she provides

Her shelter depends on volunteers and donations to operate

Yang makes steamed corn bread twice a day to feed the dogs, which is all she can afford

It’s always a special treat for all of the animals when volunteers come and visit

She tries to give them treats every weekend

Attitudes towards dog and cat consumption in China are changing, but some of these traditions have deep roots

Image credits: AP/Humane Society International

Image credits: Animals Asia

UPDATE: According to this blog, you can donate to Xiaoyun here:

Direct Bank Wire Transfer to Ms. Yang’s Bank

Name: Commercial Bank of China (中国工商银行)

Bank Account City: Tianjin (开户城市-天津)

Bank Account No.: 0302845001009282956

Account Name: Ai Yun YANG (杨爱云)

Xiaoyun Yang’s Cell Phone: 13164073263

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