BY HEATHER DOWDY
UPSETTING CONTENT WARNING: I rarely post something like this, but I feel absolutely compelled that I must. It is up to each of us to save these innocent dogs. Looking the other way only allows their suffering to continue. (See "how to help" links at end of this post.)
Yesterday, on June 21, a horrendously sadistic, annual dog-eating festival took place in Yulin, China. Many dogs are pets that are stolen, still wearing their collars. According to Humane Society International, dogs and cats are often tortured before slaughter because of a belief that it makes their meat more tender. I know this is excruciatingly painful to look at and to read and think about, especially for someone like me who is such an empath to suffering. But as Albert Schweitzer said, "Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." For these dogs, there IS NO escape from the suffering unless WE bear witness to it and fight on their behalf to stop it.
Humane Society International is working with advocates in China (as much of the country is against it) and across the world to put an end to this cruel trade and festival, and they are making steady progress toward that goal. The key is getting the awareness out there so that more people know about this issue and so more of us can fight against it and put pressure on the powers that be to end it.
When I look into the eyes of these dogs, I can only think of my own dogs - each one's unique personality and how much joy and love they have brought me and how much they enjoy life. How sensitive and smart and affectionate they are. Every one of these dogs is my dog, your dog, all our dogs. Any one of them could be your best friend and the light of your life, and we cannot look the other way while they suffer such unconscionable trauma and torture.
I also venture to ask that, if this outrages you and breaks your heart as it does mine, please consider taking your compassion a step further - if you have not done so already - to acknowledge that these same heinous acts are done to sensitive, loving, innocent animals every day here in America as well: to cows, pigs and numerous other creatures who love, fear and suffer no differently than these dogs. They need our voices and compassionate choices just as much, along with the rest of the animal kingdom and humanity. Together, we can create a more compassionate and joyful world. We begin with knowledge, a voice, and taking action.
Thank you for your compassion and your voice.
HOW TO HELP:
Sign the HSI petition here.
Sign the HSI pledge here.
Donate to HSI to fight this here.
Learn more about the issue here.
For information, see a BBC news article here.