Inside China’s secret slaughterhouse where stolen pets are blowtorched and their remains fed to other dogs on death row | The Sun

Inside China’s secret slaughterhouse where stolen pets are blowtorched and their remains fed to other dogs on death row | The Sun

LIFELESS bodies lay strewn across the blood-and-urine-drenched floor next to a tank filled with crimson-coloured water – it was nothing short of a crime scene. 

This is one of many secret slaughterhouses where dogs were being beaten to death, blowtorched and butchered in preparation for the Yulin Dog Meat Festival.

The annual event in China, which is used to celebrate the summer solstice, is responsible for the deaths of up to 10,000 canines every year.

But the barbarism witnessed by animal rights activists in 2022, far surpasses anything of the horrors they have seen previously.

“Those b******s aren’t human,” Mr Zhao, who’s spent seven years with British charity NoToDogMeat, told The Sun.

More than 200 terrified dogs were found in four cramped cages and another four had even more at the slaughterhouse in Baoji, Shaanxi Province.


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Not far from the bloodbath, was a blacked-out backroom where trays of body parts decomposed and flies and maggots descended. 

Upon entering the dimly lit section, one police officer fainted due to the heat, stench and stomach-turning scenes before his eyes. 

Most chillingly, activists saw a pile of “oozing and bloody intestines” from large canines that were being used to feed the animals waiting in terror on doggy death row.

“We have never seen massive rooms filled with rotting flesh nor the horrified looks on the faces of police before,” Julia De Cadenet, NoToDogMeat founder, told The Sun.

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“There was blood and urine everywhere and carcases of around 40 dogs on the ground – some had been gutted, others were being skinned and blowtorched.

“The massive vat of water was full of blood from where workers were removed fur and then the dead dogs were thrown on top of each other, some with maggots.”

NoToDogMeat estimates that 400 canines could have been killed every day there before being driven 1,200 miles to markets in Yulin and sold for around £29 each.

In China alone, between 10 and 15 million dogs are eaten annually and some reports claim up to 50,000 a day.

In 2020, the commercial slaughter and sale of dog meat was banned in China following the spread of coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of 546 million people worldwide.

Yet NoToDogMeat activists claim police rarely act – despite bylaws strengthening the legislation and Beijing's “promising” to open an animal welfare office.

“Nothing has materialised,” Julia explained. “Dogs were placed on the ‘white list’ – meaning they are not considered livestock – but the slaughter continues because there is a demand.”

Pet snatchers & pregnant pooch killings

Activists found a number of motorbikes with small wire cages strapped to the sides, which they claim is typical for “dog dealer thieves”.

It isn’t the first time NoToDogMeat have found that people’s pets were being kidnapped and sold into the meat trade.

“Our investigations which are ongoing show the growing number of villages that continue to steal and hoard dogs for sale,” Julie said.

Last month, they were able to rescue 386 dogs from a truck headed to a slaughterhouse and many of them had collars, leads and identity tags. 

“Many of the dogs knew ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ and they still trusted humans,” Mr Zhao said.

The number of rescued dogs increased by three when a pregnant mum gave birth in her cage – all of whom would have been born and killed for meat at the festival.

Their exhausted mum lay day as her newborns tried to suckle after being taken to a safe refuge on the outskirts of Xi’An.

Mr Zhao was “filled with joy” to know they saved even more innocent lives but knows, there are countless others they will have not been able to reach in time. 

Blowtorched on the roadside

One such haunting event was captured on camera by another activist group that showed a lorry containing 2,000 dogs tightly packed into cages, in Yulin. 

The clip shows the dogs being led out one by one before being killed and then dragged along the floor onto a metal sheet where their fur was burned off.

It’s likely the future victims could see and smell the singed flesh of their canine companions, who were just metres away, as they waited for their own demise. 

Julie believes many of the dogs inside the recently raided Baoji backstreet butchery knew what was going on and their heartwrenching howls could be heard in video footage. 

She said: “It’s boiling hot in the slaughterhouse and the smell is overpowering, Mr Zhou described it as a miserable place similar to a crime scene. 

“Then there are all of the dogs’ little eyes – some silent, some fearful, some confused – and others wag their tails not knowing what to do.”

'Dog meat demand has not diminished'

Now NoToDogMeat and their partners will try to reunite pets with their owners and take care of the strays.

But closing the slaughterhouse was no easy feat – with Julia claiming many activists were “injured” after butchers and dog dealers “became very aggressive” after being exposed.

They say police sealed off the scene to “stop the rotting flesh, guts and other body parts” from posing danger to public health.

Yesterday, a magistrate ruled to close the slaughterhouse, which was compared to “a hell hole”, until further notice.

Julia said: “It’s a massive victory, now the dogs will be quarantined for 21 days and we hope police will allow welfare organisations to help”.” 

The trade is a highly-profitable industry to a strong network of greedy restauranteurs, meat deals and butchers

But this is just one of many battles – as the charity estimates 3,000 dogs were killed prior to Yulin Dog Meat Festival, which runs from June 21 until June 30 each year.

It serves as a reminder of what more must be done for NoToDogMeat volunteers, some of whom protested in London’s Chinatown and Trafalgar Square yesterday. 

Julia said: “The demand for dog meat has not diminished. The trade is a highly-profitable industry with a strong network of greedy restauranteurs, meat dealers and butchers.

“They are only out to make easy money and have convinced some members of the public that eating dog meat is healthy and fashionable.

“I have taken part in many truck rescue and slaughterhouse raids – the first time I went to Yulin was in 2011. 

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“It’s dangerous and traumatic. I have seen many grown men cry silent tears and to this day the smell and noise of these places stay with me.

“The findings from Baoji have even shocked me, I didn’t expect to see the guts of dogs being fed to other dogs. This has got to end.”

For more information about the dog meat trade visit: or to donate visit here.

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