The non-profit China Rescue Dogs has worked for years saving and rehabilitating dogs from Chinese meat markets. The dogs are relocated to families in the U.S. and Canada. Jill Stewart is the president and founder of the organization, which attempts to rescue every possible dog – regardless of age or breed.
“Working with trusted rescues and shelters in China, our mission is to remove the dogs from imminent harm, treat the physical and psychological injuries from severe abuse and neglect, and socialize the dogs so that they can be integrated into loving family environments,” said Stewart.
“We also shine a light on the dog meat trade in China and other countries and, thereby, encourage others to advocate for the end of the dog meat trade and speak up for those who have no voice.”
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the dynamics of this system. A recent ban from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has effectively banned importation of dogs from China to the US. Now, all of the dogs bound for the US have been rerouted to Canada instead. The effect has delayed the imports of tens of thousands of dogs.
“Since the import ban, our rescue is among many others that have had to find a new normal,” said Stewart. “Our choices were limited and grim, but China Rescue Dogs has remained committed to saving dogs from China regardless of how we got it done. While rerouting dogs to Canada is the logical choice, costs have been exuberant,”
Besides CDC restrictions, the cost of cargo airplanes has skyrocketed to triple their previous rates. All of this increases costs for China Rescue Dogs and forces the organization to make hard decisions.
“Our shelters in China are reaching their maximum capacity, which means we will not be able to move the dogs out of China which will lead to the brutal slaughter of helpless dogs,” said Stewart. “Moreover, with the Yulin Dog Meat Festival beginning June 21st and CDC ban still in place, tens of thousands of dogs will be slaughtered. Thinking about this is gut-wrenching.”
Luckily, Canada has opened its borders to China Dog Rescue and other such organizations while the CDC ban has halted import into the US. For now, Canada has provided some hope for dogs that were once destined to be slaughtered for food.