SHERMAN OAKS—Eighteen dogs that were rescued from the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China arrived in Los Angeles last week. The dogs were rescued by the Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation, founded by March Ching, and are up for adoption.

The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is a summer solstice celebration featuring the consumption of dog meat, where torturing the dogs before slaughter is a key element of the festival.

Canyon News spoke with Valarie Ianniello, Executive Director of the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, to learn more about the market. “The more they’re afraid, the more adrenaline they have pumping through their body, and that makes the meat taste better,” Ianniello said.

Animal Hope & Wellness managed to stop four delivery trucks filled with dogs headed for slaughter in Yulin. They brought the dogs to their shelter in Shangsha, China, where they received medical care.

“The dogs are sick when they come. We lost about 200 out of the 800 dogs rescued. Some of the dogs that we pulled out of the cages were already dead,” said Ianniello.

The pictures of the dog trade are disturbing — stolen pets with their leashes still on and strays stuffed into crates like sardines, joints and limbs twisted and broken to fit as stackable cargo, toy breeds being boiled alive. Videos captured at slaughterhouses depicted the sounds of dogs being tortured and nailed to walls.

Apollo, one of the rescued Yulin Dogs, was in bad shape and had tumors all over his leg and groin.


This picture of Apollo was taken recently. After receiving medical attention, surgery, and rehabilitation, he is healthy and in LA.

There are sizeable dog meat markets in China, South Korea, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The largest market by far is China, where people have been eating dogs for hundreds of years and its consumption is considered a cultural tradition.

“China has 1.5 billion people, so they have a large number of dogs being slaughtered. They also export to South Korea,” Ianniello said.

Chinese and Korean traditions say that if you eat dog meat in the summer, it will cool your skin. There is also another Chinese legend that notes the meat will warm the body during winter. One of the newest applications of dog meat being marketed to women in South Korea says that eating dog meat will give you nicer skin.

The reasons for eating dog meat seem to come from the traders themselves, Ianniello commented to Canyon News. It should come as no surprise that the Yulin Dog Meat Festival was created by dog meat traders to boost sales.

On his next trip, Marc Ching and the Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation aim to help the owner of a slaughter house convert his business into a noodle house. Ianniello says their approach is more about effecting positive change than pointing the finger of blame: “How do we help them as opposed to boycotting and name calling?”

The foundation is working at home, pushing for action in Congress with HR1406, which would outlaw the consumption of dogs and cats in order to prevent a similar trade in America.

Those looking to adopt can visit the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation website at