Within the belly of a Beijing workshop, police recently discovered 34 dogs huddled in cages awaiting their fate as a part of China’s underground dog meat trade. Just days before the bust, many of these dogs were living alongside their human companions as beloved family pets.

News about missing family pets that we later found not to be runaways, but instead captives of gang members, is tragically common within the country. Several gang members in this recent bust have been arrested admitting that they used hooks and nets in order to quickly abduct dogs from area neighborhoods.

Upon arriving at the gang’s makeshift kennel, the dogs were sorted into “luxury” and “ordinary” breeds. Often, dogs deemed as more valuable are sold at higher prices to factories that perform processing of their meat and fur, while more common breeds are killed within the confines of the kennel and sold to food vendors and restaurants.

As with past crackdowns on sites holding dogs for sorting, processing, and killing, many of the canines still possessed identification collars and microchips indicating the homes they were stolen from. Dogs rescued by police forces were sent to a local shelter where local animal welfare groups cared for the animals and worked to reunite them with their families.

An Xiang, a lawyer familiar with the dog meat trade, assures that every link in the illegal meat trade chain breaks Chinese law – from food safety to social stability.

Despite the efforts of activists, the dog meat trade continues to endanger the lives of both dogs and cats, as well as both pets and China’s stray animal population. Please consider signing a petition via Lady Freethinker that urges an immediate end to dog and cat meat trade across the globe.