A WIGAN animal lover has started a campaign to raise awareness of the appalling cruelty and suffering in the Asian dog meat trade.
Julie Herbert wants to increase people’s knowledge of the horrific methods used to turn four-legged friends into food in countries such as Korea and China.
They are crammed into crates so tight that their bones get broken and many die of suffocation. It can be up to three days of travel by boat and truck without food, water or being able to moveJulie Herbert
She is also planning a series of fund-raising events to support animal activists working to stop the gruesome trade across the Far East, which involves animals’ being stuffed into tiny crates so cramped they cannot move for days and then subjected to torture as diners believe inflicting suffering on the animals makes the meat tastier.
Julie took up the campaign after finding out about the dog meat trade through a reference on a TV show, and says she was sickened by what she discovered when researching the issue on the internet.
The Beech Hill 43-year-old said: “Once I had found out about this I knew I couldn’t rest until I was doing something. It was something I couldn’t forget. The level of suffering and the scale of the trade in Asia is just horrendous. It’s often stray dogs who were once pets who end up in the dog meat trade because they are easier to catch.
“They are crammed into crates so tight that their bones get broken and many die of suffocation. It can be up to three days of travel by boat and truck without food, water or being able to move.
“They are then pumped full of liquids to increase their mass before being electrocuted, burned alive or boiled alive in big vats of water. There’s videos on Youtube of kids working in these places, slipping in the blood while dogs are screaming. It’s just horrendous.”
Julie is particularly keen to raise money for two charities: the Soi Dog Foundation which was founded in Thailand and now has supporters around the world, and Rescue Korean Dogs.
She is organising a series of events including a family fund-raising evening at St William’s Catholic Club in Ince and a series of car boot sales where all the proceeds from her stall will go to the charities. She has also printed leaflets setting out the horrors of the dog meat trade and has been handing them out while walking her own dogs or speaking to people about the issue.
She is keen to hear from volunteers and fellow animal lovers who could help with her events and from businesses who would like to donate prizes.
She said: “I want to encourage people not to buy dogs from breeders when there are so many stray and rescue dogs around the world which need homes. I want Soi to be as well known a charity name on people’s lips as the RSPCA. It would also be nice if other people who are interested can get on board with the fund-raising.”
Julie is hoping her campaign will move fast enough to boost activists in the Far East campaigning against the Yulin festival, a provincial Chinese event held each summer which sees thousands of dogs eaten.
Pressure is also building on the Korean government to clamp down on the grisly trade through social media petitions and the Soi Dog Foundation is working to stop organised crime gangs smuggling dogs into neighbouring countries for slaughter after successfully getting the trade banned in Thailand and re-training former employees.