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RAGOM Rescues Golden Retrievers from China’s Meat Trade

Rescues Dogs from China’s Meat Trade
Friday, March 8, 2019

The only hope for these dogs is finding homes in other countries like the United States

An estimated 10 million dogs are killed and consumed each year in China. The majority of dogs who end up at slaughterhouses are stolen pets and retired breeding dogs. Dogs are rarely leashed in China and are easily snatched from their owners and forced into a waiting car. Golden Retrievers are one of the meat trade's most popular dog breeds.

Volunteers in China are working hard to save these dogs from a terrifying fate. They approach butcher shop owners when they see a dog tied up behind the premises and plead for the dog's release. Other rescuers watch for large trucks filled with stolen dogs en route to the slaughterhouses and do their best to stop them. But the volume is overwhelming.

In late February, a RAGOM volunteer traveled to Beijing to answer a plea for help. In China, rescuers are inundated with Golden Retrievers who have been saved from these restaurants, meat trucks, and slaughterhouses. Nicole was there to make connections with local rescuers and to bring dogs back to Minnesota.

"There was a mama who I could see had recently had puppies. She had such sadness in her eyes. She would sit politely to greet you. It was as if she was hoping if she sat pretty enough she'd be picked."
"There was a mama who I could see had recently had puppies. She had such sadness in her eyes. She would sit politely to greet you. It was as if she was hoping if she sat pretty enough she'd be picked."

Once rescued, dogs are housed by kindly volunteers in China. However, the facilities are full beyond capacity, sometimes housing as many as 500 – 1,000 dogs. Adoption of larger breeds, which are still banned in many areas of China, is not likely. 

Dogs waiting to be transported to a safe place after their rescue.
Dogs waiting to be transported to a safe place after their rescue.

The dogs' only hope is to find homes in other countries. Dog rescue organizations around the world are answering the call to get these dogs out of China and into adoptive homes. RAGOM has joined this effort.

Volunteer Nicole visited one of the safe havens for these dogs. They have clean water and food, but they are generally filthy and matted. Many have scratches and wounds from scuffles with other dogs. Because there are so many dogs, they receive very little human interaction. "You can tell that many had been family dogs who were loved. They just die for human attention."

Nicole's trip was a success, and in early March, five dogs rescued from China’s meat trade arrived in our care. Lottie, Liberty, Glory, Hope, and Spirit are now in the hands of loving foster families. When they are comfortable with their new lives here in the United States, they will be available for adoption.

RAGOM wants to rescue more dogs from the Chinese meat trade—dogs like the mama above are counting on us. We are planning additional rescue efforts, but the logistics are complex.  

We are looking for flight volunteers to help with this effort. If you plan to travel to China this year and are willing to bring dogs back with you, please email patty [dot] larsonatragom [dot] org.

RAGOM will schedule the dogs' travel and arrange for Chinese rescuers to bring the dogs to the airport. As a flight volunteer, you will meet the dogs at the airport and bring them back as part of your luggage. As with our dogs from Turkey, these dogs will travel securely and safely in a special cargo area.

RAGOM welcomes Golden Retrievers and Golden mixes within the Upper Midwest. But we are also able to help other dogs in imminent peril. For these dogs in China, international rescue is their only hope. 

Pure joy: Nicole, Lottie, and Liberty.
Pure joy: Nicole, Lottie, and Liberty.