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Chinese activists save 1,000 dogs from slaughter
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Oct 17, 2011

Animal rights activists brought together through an online campaign have rescued nearly 1,000 dogs on their way to slaughterhouses in southwest China, state media and campaigners said Monday.

Around 200 activists stopped three trucks crammed with the dogs on Saturday after a web user calling himself "Mosquito" called for the rescue on a social media site, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The dogs were being taken to be slaughtered for meat, but were freed after two local animal protection groups bought the animals for 80,000 yuan ($12,600), the report said.

Animals Asia, a Hong Kong-based welfare organisation that cooperated with the two Chinese groups, said some of the dogs had died in the truck while others were sick or injured.

The consumption of dog and cat meat remains widespread in China despite a surge in the animals' popularity as pets.

But a growing awareness of animal rights is colliding with the centuries-old culinary tradition, and authorities have reportedly considered banning the practice.

Last month, authorities in eastern China are understood to have cancelled a dog-eating festival after online protests.

There have also been regular reports in recent years of citizens attempting to block trucks carrying hundreds or even thousands of cats to meat markets in southern China, where cat meat is particularly popular.

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