By Tom Gardner
PUBLISHED: 12:33 EST, 21 April 2012 | UPDATED: 12:43 EST, 21 April 2012
Crammed into tiny cages and enduring appalling conditions, these dogs had been destined for restaurant tables in China.
But they were saved from that fate after activists intercepted the truck carrying them.
Many of the 505 creatures had barely survived their terrible ordeal, having endured cramped conditions and a lack of water during their near 1,000 mile journey by road.
But rescue came too late for 11 dogs which had succumbed to dehydration and exposure.
The driver, who was questioned by police, said he had been employed to take the animals from Mianning county, Xichang city in the southwest of Sichuan province,to restaurants in Yulin city in south China’s Guangxi province.
Volunteers provided the dogs with water and food which they had been deprived of because of the narrow space in the truck.
The trade and transportation of animals in China has come in for criticism by campaigners in the West.
Some of the huge markets which sell dogs and cats to restaurants for slaughter and human consumption, came under international spot light several years ago after being the suspected origin of the deadly SARS virus.
It is not uncommon for dogs, as well as other animals, to be crammed so tightly together into tiny metal cages they cannot even bark – an environment ripe for the spread of disease.
In one of the large markets, on a 60 acre site in Guangzhou, China, cages of dogs and cats – some of them bred as domestic pets – are piled high and when an animal is chosen for sale it is bludgeoned with an iron bar until it is close to death before, being handed over to the purchaser.
11 COUNTRIES WHICH STILL EAT DOG MEAT
Eleven countries around the globe still eat dog meat. They are: China, Indonesia, Korea, Mexico, Philippines, Polynesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Arctic and Antarctic and two cantons in Switzerland.
China: Although the Chinese were the first to domesticate the dog and keep them as pets, dog meat has been a source of food from at least the time of Confucius, and possibly even before.
Indonesia: Eating dog meat is usually associated with people from the Batak Toba culture, who cook a traditional dish named saksang that is like a dog-meat stew.
Mexico: Dogs were historically bred for their meat by the Aztecs. These dogs were called itzcuintlis, and were often pictured on pre-Columbian Mexican pottery.
Philippines: In the capital city of Manila,the law specifically prohibits the killing and selling of dogs for food except in certain circumstances including research and animal population control.
Polynesia: Dogs were historically eaten in Tahiti and other islands of Polynesia at the time of first European contact in 1769.
Taiwan: Dog meat in Taiwan is particularly eaten in the winter months, especially black dogs, which are believed to help retain body warmth.
Korea: Gaegogi literally means ‘dog meat’ in Korean. Gaegogi, however, is often mistaken as the term for Korean soup made from dog meat, bosintang. The distaste felt by dog lovers, particularly from the West, has made this dish very controversial.
Switzerland: According to a Swiss newspaper report in 1996, the Swiss rural cantons of Appenzell and St. Gallen are known to have had a tradition of eating dogs, curing dog meat into jerky and sausages, as well as using the lard for medicinal purposes.
Vietnam: Dog meat is eaten throughout Vietnam. To many Northerners, it is a popular, if relatively expensive, dinnertime restaurant meal.
Arctic and Antarctic: Dogs have historically been an emergency food source for various peoples in Siberia, Alaska, northern Canada, and Greenland. Sled dogs are usually maintained for pulling sleds, but occasionally are eaten when no other food is available.