Editor’s Note: The following video may be difficult to view and watch… WASHINGTON — The video made by the Humane Society International is hard to watch; dogs crammed into cages are prepared for the meat market as part of an annual dog meat festival in Yulin, China. Suddenly, one black and white dog is plucked from the cage with metal tongs, and his panicked cries pierce the air.
But instead of being headed to slaughter, “Little Ricky” has a different, and much brighter future ahead. Friday afternoon, he arrived at the Washington Animal Rescue League in Northwest Washington, D.C., where he’s being evaluated and prepared for adoption.
Adam Parascandola, Director of Animal Protection and Crisis Response at HSI, says his colleague, Dr. Peter Li, first encountered “Little Ricky” in a slaughterhouse. “And in the slaughterhouse was a large pen with quite a large number of dogs,” Parascandola says adding, the little dog approached Li and kept nudging Li’s hand with his nose and Li decided right then and there he just couldn’t leave the dog behind.
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Yulin’s dog meat festival has been criticized worldwide, and Parascandola says HSI wants to spotlight the treatment of the animals in the dog meat trade. Parascandola was asked about the cultural bias that seems evident: many westerners don’t think twice about eating lamb or veal, but are horrified by the notion of consuming canines. Parascandola doesn’t dwell on the practice of eating dog meat, but on what happens before the dogs reach the market. “Whether you’re a vegan, a vegetarian or meat eater, it’s about being as humane as possible” and whether chickens, pigs, cows or dogs are involved, he says.
Parascandola adds that “in Yulin, there’s an incredible amount of brutality” in the dog meat trade, and that’s where HSI is focused. In China, however, the practice of eating dog meat isn’t universally accepted: there have been protests against the festival, as well as an increase in the number of people who keep dogs as companion animals.
For Little Ricky, named for actor and animal activist Ricky Gervais, the outlook is bright. Parascandola says the little dog with his large triangular ears, and black and white markings, is gentle and trusting.
Bob Ramin, President and CEO of the Washington Animal Rescue League, says Little Ricky’s adjusting well to his new surroundings. “He’s wagging his tail, and looks perky. He’s going to be a great dog for somebody” then Ramin pauses for a second and adds, “He is a great dog, he’s going to be a great family member for somebody.”
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