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Hundreds of dogs are now recovering and being cared for in China after they were saved from being served up as food. Last Friday animal activists joined forces to stop a truck carrying the animals. It's a rare success story for social activism and animal welfare in the country.
A group of animal activists and dog lovers in China have rescued hundreds of dogs headed for the dining table. Last Friday, about 200 people blocked a truck on a high way near Beijing. The truck carried 430 dogs bound for the northeastern province of Jilin where they were to be slaughtered and sold as meat.
After a 15-hour standoff, the truck driver agreed to hand over the dogs in return for $17,000 U.S. dollars. Animal activist Wang Qin says they had to pay for the dogs to save them.
[Wang Qin, China Small Animal Protection Association Activist]:
"In the end, the police announced through a loudspeaker that what we were doing was against the law. That what they were doing with the dogs was legal and that if we were to keep holding them up they would have to take necessary measures against us. So we had to negotiate with them, since they were not breaking the law but we were, and in the end we had to buy the dogs to save them. It was the only way."
Dog meat is a popular dish in China, and like most other animals in the country, there are no laws protecting them. Activists say the dogs were crammed into cages on the truck. Some appeared to be stolen because they still had collars on them.
Many of the dogs were dehydrated and injured. They were taken to animal hospitals and clinics nearby for treatment.
This highlights a growing sense of animal rights in China in recent years. It's also a rare success for social activism in China, where authorities are usually eager to clamp down on any form of organized activities.