On my first day investigating the dog meat industry in China, we visited the Guangzhou Jinrong Livestock Wholesale Market, where animals, who would later end up as meat on someone’s plate, were being sold to the highest bidder.
I observed sections of dogs, goats, pigs and donkeys on this market. When I arrived, people were unloading pigs from trucks – the same trucks we had previously seen on the highway. The pigs were packed in tightly in barred metal cages. The bottom level of pigs could barely stand up and the animals’ backs were rubbing on the second level. Some were reduced to kneeling down on the hard floor. The animals appeared exhausted and their demeanor was weary. They had dark shadows around bloodshot eyes. The animals appeared exhausted and their demeanor was weary. The people on the market carried out their work apparently oblivious to the suffering of animals there. And oblivious to the injuries, fear and screams.
To unload the pigs from the trucks, the workers used iron bars to hit the animals. I observed many animals being hit directly in and between their eyes. The workers didn’t seem to care, and sometimes laughed at the animals’ screams and falls as they struggled to remove themselves from the bars.
At the other end of the yard was the gated dog area. In front of the dog area there were piles of iron cages – apparently typical of cages used to transport these animals. I was unable to take many pictures in this area as the guard stopped me. When I reached out to the dogs with my hands, they were surprisingly curious and stretched to reach me. These animals can be the best friends of humans, which makes this trade even more confusing. Yet these individuals had become no more than victims of the meat industry.