Dog and cat fur used for bags, toys and clothes in China.

Day 8 (WEDNESDAY APRIL 24th 2013)

Zhanjiang’s slaughterhouse

Thanks to the information provided by local activists we know that in this city there is at least one dog slaughterhouse and we suspect there may be more. We decided to investigate by asking the local taxi drivers who are the ones, after all, that know the area well. Finally one of them leads us to a neighborhood where there is a slaughterhouse. This slaughterhouse is located a few meters from a residential building. Children walk right in front of it with their backpacks, on their way to school.

After several hours establishing a friendship with the neighbors and the butcher, we convince him to allow us videotape him that day. Without warning, he enters the building and closes the door behind him. We can’t follow him but we know what is going to happen. He enters the room where he has the dogs locked with a stick in one hand and a pair of pliers in the other. We record through the gap between the door and the ceiling how he hits one of the dogs. He throws a heavy blow at him. Two. Three. Opens the door and drags out a camel colored dog. The dog is paralyzed but still alive. The butcher, calmly and smiling at us, grabs a knife, steps on the dog and stabs him in the neck. The blood starts to gush. The butcher takes him by the back legs and hangs him upside down while the dog bleeds out. After a few seconds he throws it on the floor. The dog breathes with great difficulty, he has no more strength. It will take almost four minutes for his eyes to become glassy.

The butcher returns into the building and again tries to close the door behind him only this time we are prepared to follow him closely and we go inside with him despite his complaints. He closes the door again and opens the next one where the dogs are kept. We try to move around and document what is happening without scaring the dogs any more. We see they have no food or water and that the ground is a mass of smelly faeces. They try not to look at his face … they don’t even move. It would seem they are trying not to draw attention to themselves. They know what is going to happen. They have seen it before and no one wants to be next. The butcher walks around the room observing them, assessing to himself which one he is going to choose next, which one has the right weight for today’s customer. Finally he grabs one by the neck and hits him in the head several times. He drags him and stabs him onto the slaughterhouse sump, in the street. A child approaches attracted about our presence and plays with his ball around it with normality. The process is repeated with several other animals. Another child, older than the previous one, approaches the slaughterhouse and observes the situation. He looks at the dogs agonizing and bleeding in front of him. His expression tells us he is questioning what he is seeing.