Wang Yan, the Chinese millionaire who spent his entire fortune to save dogs from slaughterhouse

Il ventinovenne imprenditore, dopo aver perso il proprio cane, ha convertito un mattatoio abbandonato in un rifugio per cani randagi.

China is not such a good place for man’s best friend. Indeed, the Asian country slaughters 18 million dogs every year (derisory figure compared to 150 billion animals killed every year for food purposes).

yulin-meat festival china
Dogs destined to be slaughtered in occasion of the Yulin meat festival © Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Dog meat is a traditional dish of the Chinese culture. It is believed it improves male fertility and rejects evil spirits and diseases. Three years ago, Wang Yan, entrepreneur in the iron and steel industry, lost his dog. He looked for his animal everywhere, even in the dog slaughterhouse of his hometown, Changchun, north-eastern China.

There, Wang Yan didn’t find his dog, but horror. Dogs are beaten and dragged on the floor, then “butchers” slit their throat with a knife. Animals often remain aware while bleeding to death. Dogs are thereafter skinned, boiled, cut in pieces, and sold to be eaten by someone.

The Chinese entrepreneur Wang Yan is the founder of the “Changchun Animal Rescue Base”, a shelter for stray dogs © Cen

Yan thus realised how dogs are treated in China, and embarked on a mission: save as many dogs as he could. In 2012, he invested all his holdings to buy an abandoned slaughterhouse and turn it into a shelter for stray dogs, the “Changchun Animal Rescue Base”.

Ever since the shelter has been established, Yan rescued over 2,000 dogs, otherwise destined to the slaughterhouse. “There are 215 dogs at the base now, mostly came from the slaughterhouses, saved by volunteers and brought here,” he said.

dog meat china
Dog meat sold in a maket in China © Sipa Asia/Rex

Love for animals had a significant impact on the life of Yan, who has got into debt to keep the shelter open and buy food and medicines for his dogs. “I don’t accept cash donations, but instead hope to receive donations of food and other supplies for the dogs”.

Translated by

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