Every year, the city of Yulin in southeast China commemorates the summer solstice with a highly controversial festival, revolving around the slaughter and consumption of 10,000 dogs.
And each year, the Yulin Summer Solstice Dog-Meat Festival grows increasingly more controversial:
With some critics claiming that the animals are butchered and cooked with needless cruelty, and others claiming that these antiquated traditions need to be shed altogether.
This year, the opposition came to a head on social media with the #Stopyulin2015 campaign.
Enter: Xiaoyun Yang.
According to Fight Animal Cruelty Laws In China, Yang is a 63-year-old retired school teacher who witnessed a family attempt to drown an unwanted kitten in the 90’s. After rescuing the cat, Yang was inspired to found “Common Home,” an animal shelter for homeless and abused pets.
Yang runs ‘Common Home’ out of a dilapidated building in the Dongli District of Tianjin, where today she has rescued over 1,500 animals.
Yang personally oversees the care of more than 200 cats and 1000 dogs that live in ‘Common Home’, including administering meds to the disabled and sick animals (which outnumber the healthy).
And she makes scores of steamed corn buns, which take 8 hours a day and are all she can afford to feed them.
Though occasionally, volunteers will provide extra treats and care for the animals (welcome aide for both the pets, and Yang).
It’s a 5 AM-10 PM job, funded solely only donations (almost all of which go to paying the $4,300-a-month rent and $6,000-a-month food and medical bill).
But in spite of her regular commitments, Yang still set out for Yulin this year.
Proving that one person can make a difference, Yang traveled over 2,400 km (1,500 miles) from Tianjin to Yulin, and paid traders over 7,000 yuan (~$1,100) to save 100 dogs from being eaten.
And while those dogs will live to see another day, the story does not yet have a happy ending.
Sadly, Common Home is in peril.
The building itself is set for demolition, and the expenses for maintaining the shelter (wherever it goes next) far exceed Yang’s resources.
If you’d like to find out how to get involved or help Ms. Yang, Fight Animal Cruelty Laws in China have published the following pieces of information:
Direct Bank Wire Transfer to Ms. Yang
Bank Name: Commercial Bank of China (中国工商银行）
Bank Account City: Tianjin (开户城市－天津）
Bank Account No.: 0302845001009282956
Account Name: Ai Yun YANG （杨爱云）
Xiaoyun Yang’s Cell Phone: 13164073263