SIMON COWELL is wading into the battle against Yulin dog meat festival to stop cats and dogs being butchered on the streets of China.
The television magnate is calling on animal lovers to save thousands of stricken pets from horrendous cruelty in the name of a food celebration.
Yulin Dog Meat Festival is drawing international condemnation over the way animal are stolen before being smuggled into the Chinese city in cramped cages and then subjected to appalling brutality.
As many as 10,000 dogs could die in coming days – many boiled or blow-torched. It is said that if the dogs die in fear it improves the taste of their flesh.
One of the leading organisations fighting to bring an end to the festival as well as rescuing dogs from slaughterhouses is Humane Society International.
Today the Britain’s Got Talent and X Factor judge made a heartfelt plea on behalf of the charity.
He says: “Right now, thousands of dogs and cats in China need our help. Over the past few days these poor animals – many of them stolen pets – have been crammed onto trucks in wire cages without food or water, and driven for hours under miserable conditions.
“Their appalling fate? To be cruelly beaten, then slaughtered and eaten as part of an annual ‘festival’ held in Yulin.
GRAPHIC CONTENT: Dogs and cats slaughtered for annual meat festival
“It’s so brutal, it makes me sick thinking about it. The cruelty, pain and terror these animals experience is disgusting and there are no words to describe how upset this makes me feel.
“But we are the only hope for these poor animals. Together we must stand strong with the millions of people across China who, just like us, love animals and passionately oppose this cruelty.”
Humane Society International and its Chinese partners have rescued 54 dogs over the past few days and have saved many more in recent months.
Pleading for donations for HSI, Cowell, a self-confessed animal lover, added:
“The images and footage of the gruesome reality for these helpless animals – many of them still wearing their pet collars – are outrageous and inexcusable. We have to do something.”
But he reveals there is hope through the sterling work of people like HSI’s Peter Li who has been campaigning in the city.
“You may have read recent news reports of Yulin dog meat traders trying to claim that business is still good but HSI’s Peter Li is on the ground there now reporting that a number of the dog slaughterhouses are closed, and that live animal markets and dog meat restaurants are much reduced compared to last year. This is encouraging news.
“Achieving lasting change takes time, but I am hopeful that together we can see an end to this horrific trade. And I am heartened by a Chinese opinion poll just released that shows the majority of Chinese people want the Yulin festival shut down, and in fact most people in China have never eaten dog in their lives.”
HSI has revealed the costs of looking after rescued dogs. Donations of $35 dollars pay for food and bedding, $50 buys crates and fuel to get the animals away from Yulin and $100 covers life-saving veterinary treatment.
As Cowell was making his appeal, it was reported that Yulin’s government has never supported the city’s dog meat festival, according to a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, The Hong Kong Free Press said the official had explained how eating lychees and dog meat during summer was a habit of the Yulin people as a matter of dietary preference and that there “were no celebrations that took place in the name of consuming dog meat.”
While some say eating dog meat dates back 500 years and is a traditional way of alleviating the summer heat, opponents argue that the Yulin festival only began in 2009.
A recent poll said 64 per cent of Chinese people want the festival to end.