The Yulin Dog Meat Festival has begun in China and some celebrities are lending their voices to try to stop it. But is their fame enough to make Chinese officials notice?
Matt Damon and Pamela Anderson are just two of the stars who contributed to a video PSA from the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation calling for the dog meat trade to stop across Asia.
In the video, U.S. entertainers recount the harrowing tales of how dogs are tortured by electric shock, skinned alive, and beaten due to a belief that ingesting dog meat that has been brutalized is beneficial to one’s overall health.
“I am vehemently opposed to the Yulin Dog Meat Festival," animal advocate and actress Pamela Anderson told FOX411 in an email. "Dogs are meant to be man and woman’s best friend not served on a plate, and especially not to be tortured before they’re served. Perhaps we can all learn from the benefits of a vegetarian diet.”
The Los Angeles-based Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness about the dog meat trade in Asia, and their founder Marc Ching is actively rescuing dogs from their deaths this week in Yulin. His Director of Operations Valarie Ianniello explained their present rescue mission.
“Marc is in Yulin rescuing dogs with a group of volunteers that flew in to help him," Ianniello said. "They currently saved around 1,000 dogs and right now we are communicating with local rescue groups to take some of the dogs and then once the remaining dogs are ready they will fly back here."
Ching founded the non-profit organization in 2011 and in 2015 flew to Yulin where he began saving dogs. The PSA was created in an effort to get the attention of the Chinese government.
“Marc knows Matt Damon personally although he did not ask him to do the PSA. He went through his publicist like anyone else would," Ianniello said. "Joaquin Phoenix, Sia, Maggie Q, Pam Anderson, Russell Simmons, and Rooney Mara came through Shaun Monson, who directed them as well.”
Ianniello said “the PSA will bring more awareness and because China is so influenced by celebrity that we hope it will be a way in to getting a meeting with the government in order to appeal to them to implement animal protection laws for the dogs and cats who currently don't have any laws to protect them.”
Last year, anestimated 10 million dogs were killed for human consumption across China and 10,000 were slaughtered at the Yulin festival.