A Scottish animal behaviourist is calling for help to save Dachshund dogs from being abused and eaten in China.
This week marked the start of a ten-day dog meat festival in the Chinese city of Yulin where thousands of the animals are expected to be slaughtered.
The eating of dogs is controversial inside China with local animal protection groups intercepting the transportation trucks and rescuing the animals.
Jessie Probst adopted a Dachshund named Faith after she was rescued by a group dedicated to stopping dogs from being eaten.
“She was kept in a wire cage. She would have been bred, but if she wasn’t able, then passed on or eaten,” Ms Probst told STV News.
“There were two Dachsunds we were hoping to save, Faith and another, Hope, who was black and tan, she didn’t survive.”
Faith was “an emaciated wreck” and underwent six months of rehabilitation before waiting a further six months for the coronavirus lockdown to ease so she could be brought to the safety of Scotland and into Ms Probst’s arms.
Faith is among thousands of pets being bought in China, as dog ownership grows in popularity, before being abandoned or lost on the streets.
Ms Probst runs a charity that helps people with their mental health through therapy sessions with animals. She hopes Faith will be an example of how resilient animals can be in recovering from trauma.
A year on from the rescue, the 39-year-old is calling for support to help bring more of the threatened animals to Scotland.
A ten-mile fundraising walk in Aviemore raised more than £3000 for the cause and two Dachsunds were brought out of China at the weekend.
The Dog Meat Trade (DMT) Dachshund Support Group, for which Ms Probst is the behaviourist, has already rescued 16 Dachshunds but with an estimated 10,000 dogs expected to be consumed during the Yulin festival, she said funds are needed to save more from harm.
Another Dachshund walk is planned for July 24, from Carnoustie to Arbroath.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) said it is estimated that at least ten million dogs are eaten in China every year.
Paul Littlefair, the RSPCA’s head of international, said although there is some small scale farming of the animals in China, most of the dogs are stolen pets or those caught having become lost or abandoned on the streets.
In an RSPCA blog, he explained: “The dogs are then transported often long distances by truck, in extremely cramped conditions where they’re openly exposed to the elements. At the end of their journey, they’re faced with the most unimaginably cruel slaughter, where they’re clubbed or stabbed and sometimes skinned alive.”