The heat was overwhelming as he drove the white truck through the winding streets of Yulin. With sweat rolling down his cheeks he was even more agitated at the dogs in the back creating havoc. Fearful and packed so tight they could hardly breathe, they were all screaming and defecating on one another. The stench even permeated the windows. Yet all the driver wanted to do was to get to the slaughterhouse to dump the dogs off and go home to watch reality TV. The fact that he was a willing participant in barbarism did not bother him nearly as much as the ever-present heat!

Welcome to China, welcome in particular to Yulin, China where eating dog meat has taken on the allure of an epicurean delight. Old Chinese medicine, refers to a cult of recipes that follow supposed centuries old homeopathic Chinese medical practice. One of their twisted oddities is a belief that torturing a dog prior to death results in better-tasting, adrenaline-rich meat. Thus these poor dogs are destined to be horribly tortured, in demonic ways that this article refuses to elaborate on as it?s beyond the comprehension of most ordinary people. When the dogs are finally dead they are skinned, cooked and served up piping hot to eager Chinese families. Children will enjoy the succulent taste of dog and cat meat and laugh, not having any consciousness of what was in their mouths.

It's estimated that about 10 million dogs are killed in China for human consumption each year in a brutal trade that involves unimaginable cruelty. The majority of dogs killed are family pets stolen or relinquished. It is quite common to find dogs on trucks headed to slaughterhouses still wearing their collars. Others are strays snatched from the streets and discarded breeding stock form puppy mills.

Yulin has become the public face of the dog meat trade, but dogs are butchered and consumed throughout China all year. They even have a festival named after the city in celebration of eating men's best friend.

Witnessing the suffering and the cruelty from afar nevertheless leaves one speechless. Walking through an animal shelter in China is like taking a stroll through hell. The animals are all starving, sometimes going days without food. There is no vet care, disease is rampant as the only income the shelter has is private donations, the government refusing to give a single penny.

The thing is, most people in China don't eat dog meat. It's not part of mainstream Chinese culinary culture. There is even a growing animal protection movement in China that vehemently opposes the dog meat trade. More and more there are frequent and documented violent clashes between dog thieves and angry dog owners. Millions of Chinese citizens signed in support of a legislative proposal to ban the slaughter of dogs and cats. Yet still the laws have not been addressed. Why?

The government of China, while embarrassed by the inhumanity of segments of its population, also harbors deep respect for centuries old traditions. Every time a voice arises in defense of humanity, the people representing the 'simple folk' push back pointing out that this is how they have lived for centuries. Thus the government always ends up in compromises that reduce but never end the dog slaughter for meat industry. China with a population of 1.4 billion only needs a small percentage to produce a few million uneducated, rural working classes that somehow lost their consciences a long time ago. They do not question their actions, justifying them under some 'ancient Chinese tradition' mantra. And the government is complicit in not labeling this segment of the population as dehumanized and barbaric.

Rescuers in China save thousands of dogs a year, rehoming them into loving families thousands of miles away, away from China. But the process changes all, including the best of rescuers and animal lovers forever, and not for the better. The fact that these dogs, who suffer so terribly at the hands of humans, still wag their tails and seek human affection is a testament to their ability to love unconditionally.

There was a time when Nazi guards walked the aisles of concentration camps certain that what they were doing was just and right. While all around them atrocities were being committed they surmised this was a necessary evil to make the world a better place. Once the greater global community was made aware of the hideous goings on, the guards were all marked as inhuman torturers. One day this day of reckoning will arrive for the inhuman torturers of China, but it will be too late for thousands of beautiful dogs unfortunate enough to have been born there.