Tamsin and Angel – Saved from Dog Meat Trade – Report by Robert Donkers

Tamsin and her Puppies.

Tamsin and her Puppies.

The Story of Two Mothers – Angel and Tamsin

Does grieving mum Angel, suffering from distemper, have the strength to survive? Heavily pregnant she was stuffed into a cage and loaded onto a lorry. After being driven for hundreds of miles in extreme heat with no access to food or water she and her unborn pups would have been put to death in the cruelest way. Miraculously she was rescued but her ordeal is not yet over.  Angel is in hospital right now but the treatment is expensive. NoToDogMeat plans to bring Angel and other truck rescue dogs like her to a forever home the UK  once they are fit enough to make the long journey from China. They have gone through so much – please help us make it all not in vain.

We cheer when we hear that a truck laden with dogs has been successfully stopped by activists. These people do their utmost to ensure that the dogs do not go to the meat market. However, before the dogs can be released and taken to various places of safety the rescuers have to plead and negotiate with the police, the driver of the truck and the ‘owner’ of the caged animals.

mmexport1442104483183  mmexport1442104483157  mmexport1442104482937

Unfortunately these negotiations can take days during which dogs remain stuffed like sardines in the cages on the truck, in the searing heat, defecating and urinating on top of one and other and spreading deadly bacteria. Some of these dogs are pregnant, many of them have broken tails, paws and other terrible injuries and are in desperate need of veterinary care.

If they are successful the rescuers can begin to unload the dogs – a job which presents more problems and requires great care.  As the dogs are terrified and in pain they can bite anyone who comes close and any of these dogs could be carrying tetanus, or worse, rabies. It is a testament to the activists’ bravery that they persevere with this task. Afterwards the dogs are taken to various places of safety where they are carefully examined and given vaccinations for rabies and other diseases.

The most troublesome problem for the rescue centres is the disease distemper which is endemic in the meat trade. Canine distemper is a virus that affects a dog’s respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems, as well as the conjunctival membranes of the eye. The first signs distemper include sneezing, coughing and thick mucus coming from the eyes and nose and dogs develop fever, lethargy, sudden vomiting and diarrhea, depression and/or loss of appetite.

Distemper is passed from dog to dog through direct contact with fresh urine, blood, mucus or saliva. Sneezing, coughing and sharing food and water bowls are all possible ways for the virus to be passed on. The virus spreads rapidly and must be aggressively treated as soon as it’s discovered. Puppies and adolescent dogs who have not been vaccinated are most vulnerable to the distemper virus. Veterinarians can offer intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration and antibiotics to ward off secondary infections while the infected dog builds up his/her immune response. Some dogs are able to survive the infection, while for many others canine distemper is fatal.

When we recently visited China ( August 2015) we witnessed an outbreak of distemper in one of the shelters. Dogs were coughing, sneezing and were lethargic and some too ill to move. It was an awful condition to witness.

Near Beijing at the shelter of Mr Zhao Xinqi, who has been rescuing dogs from the trucks for some 20 years we met two small female dogs.  Both of them had given birth to a litter a couple of days after they were taken from a truck driving them to the butchers at the meat markets.

Angel and her Puppy.

Angel and her Puppy.

Angel and Tamsin’s pups were born premature due to the trauma of their experience on the truck.  Both Angel and Tamsin looked very distressed and I was told that one of Angel’s pups had died that morning.  Angel was not taking any notice of her remaining pup which was lying by itself for a long time.  I stroked Angel and carefully checked if she had any milk. Her tiny malnourished body was unable to produce milk after the trauma she had been through. With her immune system weakened she caught distemper and her pups died within days  She looked so depressed knowing that she could not take care of her remaining baby and it was evident that she was distancing herself from her dying pup.  Without finding another female he had no chance.  I held her little boy who felt cold and lifeless in my hand and he immediately started to suckle my finger.  I checked with Tamsin, the other female, she was weaning her two puppies.  She was producing enough milk and I put the little boy with her who she lovingly accepted as one of her own.

We told Mr Zhao Xinqi that we would like to adopt both females as soon as the pups were old enough to be re-homed.  Knowing that the little pup was being taken care of we left the shelter relieved but with a heavy heart – many of the dogs from the previous rescue had arrived suffering with distemper.

Since our return to the UK Mr Zhao Xinqi has been communicating with us via Wechat on a daily basis. Unfortunately, Mr Zhao Xinqi  has informed me that both Tamsin and Angel had contracted distemper.

The next message that came through was that all puppies had caught distemper and had died.  Both mothers were very ill.  At our request both mothers were taken to hospital where their long treatment could begin.  The veterinary surgeon said that their chances of survival was only 20-30%.

The struggle for survival continued and reports from China were not good.  Especially Angel was suffering very badly.  I am happy to know that both dogs are in hospital that that they are under medical care and supervision of a dedicated veterinary team but there is no guarantee of a happy ending. Every day Mr Zhao Xinqi keeps us informed about the condition and progress of the dogs. Partial good news came a week later when Mr Zhao Xinqi informed us that Tamsin was recovering but that little Angel was still very ill.


Tamsin, sitting up for the first time, on her road to recovery.

Will grieving mum Angel have the strength to survive distemper? I can only send her love and healing and hope that she does not leave earth without somehow knowing that humans can love dogs and as much as they love us.


Little Angel, desperately ill fighting for her life.

NoToDogMeat will keep you informed about Angel and Tamsin but in the meantime please donate anything you can to NoToDogsadMeat via this link: http://www.totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/robertdonkers2611.  Angel really deserves our love and help  and so do all the other rescued dogs. Thank you.

NoToDogMeat Charity Update

Originally posted on Julia de Cadenet- Official Blog:


As soon as our report on the visit to China written by Mr Donkers has been discussed with the charity commission we will hold our press conference and update all donors.
We do wish to reassure you that we have the amazing help of local Chinese Welfare Groups and front line activists. When we visited Mrs Yang these kind individuals who run their own small shelters, who were present at #707,#809 and #816 rescues came with us. Many had volunteered previously at these yards and had donated personally to Mrs Yang and therefore know her situation much better than all of us.
These rescuers have committed their pledge to take care of the dogs and cats you may have seen through external sources. and can manage their upkeep and welfare.
Their kind actions will relieve perceived burdens on Mrs Yang and is an amazingly generous offer. No-one wants to see…

View original 134 more words

What is it Really Like in China?

NoToDogMeat : Last week our trustee Robert Donkers and CEO Julia De Cadenet travelled to China and met the heroes who risk their lives day in day out to save dogs from the meat trade. Over the next few weeks we will give you an insight into what it is really like in China ( where FACEBOOK and TWITTER is banned). The activists and rescuers stayed by our sides 24/7 to show us the real underbelly of the dog meat trade in China. Some findings are sad, others are shocking but the main feeling is that of hope. Our work is to support them. We hope you can too. Let’s never forget we are here for the animals !


NoToDogMeat Update: Totalgiving Fundraiser for Mrs Yang/Yulin

For the last three years the NoToDogMeat team have actively campaigned against the horrific Yulin Festival in China. This year we really wanted to make a difference and have our own ‘boots’ on the ground. Our plan was to raise funds in order to send our own small team to China and, having been active in various rescues in Shanghai that year, we felt sure we could help.

Our Chinese volunteer Natalie reached out to rescuer Mrs Yang who has been widely reported in the news and in May she met our UK volunteer in Shanghai. We were sad to learn that for over 20 years Mrs Yang, a retired school teacher, had run a sanctuary without any help. She explained to our UK volunteer Sophie that not one group had supported her with funds during that whole time.

As an organisation set up to help grass-roots organisations in Asia we receive many requests for help and we had set aside modest funds to distribute during the trip to China. When Mrs Yang told us of her plight and how all the dogs in her shelter were starving we immediately gave her a grant from this fund. She told us this money would feed the dogs on basic supplies for an entire month.

We wanted to do more for Mrs Yang, so instead of fundraising to send our own team out to Yulin we decided to sponsor her and she agreed to wear our tee shirt and support our associated Chinese activists at protests.

Close to the time of Yulin we set ourselves the target of raising £5000 in a week to help Mrs Yang at that time. We dislike the idea of giving money to the butchers but we did not want the dogs to die. Our entire volunteer team set all their tasks aside and spent every waking hour telling people of Mrs Yang’s plight. We decided to use a very transparent online fundraiser – we wanted everyone to feel involved – but as with any fundraiser there are the hidden costs of Paypal, exchange rates and other charges.

By the Friday before the Yulin weekend we were delighted to have already hit our £5000 target. We quickly wired funds to Mrs Yang that day and over the next few days sent her three more direct Western Union transfers which we knew she could pick up at many local shops and venues in Yulin. We were thrilled to learn she had rescued around 500 dogs and cats and could not wait to tell our donors.

One recent source reports that other donors have contributed separately and that Mrs Yang had received over £30,000 to buy dogs by the time of Yulin. In addition to this the website Bored Panda had also published bank details which they said were Mrs Yang’s for anyone to donate to. When No To Dog Meat decides to act others follow and it is true that whenever we start a fundraiser, other groups take our lead and set up their own funds to exactly the same recipient. We are very proud to lead the way.

In the interests of transparency when we reached £50,000 (ten times our original goal for Mrs Yang in Yulin) we issued a formal press release. Surprised by the amount we had collected and mindful of just how many other similar independent rescue shelters in China are desperate for help we contacted our donors directly to ask them to consider that we share the fund with these other shelters – and the response has been very positive.

All UK charities have serious legal responsibilities when it comes to the distribution of funds they have raised. We have to show ‘due diligence’ in making sure that funds find their way into the right hands and are used for the purpose intended – in our case, helping dogs. In addition to this the UK has strict regulations regarding any sending of money abroad, in order to prevent fraud, money laundering, funding of terrorism, organised crime and so on. These considerations together with certain other practical security aspects of the international banking system has meant that never could we simply have sent a cheque abroad for the full amount collected the moment we had it – even if we had thought this was the best thing to do.

Given the unexpected size of the fund raised and the unconfirmed status of banking facilities available in the proposed recipient’s country we sought advice from the Charity Commission regarding transfer and dispersal of the funds to ensure it meets the charity and fund’s objectives. At the time of Yulin there had been uncertainty over the safe collection of the transfers that were sent and of the reliability of bank details and these aspects legally demanded of us increased diligence and caution with regards to sending further amounts. We informed the Charity Commission of the money already sent to Mrs Yang (to date it is over 20% of the total raised) the method of sending, and set down with them a timetable of action for safe completion of this project. This included establishing satisfactory banking facilities in China which would allow Mrs Yang and other agreed associates to access funds and give us complete confidence that funds will be ultimately used for the purpose intended – helping the dogs. The Charity Commission advised us that in order to safeguard dispersal of donations and ensure the intended usage at least two further visits and inspections by us to Mrs Yang’s shelter would be advisable – one this year and one next year.

Our charity WPDCMT (NoToDogMeat Foundation) aims one day to be able to pay staff to work on it’s projects full-time but, to date, no-one directly involved has ever received any wages, fees for work or payment for time (other than outside agencies such as our phone-paging service). This includes the CEO and founder Julia de Cadenet who has worked tirelessly and at great personal expense. Despite the success of the recent fundraiser this has remained the case.

In times of crisis, WPDCMT/NoToDogMeat Foundation is mandated by our legal charity objectives (https://notodogmeat.wordpress.com/our-charity/) to facilitate emergency food rations and medical treatment in shelters. In the long term, our hope is to help Mrs Yang create a new safe shelter for the dogs and for that we will really need the further help of our supporters. We are deeply encouraged that since Yulin many other rescues have taken place – including the ‘#707’ dog truck rescue in Tianjin, the home city of Mrs Yang (who was once again on the scene to help). There are many rescuers all over China just like Mrs Yang and this gives us great hope that Asia is changing.

Update #707Tianjin Dog Truck Rescue!

#707 final update 1

Via Compassion for China’s Animals (https://www.facebook.com/CompassionForChinasAnimals?fref=ts)
!! Update ‪#‎707Tianjin‬ ‪#‎dogmeat‬ truck rescue – quarantine period over – now safe from the hands of the traders to local shelters !!
The activists compensated truck owner for smashed windscreen in order to reach agreement to benefit dogs. They were released to local shelters to care for quarantined dogs.
They are receiving good care – The terrible conditions aboard the truck have taken their toll on some dogs.
Thankfully, these dogs who have suffered enough were not affected by the recent Tianjin explosion.

Walk a NoToDogMeat London Mile, Oxford Street this Saturday!


Are you in London this Saturday? If you can make it, be at Marble Arch by 11am to raise awareness along Oxford Street by handing our leaflets with us. NoToDogMeat will be walking from Marble Arch for a mile until we reach Tottenham Court Road. We will not be staying long at Marble Arch so be on time to avoid missing us! Julia De Cadenet, CEO of NoToDogMeat will also be there with the samoyeds!