Don't like the thought of dogs being served up with lychees? Neither does Yang Xiaoyun, a 65-year-old Chinese woman who saved 100 canines from being killed and served at a dog-meat festival in southern China, AFP reports. The animal lover paid about $1,100 yesterday for the dogs in the city of Yulin, and plans to take them home to Tianjin, about 1,240 miles away. Her gesture has drawn more attention to Yulin's controversial festival, where activists hold demonstrations, charge animal cruelty, and sometimes buy dogs so they won't get eaten. "I saw cat and dog intestines and carcasses strung up," an activist tells the Independent. "There were some dogs still alive in wire cages, but they looked exhausted, emaciated, and dirty."
Locals say the dogs are killed in a humane manner at Yulin's festival, where people eat dog meat with lychees—but the tide in China may be turning against the practice. Roughly 30 million Chinese households are said to have dogs now, while more young people are moving into cities and buying animals for companionship, CNN reports. What's more, the city of Guangzhou—known for serving dogs and cats—just shut down a dog-meat restaurant. But while officials have criticized the Yulin festival, they stop short of imposing a legal ban against the slaughter of cats and dogs. "Yulin is an open, tolerant and civilised city," says the city's news office. "We welcome people across the world to pay attention to Yulin."