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An animal rights activist was reportedly beaten by dog meat traders while attempting to save the lives of hundreds of pups who were set to be killed at China's controversial Yulin festival.
Du Yufeng - the founder of Bo Ai Animal Protection Centre - said she ended up in hospital after being beaten in the head and all over her body by armed vendors when she and two other female activists tried to free 300 dogs imprisoned at their warehouse.
Another one of the women, who is in her 50s, was left with two fractured ribs as a result of the attack.
The canines Du and the other two women tried to save were reportedly killed at the end of May by the local animal quarantine authority in a bid to get rid of evidence.
They were originally set for the annual Yulin dog meat festival, which started yesterday.
In a letter to the government, Du urged officials to punish those who are involved in the event, writing: "They are about to reach the gate of hell and clubbed to death, scalded by boiling water, grilled alive and skinned alive. They are so terrified."
The festival has sparked controversy around the world since its launch in 2009. According to animal charity Humane Society International (HSI), many of the animals killed there are either stolen pets or taken off the streets.
The charity's executive director, Claire Bass, said: "The dog meat trade in China is first and foremost about crime and cruelty.
"The Yulin festival is one small but distressing example of an unspeakably cruel trade run by dog thieves and sellers.
"They routinely steal pets in broad daylight using poison darts and rope nooses, defy public health and safety laws, and cause horrendous suffering, all for a meat that most people in China don't consume."
Animal rights activists and supporters continue to campaign to have the festival cancelled. This year reached new heights, as almost 1.5 million people signed a petition set up by Care2 and Humane Society International to put an end to the 10-day festival.
In its report on the attack of Du and her accomplices, Daily Mail states that sources have claimed this year's festival was more subdued than before, with many empty stalls seen at the markets.
Also, pressure from such petitions and campaigns has meant the murder of dogs has gone from 15,000 to 3,000 during the festival's core days.
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