This is the moment 20 golden retrievers destined to be slaughtered for their meat in China were saved by an animal rescue group. The dogs were photographed as they met their new adoptive owners in Miami, Florida, on Sunday – with some rescuers moved to tears by their first meeting.
Their rescue was made possible thanks to Golden Rescue South Florida, who spent six months planning and fundraising $50,000 for the complex mission. And their efforts paid off with the goldens saved from being eaten after flying 7,800 miles from Beijing to start a new life in America.
The dogs’ plight so moved Miami animal lovers that they were all adopted before they’d even made it onto US soil.
Rescue co-ordinator, Kristine Minerva, 40, said that without rescue the dogs are likely to have ended up in a slaughterhouse.
She said: ‘It’s estimated alone that about 10 million dogs are slaughtered for the dog meat trade each year. Just seeing an animal in such horrible conditions is heart-breaking. Once rescued and they knowing they are safe is one of the most heart warming and selfless feeling ever.
‘Rescuing, Fostering and saving an animals life has always been my passion. Dogs can’t talk, we are their voice.
‘Dogs feel emotions, you can see it in their face, they are so unbelievably loyal and I cannot imagine torturing, beating, starving a living soul.
‘Once we were able see them in their cages in was an incredible moment and there were lots of emotions, everyone just just unraveled.
‘The first dog that I took out of the crate I looked him in the eyes and said “you will never have to worry about being eaten again”.
‘I gave him such a squeeze, it was an amazing moment.’
Kristine is the brains behind the idea to rescue the dogs and was inspired to do so after reading about their plight online, and subsequently being contacted by a rescue group in Beijing asking for help.
As the wheels were put into motion a team of 17 volunteers were involved in the operation, which saw prospective new owners interviewed and vetted before the dogs were matched to new homes.
Kristine said the group’s efforts were supported by a Taiwan animal cruelty group and American animal rights group, Peta.
‘One person was involved with planning this mission. I had minimal help along the way’, said Christine
‘The dogs were being kept with hundreds of other golden retrievers when I found out about them.
‘Fewer and fewer golden retrievers need to be rescued here in the States, so I figured I’d push the envelope and see about saving goldens from their horrible fate in China.
‘All adoptive homes were found before they arrived. They were already so loved by so many families.’
The pedigree breed is one of the most sought-after by dog lovers, with golden retrievers regularly topping polls of most popular dog breeds.
All of the dogs were transported in cages by China Air and despite her important involvement in the operation, Kristine said she did not adopt any of the dogs herself.
Golden Rescue South Florida are actively engaged in rescuing dogs in dangerous situations around the world and are already planning for their next rescue mission.
To find out more or to get involved visit Golden Rescue South Florida’s Facebook page, here.
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