Woman saves dogs - level 3
Pensioner Yang Xiaoyun has gone from school teacher to one of China's most well-known and controversial animal rights activists, lauded and vilified for her direct approach to rescuing pooches in distress. Over the past twenty years Yang has saved thousands of dogs from the slaughterhouse and the streets and continues to raise some of them in her home.
The former teacher is just one of many members of China's growing middle class now beginning to fight what they see as a barbaric abuse of man's best friend, in a country where pets can be rounded up and sold for meat. No animal protection law has yet to be introduced.
For 20 years she has woken up at the crack of dawn to take care of hundreds of stray cats and dogs. She has sold her home and re-mortgaged her son's home. She is in 800,000 yuan worth of debt buying the 200kg of food needed every day to feed the animals.
Now that she has sold her home, Yang lives in a shack next to one of her dog compounds.
She had originally hoped to set up a home for the rescued dogs but was given a frosty reception by locals, most of whom fiercely support what they see as a cultural tradition no different to consuming turkeys at Thanksgiving.
Some within animal rights circles also worry that by buying up dogs en masse, Yang is simply encouraging more people, be it lazy dog owners or dog snatchers, to sell their animals to activists.
The day Yang visited Yulin's dog market, many there said they had come with the explicit hope of selling their dogs to Yang and her helpers.
Although countless dog lovers and volunteers are constantly at Yang's side to help her and her dogs, Yang has on occasion found herself at odds with some other animal rights groups.
Yang said that such clashes between volunteers and activists have become more common in recent years in China, but she will continue to fight to save the helpless animals from ending up on someone's plate.
Difficult words: controversial (much talked about), laud (to say good things about somebody), vilify (to say bad things about somebody), pooch (dog), former (-ex), barbaric (very terrible), at the crack of dawn (very early in the morning), stray (homeless), mortgage (to get money from the bank; if you do not pay the money back, then the bank takes the house), shack (a small building), compound (an area where people keep have a lot of buildings), frosty (unfriendly), fiercely (strongly), en masse (in a group), explicit (clear), clash a (fight).
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