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Rescuing Dogs in China has become a passion for Chris Barden, an American “angel of mercy” living in Beijing since 1998. He was recently called to help rescue 500 dogs from a truck headed for the restaurant trade in another city. As told on the ChinaDaily.com website, Barden took 89 to his rescue shelter, and others were taken in by several other groups.
Rescuing Dogs in China
On April 15 last year Chris Barden, from the United States, took a taxi to a toll station on the Beijing-Harbin Expressway. After he got out of the cab, Barden found himself face to face with a truck filled with 500 dogs.
“I learned by weibo (Chinese equivalent of Twitter) that these 500 dogs would be sent to Jilin, Jilin province, where they would be killed and served as food,” Barden says. “As the founder of a small animal adoption program, I felt it was my duty to go and help.”
By the time Barden got to the site, there were already about a dozen people, including volunteers and members from the China Small Animal Protection Association as well as other similar animal rescue groups in Beijing.
Barden himself is a founder of an online dog and cat adoption project, Lingyang.org, part of a Beijing-based adoption network for rescuing small animals.
In 1989, as a second-year undergraduate from Yale University, he obtained a scholarship to learn Chinese in Taiwan to augment his interest in the language.
“I studied Chinese by myself for a year and a half but it was not effective until I went to Taiwan,” the 44-year-old says.
After studying in Taiwan for a year, Barden returned to the US to do a doctorate at Harvard University. But he found he was not cut out for the life of academia and decided to work in his hometown in California instead.
In 1998 Barden went to Beijing to pursue his passion for writing. He found a job at an English magazine and worked as a freelancer, writing on arts and entertainment in China.
He also became a vegan in 2006 and formed a vegan social club in Beijing to persuade people to stop eating and wearing animal products. Two years later he began finding homes for stray dogs and cats. In 2010 he set up Lingyang.org.
“It can be easy to help these homeless animals get treated at pet clinics, but the most difficult thing is to find adopters who would like to give them a home after their treatment,” Barden says.
At the Beijing-Harbin Expressway on April 15 last year, hundreds of other people showed up later to save the dogs in the truck.
Barden was there for about an hour before he drew the attention of police, who asked him to leave and escorted him away.
After the dogs were released to volunteers around midnight, Barden spoke with his friend Han Shuang, a vet from newly established Dongxing Animal Hospital. The hospital agreed to take in as many of the seriously sick dogs from the truck as possible.
Barden met Han when he was carrying out his adoption project for homeless dogs and cats. During the rescue that day, the two drove to the China Small Animal Protection Association shelter and waited for the dogs to arrive. When they did, in the early hours of the morning, they all began the difficult process of unloading the frightened dogs from the truck.
By the evening of April 16, many of the city’s animal hospitals began treating sick and injured dogs from the truck. At Dongxing Animal Hospital, Barden and Han eventually took in 89 dogs….”
Many of the problems Barden faces are cultural and monetary. Many people have dog as pets, but they are also considered as food. The most difficult part is fundraising for needed medical treatments. He translates TV and movie scripts to support himself and the shelter, and hopes to sell a movie script he has written. There is a lot more to the story — read it all here, about how Barden is Rescuing Dogs in China.
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