China’s controversial dog meat festival kicked off on Tuesday in the city of Yulin and animal rights activists across the world have been working non-stop to put an end to this barbaric event.

One man decided to take action against this trade and ended up freeing over 1,000 pups that would have otherwise been killed and sold as meat.

American activist Marc Ching travelled to Yulin ahead of the festival, where he started work trying to rescue the dogs kept in some of these overcrowded compounds.

Around 10,000 dogs were expected to be killed over the 10-day festival however, thanks to Marc and companion, Valarie Ianniello, there will be significantly less pups heading to the slaughterhouses this year.

Marc, who runs an organic pet food company back in LA, announced the success of their rescue mission on his non-profit Facebook page stating that they managed to free 1,000 dogs from six different locations.

But this is just one of many rescue trips for Marc. Over the last year alone he has been out to Asia seven times in order to shut down canine slaughterhouses.

From posing as a dog meat buyer, to persuading slaughterhouse owners to give up their trade, in exchange for a fee and help with setting up a new business – it is safe to say the activist has used a variety of methods to help rescue these neglected dogs.

Nevertheless, not every expedition has been a successful one – Marc has been beaten up and questioned by Asian police in the past for his efforts to free helpless puppies.

While an estimated 10 to 20 million dogs are killed for their meat each year in China, the annual Yulin event has become synonymous with the practice.

Each year, the festival kicks off in the beginning of the summer solstice, because of traditional Chinese beliefs that eating dog meat helps the body cope with the heat.

Thankfully Marc, Valarie and the rest of the world’s animal activists are working together to make small victories like the one in order to put an end to breeding dogs for meat.

For the lucky 1,000 pups that were spared such an ill fate – we hope they are rehabilitated and re-homed as soon as possible so they can start living the life they were always meant to live.