Starving, exhausted and crammed into tiny cages, they were just hours away from being killed for restaurants.
These shocking pictures were taken after more than 1,500 dogs were found piled one on top of another inside a truck bound for the slaughterhouse.
Manyof them would not even have survived the 22-hour journey.
Theytook them to a nearby farm where they were given food, water and emergency medical treatment, but many were too frail to survive.
Xiao Lu, of the Chongqing Animal Protection Association, said: ‘When [the dogs] saw us they were groaning, but some were so exhausted and dying that they didn’t even have the strength to make a sound.
‘The dog peddler said his truck was only loaded with 700 dogs, but there are at least 1,500.’
The harrowing photographs of the suffering animals were posted on the internet by the blogger who was behind the rescue operation.
After spotting the truck carrying the animals, he posted a plea on the web, begging for help in saving the dogs’ lives.
It was answered by animal welfare volunteers, and with the assistance of the police, they intercepted the vehicle at a toll gate. Many of the dogs, which were being taken to Guangdong province, in the far south of the country, were saved.
Eating dog meat in China dates back thousands of years. It is also consumed in countries including Indonesia, Korea, Mexico, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam, but is illegal in most Western countries.
Restaurants serving dog are common in many Chinese cities, but particularly in Guangdong province, where some locals think it has medicinal properties.
Despite proposals to ban the consumption of dog last year, and growing international opposition to the practice, the meat has continued to be sold.
Alan Knight, chief executive of International Animal Rescue, said: ‘The transport is disgusting. They cram them into small wire cages, with no food or water, and take them across the country and kill them in inhumane ways.
‘This is happening every day. The whole concept of ethics is different to ours and it will be difficult to change, but local animal welfare groups are starting
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