AN event to raise money to help rehome dogs rescued from a controversial slaughter festival in China is taking place on Bank Holiday Monday.

Organiser Liz Coe, from Fairford, adopted a rescued Korean Gindo-Labrador cross last year, and said 10s of thousands of dogs are tortured and killed each year at the 10-day Yulin Dog Meat Festival.

“The dogs are all tortured before being eaten in the mistaken belief that it improves the health benefits of the meat,” said Liz, adding: “They are boiled, blowtorched, dismembered and skinned alive.”

According to Liz, 53, organisers of the festival claim it is an important part of Chinese tradition, however, the beginnings of the festival actually appear to trace back to 2009.

Los Angeles-based The Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation (AHWF) rescues hundreds of dogs each year with the help of campaigners; intercepting trucks transporting the dogs to slaughterhouses.

Led by charity founder Marc Ching, his team negotiate with and often compensate the drivers to allow them to take the dogs and prevent them from being slaughtered.

She said an individual license is needed to transport each individual dog, which many drivers do not have.

“They persuade them, and use whatever legalities they can. If they haven’t got the correct paper work, for example.”

She said many of the dogs are strays taken off the streets, but some of those rescued have collars or microchips, while others are bred specifically for the festival.

“They are crammed into trucks and often driven thousands of miles to the slaughterhouses, by which time they are completely broken,” said Liz.

“AHWF are doing masses of work towards educating children in China, and working with the government to try and implement animal welfare laws and to get this awful festival banned,” she said.

According to Liz, “the best activists in the world are Chinese, because they have so much to contend with” due to the lack of legislation protecting animals in “such a massive country”.

Rushton Dog Rescues (RDR), a charity in Somerset, helps to rehome the rescued dogs in the UK, which is how Liz adopted her dog Hansum.

Monday’s fundraiser at Lilac Cottage in Kemble Wick, is to generate much-needed money to help the work of the charity.

The event, which will take place from 1pm to 4.30pm, will include a dog show and food by Cirencester restaurant Made by Bob, as well as face painting, a raffle and auction, stalls and games and cakes and refreshments.

For more information call Liz on 07830108638.