“I’m a huge believer in humanity. I wake up and look at my children and I see something that’s so pure; at that age they don’t know what violence is; and they don’t know how to hate yet. And I think that is what inspires me to do the things that I do.”
This week’s guest is a straight up hero.
One of the most courageous and committed animal rights activists I have ever met, Marc Ching (@animalhopeandwellness) is the founder of Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, a non-profit devoted to the rescue and rehabilitation of dogs abused and often tortured at the hands of the Asian dog meat trade.
A family man, successful small business owner and animal lover who has been treating dogs (and humans) for years as a holistic nutritionist, in 2011 Marc began using his skills to rescue and rehabilitate abused dogs in need and place them into homes — work he does primarily in and around his home in Los Angeles.
But Marc’s evolution into an ardent animal rights activist didn’t begin until 2015, when he heard about something called the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China.
He understood that dog meat is simply part of the regional cuisine across many parts of Asia. What he didn’t understand were the reports of mistreatment and abuse. So he decided to infiltrate the festival to learn more.
What Marc discovered was an utterly horrific, systemic practice of torture far more pervasive than anything he could have previously imagined.
Life for Marc would never be the same again.
According to the Humane Society, 30 million dogs are slaughtered every year across Asia with an estimated 10 million per year in China alone. A significant portion of these animals are brutally tortured — often burned and boiled alive prior to death — a practice attributable to the bizarre and misguided belief that tortured dog meat tastes better and provides enhanced health benefits.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Attending Yulin transformed Marc from an essentially normal, suburban family man into a man obsessed. Over the last two years, Marc has devoted all his free time and resources to combating the Asian dog meat trade. Posing undercover as as a wealthy dog meat buyer, he has traveled extensively across China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, South Korea and Indonesia to document and expose the inhuman practices of this barbaric industry.
This is dangerous work. Marc has been chased, harassed, beat up and even shot. But to date, he has saved over 1,000 dogs, many on his own dime. More importantly, his work has been essential in catalyzing global awareness of dog meat trade practices, which in turn has led to legislative and regulatory reform.
There is something undoubtedly heroic about Marc. But it’s a heroism that comes at a cost. This work has traumatized him. Perhaps even permanently damaged him. He’s made peace with the trade-off. Maybe that makes him even more heroic. I don’t know.
Mark’s work has been extensively profiled in outlets that include the New York Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Hollywood Reporter, The Telegraph, The Independent, Buzzfeed, and even Breitbart.
It’s an honor to celebrate the difficult work that Marc does. My hope is that this conversation will raise additional awareness around wrongs we must collectively work to correct.
NOTE: The subject matter of today’s conversation is disturbing. It’s an emotional conversation that traverses sensitive issues. That said, I believe it’s an important conversation to have as conscious, global citizens. A conversation I don’t think we can or should shy away from.
On that note, I encourage all of you to listen and listen with an open mind.
Peace + Plants,
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The Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation is a non-profit organization focused solely on rescuing abused and neglected animals. They rescue them, provide full rehabilitation services, and then work to find them loving families. To help or to learn more, visit animalhopeandwellness.org
Background, Context & Reference
- Connect With Marc: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook
- PetStaurant: Real food tailored specifically to help dogs grow and stay healthy: thepetstaurant.com
- FossumCreative: Asian Dog Meat Trade: An Interview with Marc Ching [VIDEO]
- NYTimes: From Dog Farms in South Korea to New Lives as Pets Abroad by Choe Sang-Hun
- NYTimes: China’s Dog Meat Festival Is Again at Hand, and Opponents Are Lining Up by Shaojie Huang
- NYDailyNews: SEE IT: Man rescues 1,000 dogs from China’s controversial dog meat festival — WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT by Kate Feldman
- LAWeekly: Marc Ching Goes Undercover to Rescue Hundreds of Dogs From Asian Slaughterhouses by Hayley Fox
- Forbes: Are U.S.-Based Animal Rights Activists Keeping China’s Most Notorious Dog Meat Festival Alive? By Casey Hall
- BuzzFeed: This Man Is Risking His Own Life To Save Dogs From The Meat Industry by Stephanie McNeal & Jordan Shalhoub
- Konbini: Animal Rights Activist Saves Thousands Of Dogs From China’s Dog Meat Festival by Matthew Kirby
- Entrepreneur: This Entrepreneur Goes Undercover to Rescue Dogs From Torture in Asia by Joan Oleck
- InsideEdition: American Travels to Dog Meat Festival in China to Rescue More Than 1,000 Canines by Johanna Li
- Dogster: Marc Ching Risks His Life to Save Dogs From the Meat Trade in Asia by Lisa Plummer Savas
- Telegraph: Activists rescue 1,000 dogs from controversial dog meat festival by Adam Boult & Neil Connor
- LAYoga: Marc Ching: Commitment to Action by Heidi Rayden
- Independent: Yulin Dog Meat Festival 2016: Animal activists save caged dogs from slaughter by Emma Henderson
- FOX11: Sherman Oaks man starts rescue of abused animals around the world by Gina Silva, Jeffrey Thomas DeSocio
- Breitbart: California Man Saves Dogs from Puppy Mills in Asia by Adelle Nazarian
- HollywoodReporter: Matt Damon, Rooney Mara Lead All-Star Plea to Stop Brutal Dog Slaughter in China by Seth Abramovitch
- TheDodo: He Literally Risks His Life Over And Over To Save Dogs by Jessi Stafford
- Mashable: Man frees 1,000 dogs from China’s dog meat festival by Victoria Ho
- TheSun: DEATH PANTRY Horrific video shows pups packed into storeroom waiting to be butchered for the Yulin Dog Meat Festival
- Good: Man Rescues 1,000 Dogs From China’s Dog Meat Festival by Eric Pfeiffer
- PollinationProject: Marc Ching, Unsung Vegan Hero, 2016 by Tony Kanal
- HumaneSocietyInternational: Just Weeks Ahead of South Korea’s Bok Nal Days of Dog Meat Eating, HSI Rescues 171 Dogs, Shuts Down Dog Meat Farm
- AnimalAsia.org: Chinese animal charities urge animal lovers to stop buying dogs in Yulin
- Crossroads: a plant-based restaurant located in Los Angeles founded by Chef Tal Ronnen—crossroadskitchen.com
Notable People Discussed
- Chris DeRose: animal rights activist, recipient of the 1997 ‘Courage of Conscience’ International Peace Award, and founder of Last Chance for Animals
- Alcee Hastings: the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 20th congressional district, serving in Congress since 1993
- Pat Brown: former Stanford biochemistry professor and founder of Impossible Foods, a company that develops plant-based meat and dairy products made without animals
Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy
- RRP #035: Gene Baur On Farm Sanctuary On Factory Farming, Ag-Gag Bills, Health & Consumer Choice
- RRP #091: Keegan Kuhn & Kip Andersen, filmmakers of Cowspiracy
- RRP #138: How To Live More In Alignment With Your Values With Gene Baur
- RRP #176: Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, Cowspiracy: How Animal Agriculture Is Destroying The Planet & What You Can Do About It
- RRP #226: Moby On Transforming Electronic Music, Elevating Consciousness & Saving The Planet
- RRP #236: Andrew Morgan On The True Cost Of Fast Fashion: The Ethical & Environmental Price Of Clothing
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