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Marc Ching On Risking His Life To End Asia’s Dog Meat Trade

By December 19, 2016January 26th, 2024No Comments

“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.”

Marc Ching

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

Background, Context & Reference

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

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Thanks to Jason Camiolo for production, interstitial music and audio engineering; Chris Swan for production assistance & show notes; Shawn Patterson for graphics. Theme music by Ana Leimma.

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