Generally, I do not pay much attention to media outlet Daily Mail, because they are one of the worst offenders of racial bias. So I wasn’t surprised to see a full blown investigative feature from Daily Mail claiming Marc Ching’s dog rescue operation was built on lies, fraud and deceit. I started to read it and then stopped halfway as it started to sound so much like a smear campaign against the hard work Marc and his volunteers have done to save dogs all over the world who were looking at certain death. And where I don’t think their operations are full proof perfect, I do get a sense there has been a smear campaign.
Now if you don’t remember much about what bought Marc Ching and his organisation to fame, I will remind you. The Yulin Dog Festival in China really caused outrage all over the world, where the primary purpose of the festival is to prepare meals with dog meat as the focal ingredient. The problem was not really with eating dog meat, but it was how the dogs were slaughtered prior to being cooked. Many were put in cages, tortured and cooked and skinned alive. It was cruelty to animals at its worst. Marc Ching and his #TheCompassionProject team of volunteers bought out 6 slaughter houses in China, rescuing around 1000 dogs. In many media reports at the time stated that Marc was almost shot at and assaulted a number of times working on his labour of love. Obviously, many dogs didn’t survive due to suffering prior severe injuries, but many have been re-homed in China and overseas. Here are the two YOMYOMF posts which were written about this in June this year. Please click here to read the first post written about Marc Ching, and here for the second one which is an update from his dog rescues.
The Daily Mail article, has made huge assertions that Marc Ching’s operation was riddled with lies and deceit with conflicts with partners, volunteers and donors which apparently broke apart the organisation. Again, if you read into it, clearly there are huge issues, but it does come out as baseless in that it was purely based on statements by disgruntled volunteers, donors and organisations who have questionable processes and are embroiled in fraud charges. It doesn’t seem to have much supporting evidence from more objective sources and it appears some of Marc’s words have been misquoted or misconstrued, according to his Facebook post. Here are a few excerpts from the Daily Mail investigative piece:
We found that:
Many of the dogs died after being locked in cages and denied basic treatment and injections that might have saved them;
Volunteers were left behind desperately trying to save the dogs’ lives, while Ching flew back to the US after the rescue suffering from depression;
Up to two-thirds of the dogs are now believed to be dead, with the British head of an animal charity involved in dealing with the pitiful aftermath saying: ‘Those poor dogs just went from one hell to another’;
Questions have been raised over shock videos used in the celebrity fundraising appeal of dogs being tortured, burned and boiled alive;
Only a few dozen of the 1,000 dogs made it to new homes overseas, and two international charities, including British-run Soi Dog, are paying for the majority of the dogs still alive to be taken out of China.
In the shambolic rescue that followed, Ching’s volunteers took 300 dogs to a shelter in the city of Nanning, 130 miles from Yulin, set up by his charity the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation. A further 700 went to Buddhist sanctuaries after Ching struck a deal with monks to buy the dogs between them.
Within days, dogs with disease and distemper began dying en masse in their cages at one of the Buddhist sanctuaries where – unknown to Ching – religious beliefs dictate that animals are denied any treatment and instead nature is allowed to take its course.
Yes, I know when you read this it sounds pretty serious, and the “investigative” assertions get worse. It made Marc look as though he was just doing this for the media fanfare or for narcissistic purposes – taking pictures of his rescued dogs, then letting them die a slow and painful death as an example. Also the article claims that the Marc’s organisation has amassed a huge amount of donations and questioned where the money has gone to. Obviously this sounds like a case of donors and working partner relationships gone wrong. Here are a few more assertions made by Daily Mail:
The chaos worsened after Ching flew back to the US and then cut off funding to the Nanning shelter after a spectacular falling out with businessman Jeffrey Beri, the man leading his volunteer team in China.
Ching accused Beri of misusing funds and sexually harassing staff. Beri, who denies the allegations, says he has since spent £50,000 of his own money to stay in China to care for the surviving dogs and find them homes overseas.
Beri said: ‘The only reason I am here is to save as many of the remaining dogs that I can. When this is over, I would like a complete audit of what has been donated to and spent by [Ching’s] charity.’
The Soi Dog Foundation, run by Briton John Dalley, is paying for 70 dogs in Nanning to be sent to foster homes overseas at a cost of around £1,500 per dog. The Humane Society International has meanwhile taken in 120 dogs and is funding their export to new homes overseas. Another 90 remain in Changsha with Ching’s charity.
A female volunteer from the US, who gave her name only as Sarah because of abuse and threats she says she has received from some of Ching’s supporters, said the June rescue went disastrously wrong from the outset.
‘We thought the rescued dogs were all going to a safe house in Nanning,’ she said. ‘Instead, 700 of them ended up at Buddhist sanctuaries and most died because they didn’t get the care they needed.
‘If they had been left in the slaughterhouses to be hit on the head and killed, it would have been better than the suffering they went through.’
Sarah said she and other volunteers were also ordered to leave 100 rescued dogs in their cages in Nanning from 7am until 4pm in sweltering conditions so that Ching could be photographed with the animals.
Ching ordered Sarah and other volunteers to leave on June 23 but she refused and decided to stay on to care for the desperately ill dogs.
She believes between up to 700 of the 1,000 dogs originally rescued are now dead. Beri estimates around two-thirds died.
There are more assertions made in the article, but I will leave the link here for you to read the rest for yourself. I decided to then go and check out Marc Ching’s Facebook page to see if I could find some information from his side of the story. Even though he was interviewed in the Daily Mail piece, I kind of felt he may have been misquoted and his words misconstrued. Here is what Daily Mail printed as to what he said at their interview:
In a telephone interview from California, Ching admitted making mistakes with his Yulin rescue but insisted that he did not regret it. ‘All of those dogs were supposed to die,’ he said.
He admitted he ‘didn’t know the philosophy of the Buddhist monks’ and hadn’t realised the dogs sent to them would be left to die.
He estimated about a third of the dogs died and claimed that some had been distributed to local animal welfare groups to be adopted within China, explaining the disparity between his estimate on survivor numbers and those of his volunteers.
Ching insisted the celebrity appeal did not raise much money.
However, a video of him in a slaughterhouse in Yulin that was released days later raised hundreds of thousands of pounds, according to his assistant.
He said the videos on his website were filmed while he was posing as a meat trader to get into slaughterhouses and was unable to rescue dogs without blowing his cover.
Marc Ching made a public response to the claims made in the article on his Facebook page, which has over 45,000 followers – he does have a lot of support.
In response to the article written about myself and the foundation:
I was contacted by a reporter that writes for a tabloid newspaper earlier this week. After sharing his email with a number of trusted sources, I was advised that his intent was to write a negative article about the foundation.
Our post today and posts in the future will aim to speak about the groups involved, the lies postulated by the writer, and the man he identifies in the article whom conjured up the article in tandem.
Even though we presented concrete and hard evidence against what the assailant claimed, the writer still moved forward with the false article for the tabloid paper he authors for. I recorded the conversation I had with the reporter which I will post, provided bank records, and sent a litany of evidence against the claims being made.
This is interesting, because it contradicts just about everything the Daily Mail article stated. Those who were interviewed as I stated were either disgruntled volunteers or are embroiled in some court case, so they have reasons to feel angry. And even though this was touted as an “investigative” piece, it doesn’t have that much meat on it to be deemed “investigative”. A lot seems to be hearsay, and I wonder whether this was just a smear campaign ploy, considering the British partner is a businessman and most likely extremely well connected – so I am not surprised this article was only printed by Daily Mail.
Anyways, I do not want to make a decision for you, but present both sides and allow you to make your own judgments and observations. If you know anymore information on this, please feel free to leave a comment here.
If you would like to read the Daily Mail piece, please click on: ‘Those poor dogs went from one hell to another’: Hundreds of animals that Hollywood crusader vowed to rescue from the dinner table in China were later left to die in sweltering cages
Images via Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation