Thousands of helpless dogs and cats have been squeezed into rusty cages to be sold off, butchered and boiled in China's infamous Yulin festival.
The heartbreaking images from a market in southern China show up to four dogs crammed into single cages a day ahead of the annual event, where as many as 10,000 cats and dogs are slaughtered and eaten.
Some of the animals pictured are still wearing collars - suggesting they were stolen from loving homes - as they await their fate of being beaten to death then having their throats slit in street markets or slaughterhouses.
Animals Asia is among several animal welfare groups crusading against the event, which has sparked global outrage and demands the Chinese government ban the consumption of dog and cat meat.
Animals Asia CEO Jill Robinson told Daily Mail Australia the campaign against the festival is part of a broader battle against dog eating in China, where 10 million canines are eaten annually.
'The festival is horrific, but the issue goes far beyond this event alone. Ending the Yulin Dog Meat Festival is an significant first step to ending dog and cat meat eating across China,' she said.
'Members of our team met with Government Yulin officials ahead of this years event and they agreed to help crackdown on the practice, but there is still a way to go before it is officially outlawed.'
Research from the group found the vast majority of animals used in the festival are stolen - a method that is cheaper and easier than farming.
'Stealing dogs is quicker, easier and more profitable than farming them. Many of the dogs are wearing collars and are visibly confused, which is evidence supported by our research showing the majority are stolen. This makes the festival a social welfare issue as well as one of cruelty.'
Many of the stolen animals die on long journeys from across China while others suffer horrendous injuries that they cannot stand in the filthy pens they are confined to.
Once the festival kicks off the dogs are clubbed over the head or have their throats slit before they are thrown into boiling water. They later have their hair plucked off and organs removed before being grilled and eaten.