Activists have launched a renewed campaign calling for the end of the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, where 10,000 dogs and cats are slaughtered each year.
In the latest images from south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, dogs and cats are into cages as preparation begins for beginning of the festival in June.
A new report from Humane Society International (HSI) found the slaughter continues all-year-round in Yulin, with an estimated 300 cats and dogs being butchered each day.
Pictures and video footage taken earlier this month show dogs and cats crammed into tiny cages. Many of them had collars, indicating they pets who had been stolen from families.
Peter Li, HSI's China policy specialist, visited three cat and dog slaughterhouses in Yulin and described the scene as a "nightmare".
Mr Li said he witnessed animals being bludgeoned to death with metal rods before being disemboweled and dismembered in front of the other dogs - some restaurant owners claim the pain and fear makes their adrenaline-rich meat tastier.
He said: “This was one of the most harrowing visits I’ve ever made to Yulin. The dogs and cats I saw were visibly traumatized, their spirits broken from their terrifying ordeal."
He added: "It’s hard to imagine their mental suffering, watching other dogs being killed, disemboweled and dismembered in front of them.
"It was like a scene from a nightmare that will haunt me forever."
Comedian and animal rights campaigner Ricky Gervais has joined with the HSI to once again call for an end to the festival.
An estimated 10-20 million dogs are killed for human consumption every year in China.
Many traders break the law by stealing animals and violating animal welfare guidelines. The trade has been linked to cholera and rabies, according to the World Health Organisation.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies