Adoption is the final and most critical step in our 5-Pillar approach. Without adoption, we cannot keep saving lives. Each dog that gets adopted opens the doorway for another dog to be rescued. This pay-it-forward approach implements our save-a-second-life donation. This donation is used to offset the cost of transporting the dog to the designated country where the adopter is located. Transport costs vary as countries and airlines differ in expense associated.
As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeffrey Beri.
Jeffrey Beri is the founder of No Dogs Left Behind, the boots on the ground activists in China fighting on the frontlines to rescue dogs from the illegal dog-meat trade. After leading a historic rescue effort in 2016, which culminated in the transport of 121 Yulin slaughterhouse survivors from China to their forever homes in the US, Jeffrey dedicated his life to this cause.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit how you grew up?
I grew up in a family of pet lovers. My mom and dad would often bring home strays from the streets while commuting to and from NYC for work. I loved every one of them. Our home was always filled with rescue dogs
You are currently leading a social impact organization that is making a difference for our planet. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to change in our world today?
No Dogs Left Behind (NDLB) takes great pride in its interactive communications on almost all social platforms to deliver our message from day one:
- This is a global war against cruelty and a global fight for sustainability.
- No country has the right to recklessly slaughter animals.
- Global animal welfare laws are in order and are required to impact change.
- NDLB fights the fight on the front lines creating sustainable solutions in Asia.
- We don’t believe in bringing armies; we believe in raising them.
Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?
One of the things that inspired me to fight for change was the documentary film called Cowspiracy. I felt the need to fight for change after learning that the leading cause of the deterioration of our planet was due to animal agriculture. Our way of fighting for change is saving the millions of dogs that are brutally tortured and recklessly slaughtered 365 days a year in Asia.
Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?
Yes, there was a moment. My moment came when I learned about the events that take place at a “festival” in China called the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, where dogs are barbarically tortured to death; many stolen from homes, tortured to death and then consumed for meat and their skins sold as rugs. I knew at this moment that we had to do better. I could not stand by silently and let these butchers and traffickers recklessly slaughter these dogs. Fast forward to 2020, it is exactly this type of slaughter and consumption that fueled the pandemic that brought the world to its knees.
Many people don’t know the steps to take to start a new organization. But you did. What are some of the things or steps you took to get your project started?
The first thing I did was to establish the “5 Pillars Approach” of rescue and NDLB has lived by those Pillars ever since. I had a cohesive plan to fight for global animal welfare laws and a sustainable movement. Specifically, I traveled beyond borders to educate volunteers around the world on a global social media platform about the 5 Pillars of rescue in an effort to provide a sustainable solution to not just animal welfare issues, but also sustainable solutions for our planet. In addition to the 5 Pillars Approach, my philosophy has always been focused on the importance of growing armies in the areas where they are needed, not bringing armies to fight their fight. We grow armies in the communities where they are needed.
The pillars are:
- Emergency Response — Using intel from brave activists, the No Dogs Left Behind team awaits critical information needed to conduct an emergency response. Once details have been verified, Jeffrey dispatches and directs his team. Entering slaughterhouses, wet markets and intercepting dog meat trucks along with illegal dog dealers, the team begins securing the area and saving lives. This time critical component is done with precision as lives hang in the balance.
- Shelter Operations Protocol — After the initial rescue, all survivors are moved to one of our refugee bases in either Dayi or Gongyi. Here the dogs are evaluated and separated based on illness, injury or disease. Under our medical protocols, dogs are vaccinated, medically treated and vetted, microchipped, and named. Individual information books are created for each dog. The books are used to keep records of our dogs during the time they are in No Dogs Left Behind’s care and await adoption.
- Education — Through partnerships with the Chinese Agricultural College and the Harrow International School Beijing, No Dogs Left Behind cultivates a hands-on approach to teach students about proper animal care and animal welfare and offers students the opportunity to experience the unique bond between humans and animals. This is essential to our mission as the youth are the future.
- Government Advocacy — Currently China operates with zero animal welfare laws. As some cities move toward a ban of the consumption of dog meat, No Dogs Left Behind advocates for a nationwide ban against this practice. No Dogs Left Behind will remain boots on ground in our fight for a cruelty free and sustainable world.
- Adoption — Adoption is the final and most critical step in our 5-Pillar approach. Without adoption, we cannot keep saving lives. Each dog that gets adopted opens the doorway for another dog to be rescued. This pay-it-forward approach implements our save-a-second-life donation. This donation is used to offset the cost of transporting the dog to the designated country where the adopter is located. Transport costs vary as countries and airlines differ in expense associated
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
It was a large slaughterhouse takedown. We brought in the mayor, villagers, local news and we broadcasted the shutdown of the slaughterhouse. We first gathered the evidence and intel of the dog traffickers stealing dogs, trafficking the dogs to the slaughterhouse, and then the slaughterhouse recklessly and brutually slaughtering the dogs. We did this by activating a large number of volunteers, all who helped in executing the shutdown and confiscating all of the butcher’s dogs and supplies. All of the dogs were all rescued — we confiscated the dogs; we did not pay for the dogs — we NEVER pay for the dogs — and all of the survivors from this slaughterhouse shutdown were adopted into forever homes.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or take away you learned from that?
It wasn’t really when I started, but recently! I was sleeping on the floor with the dogs inside one of the NDLB sanctuaries and the dogs peeing all over me. When we opened up the Gongyi Canctuary, the villagers did not allow me to stay in the village. They protested me living in the NDLB headquarters by shutting off all of my utilities (this included my electric, gas and water) because they felt like foreigners were the cause of the pandemic. I was forced to move into the Gongyi Sanctuary and had no furniture because trucks were prohibited from entering the area, so I slept on the floor with the dogs. I got smart, though, and bought a waterproof blanket and sheet!
None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?
Yes, one of my biggest mentors and guardian angel is Candy Udell. She has been a life- long friend of mine and fellow animal activist. I learned to success by watching and learning from the other big animal rights players, like Soi Dog Foundation, Dogs Trust and Best Friends Animal Society, as well as the Humane Society International, and developed relationships with all of them. In so doing, I was able to understand their positions and clearly differentiate NDLB and become the leader in the dog trafficking crisis in Asia, better known as the dog meat trade.
Are there three things the community, society, or politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
For 2021, I plan on meeting with US Senators and Congressmen who are proactive with animal welfare and protection issues to discuss stronger animal welfare laws. I also plan to host roundtable discussion to understand why, even in the midst of a global pandemic such as Covid where the reckless slaughtering of animals in open market poses a grave concern to the health and safety of the global community, no one is doing anything to stop these atrocities. Case in point, the Yulin Dog Meat “Festival” is just a matter of weeks away.
How would you articulate how a business can become more profitable by being more sustainable and more environmentally conscious? Can you share a story or example?
NDLB will be launching a sustainable product line this year: we will be partnering with a chef to provide fresh vegan dog food, and gravies, treats, band bones. We also offer merchandise product lines that are sustainable and extremely versatile for animal lovers,
- Creative ways to incorporate their dogs in their daily lives as we are coming to the end of the Covid lockdowns
- Volunteer dog walkers / day care
- Think tank for sustainable alliances
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
I would not have changed anything. I am blessed to have amazing volunteers and activists who have dedicated their lives to change like me. I, myself, can always be better, and I constantly strive to learn from others and take constructive criticism.
If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?
This is a global war against cruelty! The planet simply cannot sustain this pace of destruction through animal agriculture, so we have no choice but to change. Change can happen not just by participating boots on the ground shutting down slaughterhouses. Change can also happen by something as simple and easy as purchasing products that are made sustainably; buying items that were not tested on animal; going vegan or limiting the amount of meat you consume. There are so many ways to effectuate change every day. We just have to open our eyes to it.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
We fight the fight on the frontlines, and we fight the good fight for change. I live by this moto every single day. This fight is not about race; religion; sex or politics; this fight is about the protection of our animals and the protection of our planet.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)
Elon Musk — his plan is so much broader than a sustainable car. He is going to revolutionize electricity through creating energy sources from our own lifestyle. All of these things point to the same thing: a sustainable solution for our planet.
I would also love to meet the founder of Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, the makers of vegan hamburgers. Producing an alternative to beef and sausage is brilliant and solves two issues: animal agriculture and it impact on the environment and animal welfare concerns.
How can our readers follow you online?
On all of our social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, TikTok and Twitter, or on our website at www.nodogsleftbehind.com.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!