Marc Ching, Unsung Vegan Hero, 2016

Tribute by Tony Kanal, No Doubt

Once in a great while you meet someone who is so committed to a mission so big, it reaffirms the work we all do.

Marc Ching is one of those people. I first met Marc five months ago, and in that short period of time I have come to know one of the most empathetic, compassionate, courageous, and driven humans I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

As founder of Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, Marc’s initial work focused on rescuing and rehabilitating domestic dog abuse cases. He rescued the worst of the worst – dogs missing eyes, dogs missing limbs – and in many cases matched them up with human victims of abuse. But when Marc heard about Yulin, the dog meat festival in China, he had to go and see for himself if this was indeed real. This first trip changed both Marc and the purpose of his foundation. He expanded the mission to document and rescue dogs from the Asian dog meat trade. His work exposes the horrific reality of what happens to these innocent animals due to the terribly misguided (yet commonly held) belief that tortured dog meat tastes better or can provide health benefits.

Since then, Marc has made eight more trips to Asia to document first-hand the torture: dismemberments, burnings, boilings, crucifixions, and electrocutions, where in many cases they are kept alive to endure intolerable pain for sometimes up to 40 hours.

Posing as an undercover buyer, Marc has entered the hell on earth that is dog slaughterhouses. He risks his life on every trip, to bear witness for the victims and to relay their plight to the rest of the world. This has come at great personal expense; financially, physically, and emotionally. What he has seen and experienced will haunt him forever, yet he goes back repeatedly, willing to sacrifice everything to stand up for those who cannot speak. In some cases he is able to rescue dogs, carrying their battered and bloodied bodies to safety with his own hands to local veterinarians, and then brings them to the U.S. to be adopted into loving homes.

Marc shares his experiences with us not only through photos and videos, but also through his writings which transport us into the slaughterhouses, describing the terrifying conditions with such heartfelt eloquence, vulnerability and emotion that we are brought to tears. His poetic prose has garnered him a tremendously faithful following of empathizers on social media, and his tireless advocacy has brought the issue to a far bigger audience, both within the animal rights movement and in the mainstream.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that aside from this noble calling that he has answered, there are many other facets to Marc’s story. He is a father to two young children. He is a successful businessman who owns The Petstaurant in Los Angeles. He is a fourth-generation Japanese Herbalist, macro-biologist, and holistic nutritionist. When not traveling, Marc spends much of his time consulting with the parents of dogs and cats who are in some state of illness, which he does at no cost. On top of that, Marc does hospice work for his clients and makes himself available 24 hours a day, also at no cost.

Marc will be reluctant to accept this award. He doesn’t do any of this for accolades. This is something he does because as a vegan he believes that every single life matters. Because, as he says, “When I look into their eyes, I see hope. I see desperation. I see the same thing that I see when I look into the eyes of my own children – life, compassion, and the belief that a tomorrow remains.”

I can’t think of a more deserving recipient of this award. Congratulations and thank you Marc. You inspire us all.