New images are coming out of China that show roughly 500 dogs stuffed so tightly in a cargo truck that they can barely move. The helpless animals were reportedly on their way to slaughter to be turned into meat for China’s disturbing dog meat trade.

While we can’t show the photos due to copyright restrictions, all of them can be viewed here.

More than 20 animal rights activities attempted to stop the vehicle at a service station on the Jingha Highway but were ultimately unsuccessful as they were attacked by a group of thugs and beaten back, the Daily Mail reports.

Some of the dogs were already dead and others were severely ill due to the appalling treatment and the hot weather.

The next stop for the desperate animals who were clinging to life will likely be dinner plates at restaurants throughout the country.

“We feel very powerless. God please save the dogs,” one activist reportedly said.

The incident wasn’t the first time that China’s animal rights activists have attempted to save innocent dogs from being inhumanely rounded up and slaughtered for meat.

Sickeningly, after an animal is chosen for sale, it is bludgeoned with an iron bar, bringing it close to death before it is purchased. Truly heartbreaking.

The Daily Mail has more details:

One group was more successful earlier this year when a truck carrying 505 canines packed into just 156 tiny cages, was stopped on Yunnan Province’s highway from Fumin to Kunming after other drivers spotted its sickening cargo.

Protesters posted pictures and comments about the load on the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, Weibo, prompting the police to stop the lorry at the next toll gate.

The trade and transportation of animals in China has come in for criticism by campaigners in the West.

Some of the huge markets which sell dogs and cats to restaurants for slaughter and human consumption came under international spotlight several years ago after being the suspected origin of the deadly SARS virus.

In one of the large markets, on a 60-acre site in Guangzhou, China, cages of dogs and cats – some of them bred as domestic pets – are piled high.