Ricky Gervais leads campaign against Chinese Yulin Dog Meat Festival that slaughters thousands of canines (WARNING: Contains Graphic Images) BY Joel Landau NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Published: Tuesday, June 16, 2015, 1:49 PM Updated: Tuesday, June 16, 2015, 2:09 PM JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images British actor Ricky Gervais is encouraging people to stop the upcoming dog meat festival in China. Ricky Gervais is one of the most recognizable leaders of a growing international campaign to stop a Chinese festival that calls for thousands of dogs to be cruelly and sometimes brutally slaughtered for their meat. The actor called on his Twitter followers, who number more than eight million, to decry the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, calling the organizers "disgusting" and "sub human." "They steal people's pets to torture & eat. What would you do to someone who you caught torturing your dog? I hope you'd stop them somehow," wrote Gervais, whose Twitter picture includes a four-legged friend. The Humane Society International said the animals, "many still wearing their collars," are being transported to the city in the country's southern Guangxi province to be slaughtered and then eaten during the annual event. The group is raising money to intercept trucks filled with dogs, shut down intensive dog meat farms and train officials to enforce laws. Humane Society International said thousands of dogs, many of whom are pets to local residents, will be transported and eaten. Gervais gave a horrific account of what will happen to the animals. "They believe torturing the dog makes the meat tastier," he wrote. "They beat them, burn them, skin & boil them alive!" He also posted pictures of some of the canines who were subjected to such treatment, and apologized to his followers but said he felt compelled to show the true horror of the event. "I was really worried about tweeting those horrific pics from #YulinDogMeatFestival, but your compassion and support is heartwarming. Thanks," he wrote. They believe torturing the dog makes the meat tastier. They beat them, burn them, skin & boil them alive! He also said he saw video of these acts from the HSI and it broke his heart. "I will never forget the look of bewilderment and fear on the faces of these poor animals-the dogs and cats await a horrible fate. No animal deserves to be treated like this," he said in a statement through the organization. A Change.Org petition to stop the massacre has received more than 700,000 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon. Humane Society International spokesman Raul Arce-Contreras told the Daily News the group has not measured the impact Gervais’ involvement in the cause but since he posted it on social media a day ago their petition has been shared thousands of times. “Having the support of a global star like Ricky Gervais always massively elevates an issue and we're hugely grateful for that,” he said. Humane Society International sponsored a workshop to help people in China fight the event, and protests have been planned in 50 Chinese cities. The agency said that as many as 10,000 canines could be killed for this event and noted that up to 10 million dogs are killed in China for meat every year. The festival began in 2010 by dog meat traders. HSI reports that dog meat is not a mainstream delicacy, but part of a subculture. The organization was able to save two cats and two dogs in the country last month, and named one of the canines "Little Ricky" in Gervais' honor. Gervais said one of the cats was so frightened that she climbed the wall of her cage to try to escape. "I cannot imagine anything so dreadful happening to my cat Ollie-I would do anything to protect her," he said in the statement. "Little Ricky and his pals are the lucky ones. They're now safe thanks to HSI, but thousands of others won't be saved unless we do more to stop this."