A Highgate cat rescuer has pledged an annual four day sponsored fast to raise awareness of the "barbaric" dog and cat meat trade across Asia.

Donna Lewis, who ran a boarding cattery until very recently, will not eat any food for 100 hours to raise money for No To Dog Meat (NTDM), a charity dedicated to re-educating those working in the brutal trade and putting a stop to the cruelty involved.

Donna and her colleague Sarah Furlong fasted for a total of 96 hours in June raising £2,300 for the animal rights charity.

The aim of the fast was to highlight the inhumanity of the annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival in the Guangxi region of China, which is held on June 21 each year and results in the deaths of between 10,000 and 15,000 dogs, in addition to cats and other animals.

The pair can only consume water and clear soup while on the challenge.

Islington Gazette: Donna Lewis's step-granddaughter with Lilibet the rescue rabbitDonna Lewis's step-granddaughter with Lilibet the rescue rabbit (Image: NTDM)

Donna, who has worked in the animal rescue sector for more than 30 years, first found out about NTDM and their campaign to end the cruelty that is Yulin in 2020 after seeing a social media post by The Fellowship of Ravens group based in America.

"We first took part two years ago after seeing online that the Fellowship of Ravens were fasting for 96 hours to spread the word about Yulin, as that's often the amount of time the poor animals have to go without food and water," said Donna.

"We raised £1,800 for NTDM and that enabled them to buy a new van for a volunteer in China who works to negotiate the release of the animals destined for the meat market.

"Sarah and I are massive animal-lovers and we feel very passionate about the welfare work being done to stop Yulin once and for all. Thanks to NTDM and other charities, the festival is getting smaller each year.

"It is absolutely barbaric and tragically, the animals killed at the market are often pets which have been stolen from people's homes. Next year, we are upping our fast to 100 hours and we hope to raise even more money for this really important cause."

Islington Gazette: Donna Lewis with Old Boy, an 11 year old rescue cat.Donna Lewis with Old Boy, an 11 year old rescue cat. (Image: NTDM)

Julia de Cadenet, NTDM chief executive, said: "Thank you so much to our wonderful 'cat ladies' Donna and Sarah, who have made such a tremendous ongoing effort for the charity."