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Dog Meat Festival Must End, Say Activists in China

Dog Meat Festival Must End, Say Activists in China

Every year, the residents of Yulin, a small city in southern China, hold a dog meat festival to celebrate the summer solstice. This year’s event falls on this Friday, June 21, and animal rights activists have launched a huge effort to stop this “bloody celebration.”

Activists have protested on Weibo (China’s equivalent of Twitter, which is banned there) and also rapped against it, emphasizing that dogs are human’s friends and companions. One activist, “Alalei” (as she identified herself on a pet forum), created a White House petition that was headlined “please help us stop the Yulin Festival of eating dogs in Guangxi province. It is bloody and disregards life.” As she says in the South China Morning Post, “this petition isn’t meant for political reasons. I simply hope our government will stop turning a blind eye to this horrible tradition.”

According to local culture, eating dog meat can ward off disease and “evil spirits,” as well as increase men’s sexual performance. A program by Yulin TV shows residents eating dog meat and exhorting its benefits. In a grisly scene, a chef is shown butchering a dead dog (one of many on a table in his restaurant kitchen) and cooking it.

Yulin is not the only city where dog meat is widely consumed. People in Zhejiang, Guangxi and Guangdong province are “also known to be avid consumers of dog meat,” according to the South China Morning Post.

Mo Yingran, an animal rights activist based in Guangzhou, actually sought to investigate the festival last year. Posing as a potential investor, he was able to gain access to the Yulin government’s headquarters. When he explained his and other activists’ objections to the dog meat event, he was told that “they had to respect local culture, and would be willing to launch a public awareness campaign to remind people of the risks of eating unhealthy meat.” Yulin officials refused to ban the event and insisted that they had had nothing to do with organizing it.

Mo’s concern about the health risks of eating dog meat stem from his investigations into where and how suppliers for the Yulin event acquired the dog meat. While the government claims that it comes from local farmers who raise dogs specifically to be butchered, it is thought that more than a few of the dogs are strays or have been abducted from other parts of China. Notably, one seller whom Mo was questioning at a market “became suspicious and refused to answer his questions.”

Many dogs sold to restaurants have been stolen from homes or taken from the streets. They are then brought to cities via cages loaded onto dirty and overcrowded trucks. As many of these animals are ill — with rabies or other contagious diseases — they could indeed pose real risks to consumers.

Commenting that “culture and tradition should not be used as an excuse for brutality,” Deng says that the Animals Asia Foundation has sent a letter to the Yulin government.

Alalei’s White House petition was recently taken down as it failed to gather the 100,000 signatures needed for a response from the Obama administration. It seems to be too late to stop this year’s June 21 event in Yulin. Creating a White House petition was an “unorthodox method frowned upon by the country’s police and censors,” as the South China Morning Post says. But it does show the determination of animal rights activists to put a stop to the Yulin event.

By spreading the word about what amounts to a celebration of cruelness, we can help activists in China end a tradition that has gone on for too long.

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Photo via ming1967/Flickr

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192 comments

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2:08PM PDT on Jun 20, 2014

The people here need to know/learn that all animals (meat raised or pets especially dogs and cats) do not need to be EATEN in this time. Also, they believe old truths that beaten, hanging or being boiled alive is better for the meat eater. AT LEAST, they must eat them, find a way to slaughter them in a more humane way. . I dont condone eating them or slaughter but animals die here horrificly in front of pets alive.

9:09AM PDT on Jun 17, 2014

Abuse and torture always must be condemned. Time this world starting putting COMPASSION ahead of profit. This is abuse, nothing more. It is true that China has the second highest rate of rabies worldwide, as well as Ecoli. Children are also exposed to incredible cruelty and will then regard violence as normal. We must end this!

5:52AM PDT on Jun 16, 2014

Hopefullly the younger generation will have more love in their souls to start protecting these pets that give them so much. Animals are so very grateful. Thank you to all the ones helping this cause... stay diligent and remember we are all fighting for ending this and many injustices towards OUR animals.

3:44PM PDT on Sep 3, 2013

sadly noted

11:41AM PDT on Sep 3, 2013

Disturbing!

7:17PM PDT on Aug 18, 2013

so "we don't have a right to judge them"... Sorry to disappoint your blindness to pure evil, but this is barbarism straight from the depths of hell. It is a universally acknowledged evil, animals themselves don't commit such atrocities and recognize what these so call humans are doing as evil things. It doesn't matter if it's disguised as "culture"..if you "don't have a right to judge them", you also don't have a right to judge Ted Bundy, or Japan's massacre of 30 million, or the World War II Holocaust. Torture and slaughter and kidnapping of millions of pets is a crime so horrendous, even thinking of an excuse for it is itself an evil thing. There's also no excuse for the globally practiced crime of livestock abuse, but that is not going to be an escape for the perverted and criminal behavior of China and its Asian partners.

6:08PM PDT on Jul 30, 2013

While this is cruel and barbaric , I don't think we have a right to judge them unless you are a vegetarian or vegan (like myself). What i don't understand is how is this any different than a cow, ,why is it okay to love one animal and eat another.

2:49PM PDT on Jul 29, 2013

What is the difference between a cow and a dog ???

JUST LOOK AT THEIR GOD DAMN EYES !!!

1- A dog is extremely aware about their surroundings and about what may happen to them. Many times dogs are said to behave exactly as human babies/kids. A cow just stares to nowhere all the time and barely reacts to anything.

2- The chinese people kill the dogs in the most barbaric, demonic ways possible. They intentionally cause as much pain as possible before killing the dogs, while for cows, the objective is always to cause an instant, painless death.

3- Each cow has 1000000x more meat than a dog.

4- "The dog is the only creature in the planet Earth that loves you more than he loves himself"

1:47AM PDT on Jul 26, 2013

Dog, cow, what's the difference? Indians see cows as sacred...should we stop eating cows on account of that? We see dogs as sacred...should we dictate to other countries because of that? I think not. Before we concentrate on other people's problems we should concentrate on our own, we also slaughter animals on an industrial scale, both for domestic and also for overseas markets, this article is just a veiled excuse for 'China-bashing'. This author is always doing it, she may have some greviances against them, personal reasons or may be just like a lot of people...naturally racist against them because they are the new 'players' on the economic world stage, and as we know, there are always 'player haters'.

12:49PM PDT on Jul 24, 2013

It has been long time that we should be Boycotting China and Indonesia; however, it is going to next to impossible to boycott China, with so many products imported from China, from USA 'Capitalist' Corporations! As a regular campaigner (which includes protesting, sign petitions and Etc.) I hate when people say Boycotts are wrong and do not work. Boycotts are at times they only thing that is fair (if you chose to work in such horrible corporations then I never feel sorry for you) & works.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
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