A 600-year old dog meat festival in eastern China has been banned (WARNING: very disturbing images), potentially saving the lives of 15,000 dogs that would have been eaten during the three day October event. Reportedly, festival goers enjoyed ending the dogs lives, and preparing them to be consumed. If you are a dog lover, you probably don’t want to see the photos from the news source above. They are very disturbing.
Dog eating still takes place in parts of China, and because it has an enormous human population, the number of dogs being consumed could still be very high. However, the fact such a large, public event that is also extremely cruel could be banned speaks to somewhat of a shift in attitude towards canines. As more and more Chinese experience middle class incomes, they are keeping dogs as pets. Some of them had eaten dog meat years ago, but now they are repulsed by the practice. About 120,000 pet dogs live in the city of Shenzen. One local resident, who owns a golden retriever said, “I have eaten dog meat, once when I was young. But now I could never eat dog meat. When others eat dog meat I also tell them they shouldn’t. When you really understand dogs you could never eat their meat. You could never be so cruel to your most loyal friend. ” (Source: CNN.com)
Another reason dogs are becoming seen as pets, rather than food, is the large number of migrant workers who are separated from their families and former communities who experience chronic loneliness. Dogs are filling the emotional and social void for some of these isolated people.
Image Credit: Elf