Is the Yulin Dog Meat Festival Really Any Different Than What Goes on in the US?

Editor’s note: This Care2 favorite was originally posted on June 16, 2015.

All over the world, people celebrate June 21. That date signifies the summer solstice, or the longest day of the year, with 16 hours of sunlight. While some individuals prefer to celebrate alone, a number of major festivals usher in the first day of summer.

One such celebration is gathering quite a bit of attention, but not for anything that has to do with the solstice.

Guangxi Zhuang, in southern China, is home to the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. During this time, more than 10,000 dogs and cats are killed, cooked and consumed for this decades-old tradition. The meat provided for the festival includes stray dogs, as well as pets stolen from their families. In addition to the obvious cruelty these dogs experience, many of the strays have diseases that are dangerous to humans who consume the meat. The festival is essentially one big health code violation.

While many cultures view dogs and cats as companions and family members, some believe eating dog meat will banish disease and evil ghosts from their lives. Additionally, it’s believed that dog meat can boost sexual drive in men.

Supporters argue that the festival is part of the area’s culture and a tradition that spans years. But Deng Yidan, a spokesperson from Hong Kong-based Animals Asia Foundation, rejects that notion. Yidan explains, “Culture and tradition should not be used as an excuse for brutality.”

A number of celebrities have spoken out against the festival, including actors Ricky Gervais and David Soul and musician, Duffy. They are using their influence as public figures to ask their fans and followers to sign petitions and raise awareness.

While bills have been drafted in China to punish animal abusers and outlaw selling dog or cat meat, they have not been signed into law by the National People’s Congress. The country currently has no animal welfare laws, making the festival technically legal in China.

The festival particularly hits a soft spot for those who share their homes with dogs. However, if you look at it another way, is it really that much different than celebrating bacon or having rib festivals in other cultures?

Between 2001 and 2009, bacon demand grew by 25 percent. The meat has become a novelty item, and it’s even added to cupcakes, lip balm, soda and deodorant. The source of this celebrated meat comes from an animal that is just as — if not more – intelligent as dogs.

Pigs can recognize themselves in a mirror, learn commands and tricks and can even play computer games. Unlike dogs, they are valued less for their intelligence and companionship and more for their meat. In the United States, more than 110 million pigs are slaughtered for food every year. In comparison, 20 million dogs are slaughtered per year in China.

What these conflicting cultures teach us, however, is that human relationships with animals are very complicated. A person could be speaking out against dog slaughter while pork, chicken, beef or fish sits on their plate.

Take Action!

Perhaps one way to protest the Yulin dog festival is to adopt a plant-based diet, which cuts down on the number animals slaughtered per year and minimizes demand on the meat industry. You can also sign the Care2 petition below calling for an end to the brutal tradition.

Creating a Care2 petition is easy. If you have an issue you care deeply about, why not start your own petition? Here are some guidelines to help you get started and soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.


Photo Credit: Animal Equality International/Flickr


Marie W
Marie W24 days ago

Thank you.

Mary Wright
Mary Wright6 months ago

The Yulin dog torture festival is not about eating meat - it's about celebrating torture and cruelty. The people are there to make videos of dogs being tortured, not to eat. It's the cruelty that draws huge, laughing crowds. I don't know anything like that going on in America. When this report tries to equate dog torture with eating meat, you are making excuses for these monstrous people and you are guilty of condemning these poor, helpless dogs. It's shameful, and now Care 2 has posted fake news saying that S. Korea has outlawed the eating of dogs and cats. I'm going to unsubscribe to Care2 because you're dishonest instigators.

Crystal G
Crystal G6 months ago

Nope. That's why I'm not racist about what I'll eat. I'll eat anything.

Nicole Heindryckx
Nicole Heindryckx6 months ago

@ Chrissie R : You are right !! And it was not my intention to treat ALL Americans as huge meat consumers. Had to think first. And in many cases, I am the one who is saying : Don't judge all the Chinese for ... or all the Vietnamese for ... Sorry again. Was NOT the intention to offend anyone.

Chrissie R
Chrissie R6 months ago

@Nicole H. Don't judge ALL Americans by the actions of a few....

Chad A
Chad Anderson6 months ago

Thank you.

Nicole H
Nicole Heindryckx6 months ago

2.- I strongly PROTEST against the way of killing or slaughtering, be it the dogs and cats in Yulin or our pigs, cows, goats, sheep, chickens, etc...
Both are very stressful and painful to the animals. Even if they paid me $ 1,000 per day for working in a slaughter house, I would flatly refuse. Rather some dry bred and water then making myself culpable of such cruelties against animals. And whether it are farm animals or pets, for me it is the same. The stress, the pain and the brutal way of handling if even painful for both of them. Animals should not be pushed together, hearing all the terrible noises, being beaten and kicked to move quicker, or to stand up again, etc.. or dragged by their tails IT IS NOT NECESSARY for killing an animal. Also, there is no need to throw animals in boiling water as is done in Yulin, but as I recently quoted in another article, I would like to see what happens to our crabs and lobsters in a restaurant. Normally they should be beaten on the head so that they are instantly dead. However most of the cooks simply throw them in the boiling water. Isn't that the same ???

Nicole Heindryckx
Nicole Heindryckx6 months ago

People in the U.S. are yelling the hardest that we all have to become vegan or vegetarian. I see that the sale of bacon has raised with 25 % between 2001 and 2009. I would like to know more recent figures. But I think demand has not become less. . I have never seen a petition abt the enormous eating feasts in the U.S., BBQ's BBQ's is not just 1/2 a chicken breast per person. No, No, it's a little more... It is abt. 50 cm. of ribs, then 2 or 3 burgers, a steak, and some sausages, don't forget the bacon, and the pork chops and ..certainly I still forgot something. What I just said is PER PERSON !! YES, each of those Americans each their own portion of about 1 KILO of meat...
I am NOT a vegetarian and I am NOT a vegan. B U T I limit my daily consumption of meat and cheese to a max. of about 100 grams (that is 10 % of your BBQ portion) or about 150 grams of fish, which I love more.

Nothing in this world is either black or white. There are a thousand variations of grey. And if we all should pay more attention to a healthy daily food consumption, there would be far less cows, pigs, chickens, goats, sheep, and other animals to be slaughtered each day. And then MAY BE the stress of slaughtering so many thousand of animals per day would be drastically reduced, and people would have more time to kill / slaughter the animals in a more humane way !! .../2

Angeles Madrazo
Angeles M6 months ago

Petition already signed! Go vegan. Thank you

Mark T
Mark T6 months ago