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Chinese activists call for end to dog meat festival

Chinese activists call for end to dog meat festival


A controversial dog meat festival is set to start next week in China, once again raising the ire of local and international activists and animal rights groups.

The so-called “Lychee and dog meat festival” is held each year in the southern Chinese city of Yulin, located in the autonomous Guangxi region that borders Vietnam.

Activists in China, who last year intercepted at least one shipment of dogs bound for slaughter, have been urging local authorities to leverage COVID-19 restrictions to shut down the festival.

“While elsewhere in China, cities are in COVID-19 lockdown, it makes no sense for Yulin dog meat traders to be allowed to encourage visitors to travel across the province and into the city,” Guangxi-based activist Liang Jia said in a Humane Society statement. “As well as the appalling animal cruelty that will take place with thousands of dogs and cats bludgeoned to death, it’s an obvious public health risk.”

Animal rights activists claim the Yulin Dog Eating Festival poses a major risk of spreading coronavirus.
Corbis via Getty Images
Dogs to be killed are caged at a free market ahead of the Yulin Dog Eating Festival in Yulin city, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on 21th June 2014.
Approximately 10,000 dogs are brought in to be butchered and cooked at the Yulin Dog Eating Festival.
Jie Zhao/Corbis via Getty Images
Dogs to be killed are fixed at a free market ahead of the Yulin Dog Eating Festival in Yulin city, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on 21th June 2014.
A dog lies on the ground before being butchered at the Yulin Dog Eating Festival in 2014.
Jie Zhao/Corbis via Getty Images

“The Yulin authorities should be taking this seriously because it would be hugely embarrassing for the Yulin dog meat festival to become a super-spreader event,” Liang added.

The festival was launched in 2010 in an attempt by dog meat traders to counter flagging sales, according to the Humane Society International.

Though attendance at the 10-day festival has decreased in recent years due to COVID restrictions, the festival has reportedly rounded up some 10,000 dogs for slaughter at its height.

People eat dog meat at a restaurant in Yulin, China on June 21, 2017.
People eat dog meat at a restaurant in Yulin, China, on June 21, 2017.
STR/AFP via Getty Images
Animal rights activists gather in front of the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles to protest China's dog meat trade and Yulin Dog Meat Festival.
Animal rights activists argue Yulin shouldn’t host a dog-eating festival while other Chinese cities remain on COVID-19 lockdown.
Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Dogs set to be slaughtered are crammed in cages during the Yulin Dog Eating Festival on June 20, 2014.
Dogs set to be slaughtered are crammed in cages during the Yulin Dog Eating Festival on June 20, 2014.
Jie Zhao/Corbis via Getty Images

A draft policy issued by China’s Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs in 2020 named dogs a “special companion animal,” not recognized as livestock, the Guardian reported.

While that policy did not have the full weight of law, it was welcomed by animal rights activists in China and beyond.

That same year, Chinese state-run media reported that 75% of Chinese citizens nationwide supported a decision by the southern city of Shenzhen to ban the consumption of canine meat.

According to the Humane Society International, 30 million dogs are killed each year for food worldwide.



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