In a mark of changing opinions in China over the welfare of dogs, the dog-meat festival in the southern city of Yulin promoted strong negative reactions by the public, signaling that one day such barbaric events might be no more.
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the festival, in which people traditionally eat dog meat with lychee fruit on the summer solstice, attracted “intense attention” on news websites and on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. Activists had been protesting during the run-up to the event, asserting that many of the “table-bound canines were abducted strays and pets being slaughtered at unlicensed butcheries.”
The day before the event, there was even a pro-dog demonstration held in Beijing. Activists are heartened by the increased attention, as it shows that people are finally beginning to place animal welfare over cultural traditions.
“Thousands of dogs will be eaten at a dog meat festival in Yulin,” wrote one Weibo user, Yu Jichun. “As long as such a festival still exists in China, this country can’t start talk about becoming civilized.”
According to the story, Grace Gabriel, Asia regional director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said that more than 100,000 people had signed an online petition condemning dog meat festivals, and that many such events have been abandoned in recent years.
“I was kind of surprised that Yulin went ahead this year,” she said. “As more and more people keep dogs as pets, more and more people are against slaughtering them for meat.”
Laws protecting dogs in China are abysmal — there are none, really. There’s nothing to prevent the abuse, abduction, and killing of dogs.
“There is no law to protect them, other than quarantine laws, which require that animals sent to slaughter have quarantine certificates,” said Gabriel.
The reports of the Yulin festival are horrific. Du Yufeng, founder of the Boai Small Animal Protection Centre, which has been protesting in Yulin, told the Telegraph, “We have seen animals beaten just before being cooked … the more we inspect, the more cruelty we discover.”
Activists say that about 10,000 dogs are killed every year, many “burned, electrocuted, and skinned alive,” according to the Huffington Post.
Though the festival did take place, some dogs were saved. Song Jinzhang of the China Small Animal Protection Association traveled to Yulan with other activists, and they forced government inspectors to shut down an illegal dog-slaughtering facility.
He said 48 dogs were saved.
The key is “to try to convince people not to eat dog meat, because that will reduce demand,” he said.
Via the L.A. Times