Chinese Human Rights Activists Demand Ban on Yulin Dog Festival

Apr 07, 2016 05:00 AM EDT | By Chandan Das

Members of Coexistence for Animal Rights confine themselves in a cage as a protest against eating dog meat on Aug. 7, 2012 in Seoul, South Korea.
Members of Coexistence for Animal Rights confine themselves in a cage as a protest against eating dog meat on Aug. 7, 2012 in Seoul, South Korea.
(Photo : Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Animal rights activists in China have taken up cudgels to shut down an annual summer dog meat festival in southern China alleging that the cruel practice has been tarnishing the country's image worldwide.

Usually, the Litchi and Dog Meat Festival in Yulin, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, is held in June, but in recent years it has met increased opposition amid concerns over canine cruelty and unhygienic food handling practices, China Daily reported.

The animal rights activists protesting the Yulin dog meat festival have formed a coalition of groups for the purpose. Last Monday, they said that will continue pressing for the banning of the festival and also for a legislation prohibiting the slaughtering of dogs and cats for the purpose of consuming their meat. This practice is more common in the south and north-east of China.

According to rough estimates by Humane Society International, about 10 million to 20 million dogs are killed for their meat every year in China. In fact, the event held on June 20 every year in the city of Yulin now represents the cruelty and unhygienic practices associated with the mostly uncontrolled industry.

Authorities in Yulin should adopt more hands-on and decisive measures to put an end to an industry that kills dogs obtained illegally and sells their meat breaching the food safety regulations of the state, the report quoted Qin Xiaona, founder-director of Capital Animal Welfare Association.

In fact, Qin claimed that over 80 percent of these are stolen pets.

China needs to follow the example of the vast majority of developed nations that have prohibited consumption of dog and cat meat; Kansas City quoted Yu Hongmei, director of the VShine Animal Protection Association. According to Yu, China needs to progress with the times and preventing cruelty to animals is the sign of a mature, civilized society.

Meanwhile, restaurant owners claim that dog meat consumption is traditional during the summer. On the other hand, opponents say the festival that kicked off in 2010 is devoid of any cultural value and was only invented to foster business. The local government has tried to disassociate itself from the event since 2014, preventing its employees from attending and confining its size by closing some dog markets as well as slaughterhouses.

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