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Chinese activists call for an end to the dog meat festival

A controversial dog meat festival is set to begin next week in China, once again drawing ire from local and international activists and animal rights groups.

The so-called “Lychee and Dog Meat Festival” is held annually in the southern Chinese city of Yulin, located in the Guangxi Autonomous Region that borders Vietnam.

Activists in China, who intercepted at least one shipment of dogs destined for slaughter last year, have urged local authorities to take advantage of COVID-19 restrictions to shut down the festival.

“While cities elsewhere in China are in lockdown due to COVID-19, it makes no sense that dog meat traders in Yulin are allowed to encourage visitors to travel across the province and into the city” , Guangxi-based activist Liang Jia said in a Humane. Company statement. “In addition to the appalling animal cruelty that will take place with thousands of dogs and cats bludgeoned to death, this is a clear risk to public health.”

Dogs for killing are caged at an open market ahead of the Yulin Dog Eating Festival in Yulin city, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, June 20, 2014.
Animal rights activists say the Yulin Dog Eating Festival poses a major risk of spreading the coronavirus.
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Dogs for killing are caged at an open market ahead of the Yulin Dog Eating Festival in Yulin city, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, June 21, 2014.
Around 10,000 dogs are brought in to be slaughtered and cooked at the Yulin Dog Eating Festival.
Jie Zhao/Corbis via Getty Images
Dogs for slaughter are fixed at an open market ahead of the Yulin Dog Eating Festival in Yulin city, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, June 21, 2014.
A dog lies on the ground before being slaughtered at the Yulin Dog Eating Festival in 2014.
Jie Zhao/Corbis via Getty Images

“Yulin authorities should take this seriously because it would be extremely embarrassing if the Yulin Dog Meat Festival became a widespread event,” Liang added.

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

Although attendance at the 10-day festival has dwindled in recent years due to COVID restrictions, the festival reportedly gathered some 10,000 dogs for slaughter at its peak.

People eat dog meat at a restaurant in Yulin, China, June 21, 2017.
People eat dog meat at a restaurant in Yulin, China, June 21, 2017.
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Animal rights activists gather outside the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles to protest China's dog meat trade and the Yulin Dog Meat Festival.
Animal rights activists argue that Yulin should not hold a dog-eating festival as other Chinese cities remain under COVID-19 lockdown.
Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Dogs destined for slaughter are crowded into cages during the Yulin Dog Eating Festival on June 20, 2014.
Dogs destined for slaughter are crowded into cages during the Yulin Dog Eating Festival on June 20, 2014.
Jie Zhao/Corbis via Getty Images

A draft policy released by China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs in 2020 designated dogs as a “special pet”, not recognized as livestock, the Guardian reported.

Although this policy does not have the full weight of the law, it has been welcomed by animal rights activists in China and beyond.

In the same year, Chinese state media reported that 75% of Chinese citizens in the country supported the decision of the southern city of Shenzhen to ban the consumption of dog meat.

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

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Post expires at 8:12am on Sunday June 26th, 2022