Starting on the summer solstice, China’s Yulin city celebrates its annual dog meat festival, controversial, amidst a dwindling market, and to more local residents, a source of shame. It has increasingly divided many Chinese, not only over the practice of eating dog meat, but the gruesome treatment of the animals. Despite widespread domestic and international criticism, the 10 day festival has been held in the city of Yulin for the past decade. It is estimated 10,000 dogs have been and will be slaughtered during the festival.
This however, should seem quite indistinguishable with the millions of dogs killed for their meat each and every year in China, but activists have taken a stand. To millions of people around the planet, these beautiful animals are our companions and not to be slaughtered, tortured and eaten.
Animal rights activists have been trying to shut down the dog meat festival for years right around the beginning of it, creating an international outcry. Some activists have been somewhat successful, traveling to China and rescuing dogs held in compounds and slaughterhouses, as well as closing down some of the vendors expected to kill the dogs for the festival. The difficulty these activists face is the local government, although once a sponsor of the festival, does not recognize it in an official capacity and neighboring police often hinder the activist’s efforts by hiding where dogs are being kept. Not only are international activists trying to stop the festival, but local Chinese activists have joined in the fight.
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Does it come to multicultural acceptance, where some Chinese believe dog meat tastes better if the dog suffered when slaughtered? Is it just a part of Chinese culture to have dog meat on the menu? It can be difficult to judge a country by its own standards. Activists and vegans alike complain that dogs should not be held captive, slaughtered and eaten. These protests are quite justified when it comes from vegans, but it is a bit hypocritical for other carnivores to only feel that way about dogs and no other animals such as pigs, cows and chickens. Anyone who is shocked, repelled or cannot imagine that someone could eat a man’s best friend may also need to look within to check if their opposition stems from moral values or just because a dog is a familiar lovable furry face.
If you would like to help stop the annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival, here is a link to a petition you can choose to sign.