Published: Thu, June 22, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Yulin's dog meat festival goes ahead

Yulin's dog meat festival goes ahead

The infamous and controversial Yulin dog meat festival has begun where tens of thousands of dogs are set to be killed and eaten in southern China from Wednesday (21 June).

Now, reports say that dead dogs have been seen hanging from meat hooks at one of the biggest markets in the city - along with a heavy police presence to prevent previous clashes between stall owners and animal activists attempting to free the dogs. Global animal rights groups announced that government officials had told them they "intended" to ban dog meat sales. On this day, people gather together to eat dog meat and, while less publicized, cat meat.

Humane Society International, an animal rights organisation, claims that between ten million and 20 million dogs are slaughtered in China each year for food. "Despite the fact that there does not seem to be a ban on all dog meat, the festival appears to be smaller this year, with fewer dogs losing their lives to this cruel industry", Irene Feng of Animals Asia told AFP.

He said the truck looked suspicious as it was carrying more than 1,000 dogs. Their methods range from candlelight vigils to protests in front of the Yulin government office in Beijing to identifying dog slaughterhouses.

The bloody scenes of butchering dogs in the road have disappeared, and some stores and restaurants have covered the character "dog" on their lists or menus.

But critics of the cuisine claim that the dogs are transported hundreds of miles in cramped conditions ahead of the festival - while some are even said to have been stolen. Activists reported a "significant decrease" in sales at markets, with some traders saying they had stopped buying dogs, according to HSI.

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However, at the city's Dongkou market, where most of the dog meat trade takes place, dogs could be seen chained up or in cages while meat hung from booths. Liu Zhong, the owner of a small herbal medicine shop, said police were checking whether restrictions were being observed but wholesalers operate out of homes or secret locations.

"There wasn't even any need for a law; people just stopped eating it because. they were embarrassed to do it", Gong said.

But the reality is quite different, he says. "They're not going to be able to just tell people not to hold the festival when this campaign has only just started, but I still think we should encourage this sort of thinking". "You shouldn't force people to make choices they don't want to make, the way you wouldn't force someone to be a Christian or a Buddhist or a Muslim", he said. But animal rights groups have sought to stop the sale at the annual festival.

"The festival will go on".

In Chinese culture dog meat is said to be beneficial during the hot summer months. There is a long tradition of eating dog in China, South Korea and some other Asian countries.

"I know it came from local customs, but the tradition does not match with the current level of social development and should be discarded. The festival gives us something special".

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