Dog meat festival in China gets underway despite criticism
A Chinese city has gone ahead with the summer tradition of their dog meat festival despite animal rights groups branding the event as inhumane and unsafe.
The annual festival occurs in the city of Yulin in the Guangxi province every summer. This year it is happening on Friday and lasts just one day. The local residents consider the festival to be an ancient summer solstice tradition with many cherish the dog-meat culture. Dog-meat is served in a hotpot with lychees and strong grain liquor.
Animal rights groups estimate that up to 10,000 dogs are killed during the festival every year. Stories have circulated that many of the dogs are electrocuted, burned and skinned alive.
Unfortunately in China, dog-meat is a traditional and nutritious wintertime dish. Doctors also routinely prescribe it to people to help with maladies such as impotence and poor circulation.
Campaigners have even gone so far to try and get the UK and USA to react to the problems. A petition on the US White House website says "Please help us stop the Yulin Festival of eating dogs in Guangxi province. It is bloody and disregards life." The petition failed to meet the 100,000 signatures mark and thus was not able to get a response from the Obama administration. They have also tried to block the event through letters and street protesters.
It is believed that many of the dogs are strays or even abducted from families across China. The dogs are transported to the festival in dirty and overcrowded trucks which helps the spread of harmful diseases like rabies. Previously campaigners have often followed the trucks and aimed to get the dogs free and rescued but due to the amount of money involved, it is an ongoing battle. We covered a particular group of campaigners saving dogs in this story here.
China has a problem. On the one hand there are the traditions of eating this sort of meat yet a growing middle class, many of whom own pet dogs, are not happy with the situation and want it to stop. They are working together with the campaigners both in China and internationally. Master Huici who works for the Hebei Buddhism Charity Foundation said that "Stolen dogs without quarantine certificates are cruelly slaughtered and sold to restaurants at very low prices,"