Animal rights groups in China and around the world are hoping to put an end to the annual YuLin Summer Solstice Dog Eating Festival in south China’s Guanxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in June. The protest effort has had a large online following with websites aiding people to easily tweet against the festival with the hashtag #StopYuLin2015.
CCTV America searched Twitter from Jun. 2nd to Jun. 4th and found over one million impressions of #StopYulin2015.
A petition on change.org has over 200,000 signatures asking YuLin Governor Chen Wu to cancel the festival. The petition contains numerous points as to why supporters believe the festival should be cancelled, including, “The Yulin “Dog Meat Festival” is a dangerous food safety issue. Dogs sold on the market are sick and dying animals. They suffer from horrendous conditions during the long distance, trans-provincial journeys. China does NOT have dog farms. There are no national or local standards to ensure the safety of dog meat since dogs are not raised for food.”
In the late 1990’s to mark the summer solstice, local residents began the controversial dog meat festival by butchering dogs and eating the meat alongside lychee fruit, believing the practice brings good luck and keeps illness at bay.
Last year’s event drew mounting protests from animal welfare groups and pet owners, who urged the local government to ban the long-standing tradition, according to Xinhua News. It’s estimated 10,000 dogs were killed during the one day event according to Global Times.
To avoid protests, in 2014 the festival was held a week earlier but activists learned about the plan and descended on the city in protest.
Some activists purchased hundreds of dogs to save them from slaughter and dog meat festival sales have decreased under pressure from animal welfare groups. Some people have called the festival illegal citing a Ministry of Agriculture regulation requiring laboratory quarantine for the animals before they are transported.
Resident are divided, some are nonchalant about the tradition, while pet owners are more adamant.
Eating dog meat is tradition in some parts of China and around the world including Europe, Southeast Asia, and West Africa that dates back 2,000 years.
People in China have traditionally kept canines as watchdogs or hunting dogs, that can be used as a source of food during times of scarcity. The local tradition has increasingly drew protests from pet owners and animal rights organizations.
Our cctv_america Twitter account has received many tweets from people protesting with a photo and the message,”No one can look at these pictures without feeling angst.”
Story compiled with information from CCTV America, Xinhua News, BBC and China Daily.