*Caution: The contents of this article contain graphic material.
Every year during the summer solstice in southern China, a festival is held in YuLin, Guangxi. During this festival, thousands of dogs and cats are slaughtered for consumption.
Many American celebrities are voicing their opinion of this festival and their wish for its closure, which caused a massive social media movement, including the hashtag #StopYuLin2015.
Celebrities such as Ricky Gervais,
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) June 16, 2015
Repost this please!I NEED YOU.Sign this NOW please! https://www.change.org/p/president-of-the-people-s-republic-of-china-stop-the-yulin-dog-meat-eating-festival Stop the senseless and barbaric killing of dogs in the streets at the Yulin Dog meat Festival. Beaten, burned and skinned alive in the streets? Is this really happening!?Any Chinese Stars use your power and your voice! Everyone please raise your voice louder than the shrieks of these helpless animals being killed. I'm SO FUCKING ANGRY ABOUT THIS.IS THIS THE WORLD WE LIVE IN? IS THIS WHAT OUR CHILDREN SHOULD SEE! RAISE YOUR VOICE AND TELL THE PRESIDENT OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA TO STOP THIS! THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY IS STANDING TOGETHER WITH THE PEOPLE IN CHINA TO STOP THIS. EXPRESS YOUR VOICE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW AFTER YOUVE SIGNED THIS PETITION. ILL BE LOOKING AT THEM TO TALK YOU ALL. LETS CHANGE THE LAW IN CHINA!
and Paul Wesley
— Paul Wesley (@paulwesley) June 16, 2015
took to social media to rouse attention surrounding this festival and the inhumane way the animals are treated. There is now a petition with over one million signatures on it.
“We are writing you to request that the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region government must cancel the “Dog Meat Festival” that is held on June 22 in Yulin. As foreigners who have great respect for the Chinese people and Chinese civilization, We are saddened to learn that the Yulin “Dog Meat Festival” still exists in a modern civilized society. We believe that this event has no place in the 21st century.”
While all the uproar in support of the festival’s end is in full swing, according to The Time, the YuLin Municiple People’s Government issued a statement in early June denying that the festival exists or ever existed.
“The so-called summer solstice lychee dog meat festival does not exist. Neither Yulin government nor social organizations have ever held such activities.”
So how do you stop a festival that doesn’t exist?
In 2011, Chinese authorities banned the Jinhua Hutou Dog Meat Festival after a widespread social media campaign launched by animal rights activists. Locals in China hope this will be the case for the YuLin Festival, which is only about five years old.
There is a growing dividing line in China between people that see dogs and cats as food (normally the older generation) and those that see them as friends and companions (the younger generation).
While dog meat has been consumed in countries around the world, there is a common misconception that it is still “tradition” to eat dog in Asian countries. It is NOT customary to eat dog in most of China or any other Asian country. The consumption of dog meat has been on steady decline, with an estimate of one-third less consumed in 2014 vs. 2013.
Several organizations made it their mission to stop the YuLin festival and the dog meat trade completely. Together for Animals in China made news in April because they stopped a truck with over 300 dogs in cages being smuggled to a dog meat trader. The consumption of dog meat is not illegal in China, but because the driver had no permit for the animals the truck was deemed illegal.
The Duo Duo Animal Welfare Projectis also trying to stop the dog trade. They created the video below to help raise awareness and funds to save as many animals as possible.
There are currently no animal welfare rights in China.