China’s annual Dog Meat Festival takes place during the Summer solstice each year in Yulin, Guangxi, China. During this ten day celebration, an estimated 10,000 dogs are consumed by the people of Yulin and the foreigners that come to this festival, much to the horror of animal rights activists around the globe. However, this festival is not the only time of the year dogs are sold for their meat. Although dog consumption is not a common dish in many parts of China, the animal’s meat is also eaten in Vietnam, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
During the festival, Dogs are shipped sometimes hundreds of miles in small cages, often crammed with multiple animals. With no food, water, or way to move their limbs, many of the animals are dehydrated, sick, or dead by the time they reach their destination. The situation does not improve much once out of the cage, as many dogs are beaten to death, skinned, or boiled alive. Many sources say that there are high amounts of pet theft involved in the festival as well, as many of the animals taken for meat still have collars around their necks.
Not only are these practices inhumane, but they also pose numerous public health risks to the people involved in or living near places that handle dog meat. Widespread handling of unvaccinated animals has proven to rapidly spread rabies, resulting in Yulin being one of the top ten cities having the most cases of human rabies in China. Other diseases such as trichinellosis and cholera are also spread through the dog meat market.
The dog festival in Yulin is not the only festival in China where dogs meat has been sold. In 2011, the Jinhua Hutou Dog Meat Festival, which was a 600 year tradition, was banned by Chinese authorities after much protesting had taken place by animal rights groups. Chinese citizens themselves are protesting the consumption of dog meat as well, as the number of dogs that are kept for companionship has steadily risen over the years.
As June steadily approaches, many things are being done to protest this festival. While many protests are done through the use of social media, students can also find a way to get involved through signing petitions. Multiple are located online, and can be found at websites such as change.org.
Header Photo Courtesy of BJ Peterson