Reddit | Julius-Seiziure-01

Dogs Are Beaten To Death And Cooked At Yulin Dog Festival That Begins Today

mason.zimmer 21 Jun 2019

Although many of us would like to consider ourselves friends to the animal kingdom, our relationship with it can be much more complicated than that.

Although it's arguably possible to live in a way that doesn't cause harm to them, many of us can point to products we use and consume every day as something that an animal died for.

Yet, even among those who have come to terms with this relationship, wanton cruelty to animals is still unacceptable.

So it's understandable that an infamous, ongoing festival in China would continue to inspire outrage.

From June 21 to June 30, the Yulin Dog Meat Festival will occur in Yulin, China.

YouTube | VICE

As the Human Society International reported, this festival will see at least 3,000 caged dogs arrive in Yulin with some traveling for days to get there.

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Yet, as the name might suggest, those behind this festival are interested in one particular aspect of dogs: their meat.

YouTube | VICE

According to the Humane Society, the festival began in 2010 as a means to promote the dog meat trade, which was apparently experiencing stagnating sales before certain dog traders had this idea.

Before the festival, Yulin had not been a site of dog consumption or slaughter on this scale.

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Both the purpose of this festival and the conditions in which dogs are held in before they are killed there have inspired widespread condemnation.

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They are crammed together as they travel and frequently appear malnourished, dehydrated, and afflicted with sickness when they arrive.

As Chinese activists who have infiltrated these slaughterhouses reported, the dogs are then kept in sweltering conditions before they are beaten to death.

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There is also an aspect of this festival and the dog meat trade in general that stand in clear violation of Chinese law.

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Many of the dogs involved are strays picked up from the street, but many have reportedly been spotted with their collars still attached, suggesting that they were outright stolen from people's backyards.

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In past years, five times as many dogs as are now featured during the festival would've been offered up to the slaughter.

Reddit | Julius-Seiziure-01

Pressure from within China and throughout the world has led to the reduction of dogs killed from about 15,000 in 2010 to 3,000 now, but this doesn't include the hundreds of dogs killed in the weeks leading up to the festival.

Nor does it include the estimated 10-20 million dogs killed in China for this purpose each year.

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However, as much as the Yulin Dog Meat Festival might try to position itself as a cultural event, it does not accurately reflect the majority of China's population.

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According to the Humane Society International, 69.5% of the Chinese population have never eaten dog and even 72% of the residents of Yulin show little interest in it despite being actively marketed to by dog traders.

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Furthermore, many of those citizens take this aversion beyond a personal preference.

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In response to a survey by Chinese company Horizon , 64% of Chinese citizens said that they wanted to Yulin festival to stop, while 51.7% wanted to see the dog meat trade banned entirely.

As one anonymous activist put it, "It is not our culture to steal people’s pets. It is not our culture to eat dogs."

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Even if the obvious harm to the dogs is put aside, there is also evidence to suggest that the dog meat trade puts human diners at risk.

Reddit | BedsideRounds

Although the Chinese government is seeking to eradicate rabies in China by 2025, the dog meat trade has given Yulin one of the highest rates of human rabies cases in the country. In addition to rabies, cholera also has a serious potential to spread through tainted dog meat.

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This underscores another way in which common dog trader practices break the laws of China.

Not only is it illegal for them to steal pets for meat, but the fact that sick dogs are often processed for the festival also stands in violation of China's food safety laws.

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Although the festival is somehow allowed to persist at present, it's not doing so without opposition.

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The activists quoted in the Huane Society International report remained anonymous because they had recently undertaken a rescue mission on June 12, which saw 62 dogs liberated from one of the slaughterhouses.

This was no easy task as dog traders are increasingly aware of international backlash against their practices.

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Although activists from other countries may not get close enough to follow this example, they're fighting the festival in their own way.

Reddit | R_K01

A petition to stop the festival is also gaining traction and has reached over 1.48 million supporters towards a 1.5 million signature goal.

h/t: Humane Society International

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