Editor’s Note: This article on the Yulin Dog Meat Festival contains content that may be disturbing to some readers.
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In China’s Guangxi Province, the Yulin Dog Meat Festival is set to be held in just a few months. The summer solstice marks the start of this event, which has caused online uproars since it started in 2009.
Eating dog meat isn’t that unusual in China. In fact, many Chinese citizens see it as a huge part of their culture.
To some of these locals, dog meat is no different from beef, chicken or lamb.
So, why attack their customs when no other meat consumption receives such criticism?
The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is different, though. If you’re not familiar with it, prepare to have your heart broken for the dogs unfortunate enough to be caught in its wake.
The Yulin Dog Meat Festival
Traditionally, dog meat has been eaten in China to protect consumers from the winter cold and ward off evil spirits. This practice started thousands of years ago.
While it happens in a number of Chinese provinces, Guangxi Province, in particular, has brought the consumption of dogs into the limelight.
The farmers and families in this overwhelmingly poor part of China started the festival in an attempt to make more money.
Since the festival’s opening, more than 10,000 dogs have been killed and eaten each year during the 10 days the festival is held. While that alone is enough to disgust most people, what’s worse is the treatment the dogs receive.
Not only do the people who participate in this festival think that eating dog meat has a spiritual effect, but also they think the way the dogs die is an important factor. Apparently, the more adrenaline pumping through a dog’s veins, the better-tasting the meat.
Because of that, the vendors at the Yulin Dog Meat Festival don’t just kill the dogs — they beat the dogs, burn them alive with blowtorches or toss them into boiling pots of water to suffer a terrifying, painful death.
And not only that, but they also do it all in front of the other dogs to increase the caged animals’ adrenaline rush.
The dogs (often stolen from families living in the area) are brought in, trapped in cramped wooden crates and then slaughtered in front of festival-goers.
What’s Being Done About the Yulin Dog Meat Festival
Many Westerners and Chinese citizens alike are actively trying their best to end this horrifying festival.
Millions of signatures have been gathered for petitions, and animal rights activists are doing all they can to spread awareness.
Unfortunately, the local government isn’t taking the action that’s needed.
Right before the opening of the 2017 festival, the internet was flooded with news that the sale of dog meat had been banned at the Yulin Festival. It seemed that finally this event was coming to an end.
Unfortunately, just days later, the world found out the good news was too good to be true. The sale of dog meat had not, in fact, been banned. Instead, the government authorities and vendors agreed to limit the sales to 2 dog carcasses per stall.
Although this limitation drastically reduced the number of dogs tortured, killed and eaten, it didn’t end the festival.
In fact, many activists who attended the festival in opposition witnessed vendors breaking the new rule, though authorities were also there to keep an eye on things, and did shut down and fine some of those vendors.
The Current State of This Gory Festival
Despite the millions of signatures gathered and countless activist groups protesting, the Chinese government sees the festival as part of the people’s customs and won’t shut it down.
To an older generation of Chinese people — especially those who lived through years of famine — eating dog meat is normal, no different from eating any other animal.
But does that mean it’s OK for dogs to be beaten, burned or boiled alive — all so the meat tastes better?
There are numerous petitions and animal rights groups taking action, so please join them in opposition of the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. These animals are our best friends, not our food.