Why is the Yulin Dog Festival observed

Tens of thousands of dogs were slaughtered at the dog meat festival in Yulin, China

Much was reported last week about the Chinese Dog Meat Festival, which has become a tradition over the past 20 years. The name of the event already suggests: Tens of thousands of dogs are slaughtered and eaten every year for the festival in the city of Yulin in the southern Chinese province of Guangxi - much to the displeasure of those who regard dogs as friends and not as food. I was in Yulin on Saturday when residents toasted lychee wine and enjoyed freshly roasted, roasted and cooked dog meat.

In China and the rest of the world, animal lovers were immediately upset about the supposedly excessive appetite for dog meat. Several Chinese celebrities appealed on the Internet to stop the festival. Locals are deeply reluctant to skip the annual gathering. A saleswoman at the downtown meat market told me that she could no longer count how many dogs she had sold in the last week. It is estimated that there are more than a hundred a day. Business is almost never going.

Shandai, from the Guangdong Shoushan Volunteer Center's animal welfare group, said earlier estimates of 10,000 dogs were underestimated. According to her, it is more like 40,000. (There are also 10,000 cats for those who are not "dog people").

When walking through the city, one gets the impression that the presence of the animal rights activists has led to an unabashed backlash. Locals, filling their baskets with freshly chopped off paws and tails, defended their practice. An indignant woman at the market declared, “I don't force her to eat dog meat either. So you can't force me to stop either. "

"This year even more people are eating dog meat," complains Pian Shan Kong, an animal rights activist from Guizhou who has been observing the festival for three years. “While outsiders protest, the locals are incited to resist.” Kong is currently keeping four rescued puppies in his hotel room in Yulin. Allegedly, the man who sold him the puppies got angry when he realized they weren't going to end up on the plate. He'd threatened to slit it open on the spot if Kong didn't pay the inflated price.

Dog lover Yang Xiaoyun went one step further and bought a total of 300 captured dogs. It took her 11 hours to get the dogs to her hometown in Tianjin. Even if she had good intentions, the RMB 90,000 she paid for the dogs goes into the pockets of the dog sellers.

The dog meat industry is a largely unregulated business. Activists claim the animals are stolen pets or stray dogs, and if they are eaten there is a health risk. The dog dealers, on the other hand, claim that the dogs are “tu gou”, which are bred on farms for their meat. The moral objections are therefore the same as with other cute animals such as lambs.

When animal rights activists tried to protest in front of the city government building on Saturday, a few banners were taken away and torn up. This was followed by angry verbal abuse between locals and demonstrators. Eventually, security guards were called in to disperse the crowd.

While the rest of China continues to discuss whether or not the consumption of dog meat is morally justifiable, the residents of Yulin are certain that they will not let puppy eyes deter them from their feast.

A local proudly declared: “If you are not talking about the World Cup, you are talking about our festival. That can only be good for our reputation for having the best dog meat in China. Yulin will be even more famous in the future. "

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