The horrific Yulin Dog Meat Festival continues despite the hard work of animal welfare organizations. In 2020, progress toward ending dog meat consumption was made, but that hasn’t stopped this event from occurring. This year, a truck loaded with 68 innocent dogs was stopped, and rescue officials were able to save the dogs in time. While the people responsible claim that all the dogs were bred for meat consumption, the dog behaviors suggest that they were pets stolen from families.
Dogs are beloved family members, not food. So, we need to continue to do everything we can to end this so-called “festival” for good.
The History of the Dog Meat Festival
The Yulin Dog Meat Festival has only been around since 2010. Dog meat sellers created it as a way to boost their sales and reach more tourists. Of course, since day one, animal advocates have been present to try to put an end to this. Some progress has been made since then, but it’s still not enough to end the dog meat trade as a whole.
Toward the beginning of 2020, Shenzen and Zhuhai became the first cities in China to ban dog and cat meat sales. Many animal lovers hoped this meant that the Yulin Dog Meat Festival wouldn’t continue in 2021, but it did anyway. Ending this sickening business once and for all will be a long process, but there are many kind souls working hard to make it happen.
68 Dogs Saved Just in Time
Before the 2021 festival, activists intercepted a truck in the Guangxi region, just outside of the city. There were 68 dogs in the truck, all crammed into tiny, rusted cages. Most of them were in poor health, but still friendly.
Those who attend the festival insist that the meat sold only comes from dogs bred for those purposes. However, when rescuers approached the 68 dogs, many of them seemed excited to see people. Some even extended their paws as a “high five,” indicating that they once lived with a family. Many of the dogs were likely stolen pets, but regardless, the way they were being treated was horrific.
“The Yulin authorities have a responsibility to protect public health … who knows what diseases [these dogs] could carry that could end up in the food market,” said an anonymous activist.
The rescuers hoped that law enforcement would get involved, but when no authorities responded, they took matters into their own hands. They confiscated the dogs themselves. Now, all the dogs are safe at a Humane Society International building. There, they will be able to recover, rest, and receive proper medical care.
Dogs Still Need Saving
68 might seem like a lot of dogs, but the problem is so much bigger than just one truckload. Approximately 30 million dogs are killed for meat in Asia every year. Between 10 million and 20 million of those deaths occur in China alone. Luckily, most China residents do not eat dog meat, and they’re not happy that their country is known for such unforgivable actions. There are many reasons why people keep fighting to ban this practice.
“Through dog theft, illegal trans-provincial transport, and inhumane slaughter, the trade not only subjects animals to suffering but also risks public health with the potential for the spread of rabies and other diseases. These are compelling reasons for the Chinese authorities to end this trade once and for all,” said Peter Li, HSI’s China policy specialist.
Activists will continue to aim for nationwide bans against dog and cat consumption. Yet, for now, you can help by donating and signing petitions for the Humane Society International. The more people that speak up against the dog meat trade, the better.