The Yulin Dog Meat Festival in southern China’s Guangxi region sees thousands of people flock to the city every year, although the controversial event has drawn criticism from people in China and abroad.
The festival, which began more than a decade ago, spans 10 days, with visitors coming to eat delicacies such as dog meat stew and crispy dog meat.
The event begins on June 21, the same day as the summer solstice. Footage from the Yulin Dog Meat Festival over the past decade shows the cramped conditions in which animals are kept and how they end up being sold in markets.
According to Humane Society International (HSI), it is almost impossible to say exactly how many dogs are killed each year because no official figures are available. However, the number is believed to be in the thousands.
In the early years of the event, launched in 2009/2010, it was believed that over 10,000 dogs were culled during base days.
But pressure from activists and members of the public in China, as well as abroad, helped reduce the scale of the event and the number of dogs killed. COVID restrictions have also served to reduce the number of people attending over the past two years.
Now HSI estimates the number of dogs killed is likely in the low thousands, based on reports from activists on the ground. Most of the dogs at the festival were stolen from their owners or taken from the streets as strays.
“There is very vocal opposition to the dog meat trade in China, and that includes what is happening in Yulin,” said Peter Li, China policy expert at Humane Society International. Newsweek. “Most people want nothing to do with cruelty, and there is a new generation of affluent young Chinese people who care deeply about their pets and are appalled by dog thieves.”
“There have been many calls over the years for the authorities to introduce a ban, and that is certainly backed up and reinforced by support from the West,” Li said.
“But it’s really important to recognize the tremendous energy for change that exists in China. There are hundreds of dedicated animal activists stopping trucks of dogs and cats on the highway, calling the police to confiscate animals. animals and care for them once rescued.”
It is estimated that around 10 million dogs and four million cats are killed each year for their meat in China. But a poll suggests that dog meat is eaten by only a small portion of the Chinese population, while a 2016 survey found that more than half of Chinese think the dog meat trade should be prohibited.
Animals slaughtered during the festival are often transported and kept in poor conditions, and brutally killed.
“Cruelty and suffering exist at every step of this trade,” Li said. the ground. cause untold suffering to dogs.”
“The method by which they are slaughtered varies, but the dogs are usually beaten to death with a metal pipe in full view of each other, then bled from a cut in the throat or groin,” he said. -he declares.
“When you visit a dog or cat slaughterhouse, you will find traumatized dogs there who have witnessed the murder of their crate mates and must surely know that the same thing will happen to them. It is an extremely upsetting experience.”