Protesters muz­zled at Chi­nese dog meat fes­ti­val

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Cam­paign­ers protest­ing China’s an­nual dog meat fes­ti­val, which sees thou­sands of ca­nines butchered and eaten, were forcibly dis­persed by uniden­ti­fied men Mon­day as they at­tempted to rally out­side a gov­ern­ment of­fice.

About 10 an­i­mal rights ac­tivists un­furled ban­ners out­side the Yulin gov­ern­ment head­quar­ters, be­fore a group of 20 men came and chased them off.

The city holds an an­nual fes­ti­val on the sum­mer sol­stice de­voted to the con­sump­tion of dog meat, in de­fi­ance of an in­creas­ing back­lash from an­i­mal rights ac­tivists.

The cam­paign­ers held signs read­ing “Crack Down on Illegal Dog Meat Trade” and “Pun­ish Illegal Dog Trans­port,” but the ban­ners were quickly torn out of their hands by the uniden­ti­fied group of men.

The slo­gans are an at­tempt to ap­peal to lo­cal gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials to en­force ex­ist­ing laws on health and ad­min­is­tra­tive grounds, as there are no rules ban­ning the con­sump­tion of dog meat.

“Many of these an­i­mals are stolen pets, and most of the dog meat trucks com­ing in are in to­tal breach of China’s very clear laws on an­i­mals for hu­man con­sump­tion,” Adam Paras­can­dola, di­rec­tor of an­i­mal cru­elty is­sues at the Washington DC- based Hu­mane So­ci­ety, said in a state­ment.

“How much longer can China sim­ply al­low the Yulin author­i­ties to flout the law like this?”

As many as 10 mil­lion dogs are killed for food an­nu­ally in China, with up to 10,000 killed for the Yulin fes­ti­val, ac­cord­ing to the Hu­mane So­ci­ety.

The ma­jor­ity of “meat dogs” in the coun­try are stolen pets and strays, ac­cord­ing to an in­ves­ti­ga­tion pub­lished this month by Hong Kong-based char­ity An­i­mals Asia, though eat­ing dog is un­usual in most parts of China.

Shortly af­ter the protest in an- other part of Yulin, traders openly sold dogs off the back of scoot­ers as hun­dreds gath­ered at a mar­ket. Many dogs were kept in tightly packed cages.

Saved from the Cook­ing Pot

Ac­tivists, who say the fes­ti­val is cruel, have in the past trav­elled to the city to hold demon­stra­tions, some­times buy­ing dogs to save them from the cook­ing pots.

One an­i­mal l over, Yang Xiaoyun, re­port­edly paid about 7,000 yuan (US$1,100) to save around 100 dogs in the south­ern city of Yulin on Satur­day.

The city’s gov­ern­ment has tried to dis­tance it­self from the event.

“Some res­i­dents of Yulin have the habit of com­ing to­gether to eat l and dog meat dur­ing the sum­mer sol­stice,” the city’s news of­fice wrote on Sina Weibo, a Chi­nese Twit­ter equiv­a­lent.

“The ‘sum­mer sol­stice ly­chee and dog meat fes­ti­val’ is a com­mer­cial term, the city has never ( of­fi­cially) or­ga­nized a ‘ dog meat fes­ti­val,’” it added.

Around 30 mil­lion house­holds in the coun­try are es­ti­mated to keep dogs as pets, help­ing to fuel the grow­ing lo­cal an­i­mal rights move­ment.

A pe­ti­tion on Change.org call­ing for the end to the fes­ti­val il­lus­trated with a photo of a dog weep­ing tears of blood in front of a PRC flag gar­nered more than 3.8 mil­lion sig­na­tures by Mon­day af­ter­noon.

This year the fes­ti­val has also been tar­geted by Bri­tish co­me­dian Ricky Ger­vais, who posted a se­ries of mes­sages on Twit­ter with the hash­tag “StopYuLin2015.”

AP

In this Sun­day, June 21 photo, dogs in cages are sold by ven­dors at a mar­ket dur­ing a dog meat fes­ti­val in Yulin in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion.

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