19,000 SIGN CHINESE DOG MEAT PETITION
NEARLY 20,000 people have now signed a petition calling on Newport City Council to end its twinning agreement with a Chinese province that hosts a dog meat festival.
Matthew James, 24, kick-started the petition more than a year ago after finding out Newport was twinned with Guangxi in southern China, a region with around 40 million residents.
Every year, the city of Yulin in the Guangxi province hosts the 10-day Lychee and Dog Meat Festival and it is thought that more than 10,000 dogs are killed and eaten.
Mr James’ petition gained momentum recently and had attracted more than 19,000 signatures as of last night.
The marketing graduate from Newport said he would deliver the petition to Newport council once it reached 20,000.
Speaking to the South Wales Argus, Mr James said: “The Yulin Dog Festival has no place in modern society. To find out that Newport is twinned with the province in which it takes place just felt wrong.
“I had no idea this many people would sign it. I thought maybe a couple of hundred, but I’m delighted it’s taken off the way it has.
“I will consider taking it to the council going forward because a lot of people in Newport clearly have strong feelings about it.
“When it gets to 20,000, I think that will be a strong position to approach the council from. I’ve been checking the page since setting it up and it’s been growing steadily.
“I feel very strongly about this issue, and I decided to put it to the test. It’s a year in and this is the first time it’s been picked up by any media, but there’s clearly a strong base of support for the idea.”
A spokesman for Newport council said it would “consider the petition in line with council policy if and when it receives it”.
Eating dog meat in mainland China is legal and the meat is popular in traditional winter dishes.
But the dog meat festival has attracted criticism both within China and globally, with Animal Asia calling it a “horrifying tragedy” and claiming more than 10,000 dogs are eaten each year.
The RSPCA has also said it is working with Chinese authorities to stop cruelty to dogs by creating new laws.
Cooked dogs await customers at a stall in Yulin, in southern China’s Guangxi province