Dogs spared from dinner death

By Wen Ya Source:Global Times Published: 2011-9-20 2:33:00

The eighth Dog Meat Festival in Zhejiang Province will not be happening after local officials folded under public pressure and banned the event.

Jinhua Daily made the announcement on its microblog and said it was given permission by the  Qianxi township government in Wucheng district, Jinhua, to release the information.

Dog meat is part of the traditional Chinese diet. In recent years some began to believe dogs are close friends of human beings and shouldn't be eaten.

"The Jinhua government told me that they wanted to cancel the festival too," Lu Di, the head of the China Small Animal Protection Association (CSAPA), told the Global Times on Monday. "But they are hesitant to do so because the festival has been around for a long time."

The festival stems from an old story. During the autumn of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), a Ming emperor's general Hu Dahai failed to win a battle in Jinhua because his army disturbed local dogs whose barking exposed their presence.

Hu then killed all the dogs in Jinhua and later won the battle. To celebrate the success, emperor Zhu Yuanzhang arranged a dog meat banquet in Jinhua for Hu.  
As a government-sponsored activity, the festival has been held for eight years. Insiders said 5,000 to 10,000 dogs were slaughtered during the festival. Many of them were stolen pet dogs or poisoned dogs.

A web user with the handle "Junchangzai" launched an online campaign on Monday on to protest the festival. By the end of the day his call had been forwarded more than 18,000 times.

According to Jun, one can eat dog meat at home or other places. But if the personal activity has been turned into a group action and people kill dogs in a brutal way, that is disrespectful to life.

The protest was also echoed by the leader of the Zhejiang Provincial Small Animal Protection Association (ZPSAPA).

"We are preparing to write a group letter to the provincial government," Zhu Shuilin, vice president of ZPSAPA, told the Global Times.

According to Zhu, different from domestic animals such as chickens, sheep, pigs and cows that are raised on farms, dogs and cats are friends of mankind and partners.

"They have intimate relationships with us," Zhu said.

The dogs at the festival had not been checked well and they could spread disease. Considering the health concern, such a festival couldn't be supported, he said.

The festival will also bring a negative affect on the city's image and could traumatize people, he said. "The local government wanted to promote the economy through this festival. On the contrary, it will make many people unwilling to spend their money here. "

The organizer of the festival could not be reached for comment on Monday.

A South Korean dog meat festival was canceled following growls of protest from animal rights activists in June, according to AFP.

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