End dog meat festival: activists

By Bai Tiantian Source:Global Times Published: 2015-6-17 23:58:01

Protest against Guangxi celebration spreads across China

A man passes by a dog meat market in Yulin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Wednesday, as the local dog meat festival nears. Photo: CFP

Animal rights activists across China are calling for a stop to a summer solstice celebration in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, where thousands of dogs are expected to be killed for their meat.

The China Small Animal Protection Association (CSAPA) organized a vigil in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan Province, on Tuesday night, where dozens of local animal rights activists sat in the rain to protest against the annual dog meat festival in Yulin, Guangxi.

"We want to inform the public that killing dogs for meat is cruel and it poses a threat to those who eat them as many of the dogs we intercepted were already sick," said Zhou Yusong, an activist from CSAPA's Henan branch.

Activists in Beijing, Tianjin and Xi'an also held a vigil Tuesday night and the protest is expected to spread across the nation to cities like Kunming, Anyang and Luoyang.

Hundreds of activists are expected to travel to Yulin to stop the dog meat festival, which is set for June 22 this year.

Zhou said that the campaign this year is going to be "huge" and activists had previously met in Beijing, Tianjin and Shenzhen to plan for intercepting trucks carrying dogs and cats on the highway and how to deal with local police. 

Yang Xiaoyun, a 65-year-old activist from Tianjin, said she plans to travel to Yulin on Thursday and opens an animal rescue camp and a vegetarian restaurant.

Yang made national headlines last year after spending 150,000 yuan ($24,000) of her retirement savings to buy dogs from restaurants in Yulin, with pictures showing her kneeling in front of a young man begging him to sell her his dogs.

Knowing that she would spare no effort to save the dogs, dog dealers have been calling her recently, telling her that they have many dogs ready in Yulin and they are waiting for her to name her price.

"They think it is good business and they mock me for saving the animals' lives," Yang told the Global Times.

Meanwhile, local restaurants are quietly preparing for the festival that they believe is part of their tradition.

Debates have been raging for a few years as locals argue that it is their right to eat what they want and eating dog meat is ethically no different from eating pork, beef or lamb.

The owner of the No.1 Yulin Crispy Dog Meat restaurant, surnamed Ning, told the Global Times that he expects to sell meat from some 100 dogs on solstice day and is doubling his purchase in preparation.

"We were told this year by the government that no table can be placed outdoors during the festival. People who want to eat dog meat have to eat it inside restaurants," Ning said.

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