Uproar fails to stop dog meat festival

By Jiang Jie in Yulin Source:Global Times Published: 2015-6-23 0:18:01

Vendors in Yulin say they are breeding ‘edible dogs’ like livestock

Vendors in Yulin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region cut dog meat for sale on Monday. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

The controversial dog meat festival in Yulin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region began on Monday as residents and visitors ate dog meat amid protests from animal rights activists.

Unlike last year's brawls between dog lovers and dog meat lovers, both vendors and activists said that conflicts have subsided this year. 

In recent years, the festival, which falls on the summer solstice since the 1990s, has drawn considerable attention following angry calls for the city to stop the "cruel celebration" featuring dog meat, lychee and strong liquor.

Dozens of dog meat vendors could still be seen at the local Dongkou market on Monday. In contrast to the small number of people patronizing pork or poultry booths, dog meat booths were crowded even on the rainy Monday afternoon.

In addition to customers, many others took photos of either vendors chopping up the meat or dog meat lined up on counters.

Several vendors reached by the Global Times said that their products were not made from pet dogs but "edible dogs" that were bred like other livestock, with the uniform size of the dogs as proof.

"Some activists showed up today, but only outside the hall. We have already been ordered to move indoors. It is not like we are engaging in illegal business," said a vendor surnamed Zhang. "Some of them came to the market before us just to protest."

Dog meat restaurants have also been asked by local authorities to move their tables indoors, after a fierce scuffle between a customer and a dog lover at a restaurant last year.

Restaurants offering dog meat on

Jiangbin Road, Yulin's famous "dog meat street," removed the key word from their sign on Monday with police nearby.

Yang Xiaoyun, a prominent 65-year-old activist from Tianjin, also said that the slaughtering of dogs has also been banned at the Yulin Market.

"But I am pretty sure that most dogs were not raised in a dog farm. They were stray dogs brought from other provinces," she said, adding that many dogs may have been sold from kennels across China.

In 2014, Yang gained fame after spending 150,000 yuan ($25,000) of her retirement savings to buy live dogs from restaurants in Yulin. Pictures of her kneeling in front of a young man begging him to sell his dogs also went viral online.

She told the Global Times that as of Monday, she had spent more than 10,000 yuan buying some 500 dogs and cats from Yulin markets. Yang said she will buy more dogs on Tuesday. 

"Local authorities also assigned police officers to protect me from vendors who may try to harm me," she added.

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