Local dog meat festival shouldn’t be canceled forcefully

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/6/15 0:58:01

As the annual Dog Meat Festival approaches in Yulin, South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, animal rights protection groups and opinion leaders have started campaigning in a bid to cancel the festival.

Western media reported an international association of animal rights advocates presented an 11 million-people-endorsed petition to the Chinese Embassy in the UK and a Yulin liaison office in Beijing, calling for the festival's end. A representative of the association said there would be millions of people joining in the appeal by June 21.

"Millions of protesters" might be a bluff, but Western media seems to be wrestling with the festival, and Yulin will face rising pressures.

The Yulin government clarified several years ago that the festival was a civil event, which had never been endorsed by the government. Recent years have seen the Chinese losing interest in the festival, and the scale of the event shrinking. But the government has no legitimacy rooting out the bazaar-like event by using administrative forces.

It is understandable that many Westerners oppose eating dog meat. Muslims and Hindus have their own taboos against eating some particular kind of meat, and in their eyes, some Western-style eating habits might be insulting. Unfortunately, now Westerners are demanding non-Westerners change their eating habits, because they think their cultures and feelings deserve more respect than others. Such a condescending attitude is not comfortable. It is true that Western culture holds a dominant position among all cultures. On the eve of the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, the Korean government had to carry out a mild blow to dog meat restaurants under the strong protest of many Western NGOs.

Eating dog meat has never been a popular tradition around all of China. The Dog Meat Festival in Yulin is only an individual case. As many Chinese families now raise dogs as pets, the Chinese are reconsidering the role of dogs in their lives, but a consensus has not been reached.

As globalization advances, people from Yulin should have put into consideration the consequences of this controversial event beforehand. However, the tradition of eating dog meat in Yulin shouldn't be forcefully abandoned, because it will be a violation of human rights.

Some Western media and animal rights protection groups have hyped up the festival to be a blot on China's national image. This is no more than a kind of cultural extremism.

Eating dog meat will be a long-standing controversy, and opposition from Westerners will continue increasing the heat of the debate. This question will only be resolved gradually by itself. Any instigation should not be encouraged.

Posted in: Observer

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