Beginning in 2009 for 10 days every year, the city of Yulin in Guanxi, China, holds a cruel and utterly barbaric Dog Meat Festival.
During summer solstice from June 21 to 30, dogs are paraded in metal and wooden cages, then skinned and cooked for consumption by festival visitors and local residents. About 10,000–15,000 dogs are eaten; the number reportedly had decreased to 1,000 in 2015.
The Chinese had eaten dog meat for thousands of years. The Yulin Dog Meat Festival organizers claim that the dogs are killed humanely and that eating dog is no different from eating pork or beef. Animal rights activists and campaigners, however, claim that the animals are treated cruelly, based on photos and videos of the event showing dogs being beaten to death with metal bars, and skinned and boiled alive. A witness claimed that some of the dogs eaten appeared to be stolen household pets, judging by their collars. (CBC News)
Admittedly, many Americans are not vegetarians and consume animal meat. But a case can and should be made that eating dog and cat meat is not comparable to eating “food-animals” such as cows, pigs, and chickens that are expressly bred for human consumption. Dogs and cats have a special relationship with humans, having been domesticated thousands of years ago. As such, these pet animals have a different nature than food-animals, which makes our eating them for pleasure, not necessity, barbaric. See:
- Dog uses own body to keep toddler alive in Siberian cold
- Blind dog, Norman, rescues drowning girl
- Puppy ‘took the bullet’ to protect woman from rattlesnake
- Hero dog, beaten and shot, protects boy from home invaders
- Missing dog showed up at owner’s funeral 490 miles away
- Dog visits owner’s grave every day
- Russian cat saves baby abandoned in box in freezing cold
- Cat protects 5-year-old boy from bullies
Not all Chinese eat dog meat. In 2016, millions of Chinese supported a legislative proposal by Zhen Xiaohe, a deputy to China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, to ban the dog meat trade, but to no avail.
An editorial in the Chinese government’s official newspaper, People’s Daily, points out that while animal-welfare activists regard dogs as “companion animals”, dogs do not have this special status in the Chinese legal system. A 2015 editorial in Global Times (Huanqiu), a tabloid under the auspices of the People’s Daily which focuses on international issues from the Chinese government’s perspective, called the West’s objection to the Dog Meat Festival a part of the diabolical Western campaign against China.
There is a Change.org petition asking the mayor of Yulin to end the Dog Meat Festival. As of the writing of this post, 83,328 people have signed; the petition’s goal is 150,000 signatures.
To sign the petition, click here.
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