The consumption of dog meat does have historical precedence in China. At its height during the Han Dynasty (202 - 220 AD), dog meat was considered a delicacy. Yet, dog eating soon lost favor and by the Sui-Tang dynasties (581 -- 907 AD), dog eating had been rejected as an indecent habit. Subsequent dynasties valued dogs as helpers and hunting partners. However, to this day every year, an estimated 10 million dogs are killed for their meat in China.
The Yulin Dog Meat Festival, which happens every year on the summer solstice, is a particularly gruesome display of the dog meat trade. This "festival," where some 10,000 dogs are slaughtered and served up as meals, is often wrongly assumed to be an ancient Chinese tradition. In fact, the festival only dates back to 2009 when it was launched in the city in China's southwest to celebrate the summer solstice.
To make the event even more gruesome - transporting the dogs to the festival is an intrinsically brutal operation. Dogs for Yulin come from as far as central and north China's Henan and Shandong, more than 1,000 miles away. They are crammed into wire cages unable to extend their limbs, denied food and water for days during the exhausting trip. The dogs arrive at their destination malnourished and underweight, dehydrated, often dying from injuries or from being poisoned during capture. Others are already dead. No one checks to see where these dogs come from – many are heartlessly ripped from their loving homes, or darted with poison on the streets and dragged away to the slaughterhouse. Therefore, disease is rampant due to the squalid conditions and lack of medical care.
Once they arrive at the “festival”, thousands of dogs are beaten, killed, and eventually eaten by people who believe eating dog meat on this day will bring good luck. Dogs are openly killed in crowded marketplaces, on the streets, and most shockingly next to elementary schools, imposing bloody and cruel practices on vulnerable members of the public. Such public slaughter risks creating an indifferent and morally defunct society. Beating and killing these struggling, crying dogs in full view of other terrified dogs showcases an industry that is devoid of humanity. Additionally, the criminal activity of dog theft sustains much of the dog meat industry, with often violent confrontations between angry dog owners and the thieves.
Hope is on the horizon, however. As people become educated on the cruelty and health risks of dog meat, fewer dogs face slaughter. In 2015, 20% fewer dogs were killed at the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. The average Chinese citizen finds public dog slaughter inexcusably offensive. With tremendous global outcry against the festival, dog butchers were forced to hide from public eyes. Local youth held protests at Yulin City Hall demanding an end to the brutality, and activists lined the streets, spreading word about the evils of dog meat.
There is more good news: Although it was once illegal to keep dogs as pets in China, times have changed and many households now include dogs as part of the family. They are shunning dog meat and speaking out against it, and as a result, the number of dog slaughters is decreasing throughout China.
The trend is heartening, but dogs in China still face agonizing deaths for the dog meat trade and StopYulinForever Organization will not rest until the slaughter ends. Please help us continue the fight against dog meat by Take Action
Yulin Dog Meat Festival 2018 Update
Humane Society International reports from their Chinese activist contacts who have been going to Yulin for many years, that Yulin this year has been a more muted affair. Certainly there have still been the typical scenes of piles of blowtorched dog carcasses for sale on the stalls that are so hard to watch, and dogs and cat are still dying at Yulin in numbers that are hard to comprehend, neverthless the sale of dogs was not observed in the volume of years past, and locals have been saying the same. Many of the dog meat restaurants were busy, but most only until 9 pm and restaurants workerswere often having to call to people on the street to encourage them to come and eat. We`ve heard that the Yulin authorities have been claiming fewer western activists were in Yulin this year, and the's probably true but that's not necessarily a bad thing -many foreign activists have realized that descending on Yulin is not necessarily helping the longer term campaign, and it's far better to support Chinese groups and empower them to create change from within. That strategic shift is important and needs to happen. Also, China's new Foreign NGO Law is preventing many groups from openly operating on the groun in Yulin, placing new restrictions on their movements that we've not seen previously. There is enormous Chinese opposition to the dog meat trade, and the more visible that gets the closer we are to dismantling this dreadfully cruel and crime-fueled trade.
WARNING: Graphic Footage