June 22, 2016 – Despite animal rights activists’ opposition, China’s southern city, Yulin, started its dog meat annual festival on Tuesday as residents of the said city complained of the measures of the new Yulin government to keep the annual festival low key.
The event features meat consumption with thousands of dogs waiting to be killed. This month, animal rights activists handed Beijing authorities a fully supported petition with 11 million signatures willing to protest against the annual dog meat festival, which they believe is very cruel.
Although only a small number of dogs were on sale at the central market of the city, several animal right activists bought the dogs that would otherwise end up dead.
“Dogs are man’s best friend – the most loyal friend. You tell me. How could we eat our best friends?” said Yang Yuhua, one of the animal rights activists who flew from Chongqing city just to buy dogs sold at the Yulin annual dog meat festival this year.
Yan Yuhua spent over 1,000 yuan – equivalent to $150 – to buy 2 caged dogs from the vendor. Vendors said that they expected for good business this year.
According to a dog vendor surnamed Zhou, there are a lot of people who like to eat dog meat – it’s their habit. But, despite the open sales during annual festivals, the Chinese for dog meat couldn’t be found at any restaurants in Yulin specializing in dog.
A restaurant owner from Anhui province, Xu Yongfen, said he was very disappointed in efforts of the city to keep the annual festival low key. Not only this restaurant owner, but most residents in Yulin were disappointed about the government not letting them celebrate the festival openly.
In fact, the government of Yulin has distanced itself from the festival, saying it was run by private business people and didn’t have official backing.
Historically, dog ownership in China was once looked down as a decadent bourgeois habit. Dog meat is in fact a traditional Chinese food mostly in southern cities where residents believe eating the meat is beneficial for the body especially during the steamy summers. However, China’s growing middleclass nowadays has started to fight against what they see as a barbarous abuse.