22 June, 2016
Also see: Yulin Dog Meat Festival brings mixed Chinese opinionsThe festival has drawn widespread condemnation from dog lovers and animal rights activists around the world, who consider it cruel and unnecessary.
"The dog meat festival, though not promoted by the local government, is a private and spontaneous activity", a representative of the Yulin government wrote to Michael Tien, a Hong Kong deputy to China's National People's Congress, Channel NewsAsia reported. The underlying, traditional belief that these dog-eaters hold is that the meat helps them cope with the heat during summer.
Following worldwide opposition, including condemnation for a second year from high-profile comedian Ricky Gervais, the Yulin government has distanced itself from the festival.
In New York City, animal rights activists are putting pressure on the Chinese government to end the festival. Yulin, despite being comparatively small at seven million people, features in China's top 10 for cases of rabies in humans. With that said, the festival only began a few years back.
He noted that dog eaters represented a minority of China's 1.3 billion population and the dog meat industry constituted "an insignificant part of the Chinese economy". These days, dog meat is becoming increasingly uncommon, despite there being a history of its consumption.
Whether a dog, a pig, a chicken or a fish, no animal wants to suffer and die for our plates, and we urge everyone to condemn the slaughter of animals for meat'.
As the dog eating festival neared, Chinese social media is full of alerts to the pet owners asking them to protect their pet from dog thieves.
Opponents of the festival argue the dogs are treated and killed in "abominable" ways, but organizers reject the charge and argue that eating dog is no different than eating pork or beef.
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But even as countless dogs are stolen each year by gangs and the government continues to avoid taking decisive action to stop the trade, the practice of devouring man's best friend is losing public favor as dogs become more popular pets and the public gains an awareness of animal welfare.
Thousands of dogs are killed cruelly for their meat every year to celebrate the summer solstice.
Several restaurants had also noticeably removed references to "dog meat" from their signs.
In previous years some 10,000 dogs have been slaughtered during the 10-day festival.
"Now Westerners are demanding non-Westerners change their eating habits, because they think their cultures and feelings deserve more respect than others", it said last week.
Once the festival kicks off the dogs are clubbed over the head or have their throats slit before they are thrown into boiling water.
A Malaysian vet posted this photo of dogs rescued from Yulin's dog meat festival.
However, the celebration coincided with the Muslims' observance of Ramadan, which started on June 6, during which they have to fast from dawn to dusk for a month.