Did you know that in 6 days China’s Annual Dog Meat Festival is set to take place? It has been taking place for two decades in Yulin, a town of 6 million people. Did you know “an estimated 90 percent of the dogs killed at the festival each year are stolen from urban households and farmers by thieves who then turn around and sell them.”? Annually it is estimated 40,000 dogs and 10,000 cats are consumed at the festival.
On average dogs are sold for $60 each, the butcher then charges the consumer (barf!) $120 for the “final product”. Supporters of the “festival” say it is there right, “if someone wants to eat it, they can kill it”. Those selling and butchering the pets say it is a business and they need to support their families.
In recent years the Yulin government has “banned” the event, but that only had a minor impact, activities still continue even when they are no longer government endorsed. Peter J Li, Ph.D. China Policy Advisor, Humane Society International posted to The Dodo stating “Last year when Yulin authorities declared the festival was over, they summoned the dog meat traders about 20 days before the summer solstice, and warned them to remove the word “dog” from their restaurants and to slaughter dogs in the cover of darkness during the early hours instead of daylight, so that the controversy would simply be hidden from public view. The visible trappings of a festival disappeared, but so did thousands of dogs.” The Humane Society International has been working with more than 35 local groups from 24 cities for more than a decade to end this cruelty.
To really understand the situation, I ask that you watch this VICE report Dining on Dogs in Yulin which has been seen by 2.3 million people – it should be seen by you too! I appreciate this particular video (including Part 2) because it shows different perspectives on the issue. In Part 2 everything is “normal”, the meat is cooked and everyone sitting at the table around various dishes, just as we sit down around a turkey or ham in America.
CNN reported on this issue in 2014 acknowledging that shifting the mindset will be an uphill battle. In an interview they conducted, it was argued that a dog meat festival is no different than a rib fest
So is the issue that the dogs being eaten were family pets? Would it be any better if the dogs came from a factory farm, like our turkey and ham? Or does the fact remain that the animal experienced cruelty at the hand of humans when they were living? Is this really our right? If you believe it is, are you really that different from your friends in Yulin?
I think its time to question this idea that humans “need to eat meat” for survival. Does telling yourself its a “need” lessen your responsibility to what happens to that animal before you buy it at the grocery store? Take a guess what my next blog post is about…
For now, #StopYulin2015
Sign the Humane Society International’s petition to end the Dog Meat Festival and stay up to date on the issue!
Photos: AP/Humane Society International