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Annual Dog Meat Festival Continues to Divide Chinese Public

Dogs are being killed in Guangxi Yulin.

Dogs are being killed in Guangxi Yulin.

From Global Times:

UK’s The Guardian: Guangxi Yulin Dog-Meat Festival Causes Controversy

Some volunteers are rescuing dogs from a dog-meat restaurant.
Source image: Volunteers rescuing dogs from a dog-meat restaurant.

UK’s The Guardian article on June 18th, original title: Chinese City Criticized over Dog-Meat Festival. In a small city of Southern China, city residents were preparing to hold an annual dog-meat festival, however, animal rights organizations have been strongly condemning this unsafe and inhumane activity.

[Note: The Chinese article itself is a Chinese translation and paraphrasing of the original English article published by The Guardian. Translating it back to English shows how things can change when translated multiple times.]

For the city residents of Guangxi Yulin, it’s a kind of tradition to eat dog meat on summer solstice. Many people cherish Yulin’s dog-meat culture which increases the sales on dog-meat hotpot and strong grain alcohols.

Animal rights organizations have pointed out that, every year, 10,000 dogs are slaughtered during dog-meat festival and that many of them are even electrocuted, burned, or skinned to death. According to pictures posted online, many dogs were skinned, hanging from hooks, and many dog’s corpses were piled up on the side of the road. In China, dog-meat is considered a nutritious food in winter. For the treatment of illnesses on such as the circulation of blood, doctors would even prescribe dog-meat consumption as prescriptions.

In order to stop the dog-meat-eating activity, animal rights activists have taken many measures such as releasing open letters and having protests. An open letter released by a NGO in Hong Kong pointed out that many of the dogs that were slaughtered during the dog-meat festival were stolen. They were transported to Yulin in filthy, overcrowded trucks, which greatly increased the risk of them carrying rabies and other infectious diseases. But according to Yulin officials, all the dogs used at the dog-meat festival were bred by local farmers.

Workers are unload dogs from a truck at Binjiang Road in Yulin.
Workers unloading dogs from a truck at Binjiang Road in Yulin. The dogs will be butchered before being sent to restaurants.
Local residents are gathering at a riverside road in Yulin to eat dog meat on June 21.
Local residents gathering at a riverside road in Yulin to eat dog meat on June 21.
An animal rights advocate is putting up a poster that calls for people not to eat dogs and cats.
An animal rights advocate putting up a poster that calls for people not to eat dogs and cats.

From People’s Daily:

Are the Sources of the Dogs Eaten during Dog-Meat Festival Legitimate?

Recently, Guangxi Yulin’s “Lychee Dog-Meat Festival” kicked off. The controversial traditional festival, under the protests of animal protection activists, has come to the attention of public opinion again. Indeed, people in Guangxi Yulin have the habit of “eating dog meat, drinking lychee wine” on the day of summer solstice. In their views, this helps to improve the body’s ability to resist diseases.

According to a Xinhua News report, “every year on this day, people in this city would eat thousands of dogs”. Meanwhile, the sources where most of these dogs come from are not clear and complicated. In the face of animal protection activists’ censure and resistance, the Yulin municipal government responded that “the Dog-Meat Festival is neither sponsored by the government nor advocated by the government”. It seems that it is a folk custom, and the local government has no responsibilities at all.

Facing the conflict between animal protection and local customs of eating dog meat, the local governments may not have to intervene. However, it does not mean they can completely ignore it. Regarding the “Dog-Meat Festival”, the local government departments should at least investigate if the thousands of dogs that suddenly appear all come from legal sources.

At present, when it comes to quarantining and standards of animal sanitation, the relevant laws are relatively perfect. At least, there are already the “Animal Quarantine Law” and “Animals Quarantine and Administration Measures”. Two months ago, the notice “Regarding the Further Strengthening of the Quarantine and Supervision of Dogs and Cats’ Origin” that the Ministry of Agriculture issued also demanded that local animal health supervision institutions strictly follow the two laws and regulations, to establish standards for the scope, procedures and determination of quarantine, and to earnestly carry out their work of quarantine inspection of where dogs and cats are sourced. Especially with regards to the transport of dogs and cats, quarantine authorities must carry out quarantine inspection on each source one by one according to the rules and issue a quarantine certificate to each one.

For this Dog-Meat Festival in Yulin, have the local authorities strictly carried out their duties in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations? Have they done routine check-ups on those shop-owners who are selling dog-meat? For example, it is reported that shop-owners who are selling dog-meat can’t provide a certificate to show that every dog they sell comes from a legitimate source, and accords with the relevant state health regulations. If the local [authorities] enforce the law strictly, the Dog-Meat Festival may be so big, and the numbers of dogs slaughtered each year will be sharply reduced.

As a folk culinary custom formed over many years, it should be treated with seriousness and caution, and this can be understood. But since we can’t put an end to the “festival” in the short term, the local government should at least promote a law-based administration to inspect if the sources of the dogs are illegal and penalize the illegal merchants.

[Written by] Da Bai (Media Person)

Dogs are being killed in Guangxi Yulin.

Comments on Global Times:

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[环球浙江省温州市网友] zhou81:

Pork can be eaten, dog-meat cannot? It’s cruel to eat dog-meat, so eating pork is not? Then should everyone eat vegetables? Can you do that?

[环球广东省广州市网友] 康玉: (responding to above)

First, do you understand the differences between dogs and pigs? Pigs are recognized domestic animal by everyone, but dogs are not. I try to do the best of what I am able to do. You saying what you did… truly… you guys will never understand, so might as well just let society criticize you, and I’ll save my breath.

[环球广西玉林市网友] 古史: (responding to above)

It’s cruel to be vegetarian, too. Don’t forget that vegetables are plants and they also have life.

[环球江苏省常州市网友] 乌嘴宝宝毛毛: (responding to above)

Humans, as a higher level animal, already have a lot of things to eat. This is just being greedy and cruel. Have these people go to hell!!!

[环球广西来宾市网友] bobww:

Indian people say that whoever eat cows will go to hell. Muslims say that whoever eat pigs will go to see Satan. Tibetans say that whoever eats fish can’t go to heaven. Buddhists say that the sin of killing is too heavy for people to release their souls from purgatory. By the same token, all mortal beings can’t go to heaven. All people are devils in life.

[环球贵州省铜仁地区网友] 一半在天:

sometimes I think humans are the most pathetic creatures, without a bottom limit!

[环球安徽省合肥市巢湖市网友] s13865278910:

If you have ever owned a dog, you wouldn’t talk a lot of nonsense here! Compared to pigs, horses, cows and sheep, dogs are the most intelligent animal. Leaving aside the outstanding contributions made by army dogs and police dogs for national security and cracking down on criminal activities, and just on the joy that dogs bring to people, how can you bear to beat them to death, and skin them? ??

[环球广西玉林市网友] bbwlzxaa: (responding to above)

According to research, pigs are the most intelligent.

[环球广东省深圳市网友] 真诚的我: (responding to s13865278910)

Cows eat grass and produce milk and raise your descendants. The cattle contribute to plowing to feed your ancestors. Why haven’t I seen you protecting them??? Are other animals not lives?

[环球湖北省天门市网友] xiaofei305: (responding to s13865278910)

The most important thing is that you cannot steal someone else’s dog to eat. I am opposed to dog-eating, but when I go to the restaurant I will also order dog-meat hotpot. But in general I am opposed to [dog-eating]. When you go to the restaurant, if you don’t eat dog-meat, other people will.

[环球浙江省金华市网友] 严丽萍: (responding to s13865278910)

No matter what animal it is, it has its unique spirituality. You can do that, but it cannot become the reason to hinder others.

[环球湖南省长沙市网友] 愤怒与正义:

As a country of democracy, eating dog-meat is a freedom of the Chinese people. We respect our compatriots’ habit of eating dog-meat. Hope those dictators who intend to limit the freedom of others have conduct themselves with some dignity. Every individual is free and you can rely on your charisma to influence others, but you can’t slander the Dog-Meat Festival and scold people who eat dog-meat just because they eat dog-meat.

[环球河北省邯郸市网友] 五毛狗888:

At present, people all over the world are barbarians, unless humans change their appetite and eat genetically modified food… only then would that truly be moving towards civilization.

[环球广东省深圳市网友] 769112118:

If [you] are really that noble, then don’t eat meat. Whoever will eat meat again, stop being so hypocritical. Cows are the poorest, why don’t you protect them.

[环球浙江省网友] zhongtian8:

Some people are hypocritical! If you really have a loving heart, why don’t you pay more attention to the homeless people on the streets! Are those people no better than dogs in your eyes?!! To give a piece of advice to certain hypocritical people, do something truly meaningful!!!

[环球广西玉林市网友] 陈墨如:

I’m from Yulin. Yulin people eat dog-meat, but we never eat pet dogs. Most of the dogs eaten are farmed dogs, also called “Shai Chi dog”–which means they are raised to be eaten. Some are raised locally, some are from other places. Yulin didn’t used to have a Dog-Meat Festival, dog-meat was just a special dish to celebrate the summer solstice, just like eating turkey in that western holiday. It’s just that over time, dog-meat came to refer to this summer solstice holiday. People who are against it all have their own reasons, but summer solstice is just like the Spring Festival. Can’t people eat chickens, ducks, rabbits, cattle, sheep and pigs on Spring Festival? What should be protected are those endangered animals. So the opposition and argument can rest, don’t “sweep away” the festival spirit. Thanks!

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Images: Global Times & Baidu Tieba.

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