When animal advocates cheered the banning of dog meat sales at China’s Yulin Festival, finally bringing hope to the thousands and thousands of dogs and cats inhumanely slaughtered and sold during the week long ancient celebration, unfortunately the news has now been reported to have been false. According to Animals Asia, government officials threatened fines of 100,000 yuan (14649.22 US dollars) for those violating the ban during the festival set to begin on Wednesday.
On the Animals Asia Facebook page, the disturbing news was announced:
“The rumoured ban was due to begin yesterday, but our sources in the city tell us dog meat was openly on sale just as it is every other day.
We still believe the city authorities want to end the city’s global association with the minority activity of eating dog – but while eating dog is legal in China, and the event itself is purely informal, it is difficult to see how they can.
That is why our focus has to be wider. We have to end dog meat eating every day of the year, all over the country.
That is the real issue and it requires a consistent and holistic approach. Education, collaboration, promoting responsible companion animal guardianship, using existing laws to challenge illegality and providing humane solutions to stray populations – these are the solutions that will end the industry.”
Yulin officials continue to deny the ban on meat sales. According to the Beijing News, June 15 had been the date the ban was scheduled to begin, however reporters were later told by the Yulin Publicity Department that the Yulin festival is not an authorized event making it out of the purview of the government to call the event off. The Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat Festival celebrates the summer solstice, and at one time had been supported by the local government to boost the city’s economy, however the continued controversy and the world’s compassion for dogs has made officials distant themselves from the event. Since 2014, the festival has continued on its own, although no measures have been done to curb the event.
According to the Humane Society International, however a compromise reached between dog meat sellers and Yulin authorities permitted the vendors to sell two dog carcasses each. Advocates claim there has been a crackdown by authorities forcing the vendors to shut down their stands. According to the organization’s Chinese activist partner, Sean Long stated:
“It doesn’t look like business as usual at Dongkou market in Yulin. It’s disappointing to see dog meat still on sale, but nothing like the amount we’ve seen in the past.”
Business in the dog meat trade has been reported to be much slower with numerous vendors not wanting to take the chance of being fined. Most advocates were encouraged to see the Yulin authorities enforcing the compromise, and although the condition of the ban are far from what advocates and humane organizations want to see, it is all having an impact on the event.
“Animals Asia: Dog meat eating takes place every day of the year – and that is exactly how much time we must devote to ending it. It’s not a case of East vs West, it is animal lovers all over the world standing together for the sake of the 10 million dogs needlessly slaughtered every year. Let China’s animal lovers know you stand with them by signing our open letter today: http://endthedogmeattrade.animalsasia.org/ “
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(Photos via HSI and Animals Asia)
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