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June 16, 2017

Report from Yulin

Animal groups see mixed results as dog vendors fight sales ban at Chinese dog meat festival

Humane Society International

  • The mood in the markets is greatly subdued. SL 2017

  • Yulin's most famous dog meat restaurant removed "dog meat" from its name. ZYH 2017

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Update, June 16, 2017:

Chinese activists have asked Humane Society International to help circulate video filmed yesterday (June 15) at Nanqiao market in Yulin, China showing Yulin law enforcement officers closing down dog meat stalls and enforcing the compromise sales ban. As HSI reported earlier, a last-minute compromise deal was reached between angry dog meat vendors and the Yulin authorities whereby vendors are permitted to sell dog meat but limited to two dog carcasses per stand, a dramatic reduction for most vendors.

It seems that many dog meat traders have gravitated towards Nanqiao market as trading at Dongkou market, a hub for the dog meat trade, has become more problematic. HSI's Chinese partners spotted traders at Nanqiao market to be selling in apparent violation of the new order. They reported the activity to the authorities in Yulin. This was then followed by a crackdown whereby the traders were told to close down their stands, as shown in this video.

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HSI’s partner groups are also reporting that the Yulin police department has set up a temporary office in the main Dongkou market for daily inspections to enforce the order, and so HSI would encourage Chinese activists on the ground to swiftly report any violations they see. HSI’s partner groups will continue to monitor the situation and assist the Yulin police in taking action against dog meat vendors who violate the order.

Dr. Peter Li, HSI’s China policy specialist, said: “It is encouraging to see the Yulin authorities enforcing the compromise ban that they themselves struck with Yulin officials. It shows that while the restricted sales order is by no means perfect, it is absolutely having an impact and Yulin law enforcement want to be seen to be taking it seriously. Our Chinese partners share the frustration of animal campaigners around the world that change in Yulin is a long time coming, but they are keen for this video to go viral so that people can see that progress is being made and the dog traders are definitely feeling the pressure. This kind of crackdown is certainly causing vendors to hold off buying more dogs, and word is spreading.”


Update, June 15, 2017:

Chinese animal campaigners have traveled to the city of Yulin to assess the impact of a ban on dog meat sales introduced by Yulin officials starting June 15.

Chinese animal protection groups are monitoring the main dog meat market called Dongkou, as well as other locations around Yulin, and confirm that while some dog meat is still on sale, it is currently in much smaller volumes than they have witnessed in previous years. Some dog vendors have reported that the Yulin authorities have been persuaded to make concessions to them in the last few days, although others are reducing their trade in anticipation of the ban's being more robustly implemented later this week.

HSI's Chinese activist partner Sean Long said: “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 was slow at the market, with far fewer buyers. Some vendors we spoke with said they believed they were allowed to sell dog meat again, and hinted that some kind of concession had been gained from the authorities just in the last couple of days. However, other vendors expressed doubt that they would be allowed to continue selling dog meat for long and said that there was so much genuine uncertainty that they had decided not to order more dogs in case they can’t sell them.”

Humane Society International has campaigned for several years for an end to the Yulin dog meat festival, and is tackling the trade in dogs and cats for human consumption that takes place all year round and nationwide across China. HSI believes that while it is discouraging to see that Yulin authorities may be bowing to the interest of the dog meat traders, the impact the reported ban on sales of dog meat appears to be having on reducing sales is still a significant step in the right direction.

Dr Peter Li, HSI’s China policy specialist, said: “It’s so easy to be disheartened because of course we all want to see a total and immediate end to the sale of dogs and dog meat at Yulin, and we want to see the authorities act decisively in the public interest. But we’ve always known that ending the dog meat festival at Yulin won’t be as simple as switching off a light. Instead, it’s lots of smaller victories that build toward the end goal. From our sources in Yulin, we have learned that the authorities were taking some actions such as sending inspectors to the market to enforce the sales restriction order and starting to stop inbound dog trucks.”

We shall monitor the situation in Yulin directly through our partner group activists further up to and during the “festival” on June 21. Please take action and donate to support our campaigns.

Media contacts:

UK: Wendy Higgins, Director of International Media, whiggins@hsi.org

US: Raúl Arce-Contreras, rcontreras@humanesociety.org, +1-301-721-6440

For other inquiries: Call 866-614-4371 or fill out our contact form

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