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June 16, 2016

Poll: Majority of Chinese public wants Yulin dog meat festival shut down

Humane Society International, Avaaz, Capital Animal Welfare Association

  • Dogs rescued from a Yulin slaughterhouse last week. Mai Zi/CAPP

Just days ahead of China’s annual Yulin dog meat festival on June 21, a new poll has found that most Chinese citizens want to see an end to the festival, saying it blackens China’s image.

The poll was conducted by Chinese polling company Horizon, who frequently commission government-sponsored surveys, and was commissioned by Chinese group China Animal Welfare Association in collaboration with Humane Society International and Avaaz. Horizon found that among polled respondents:

  • 64 percent support the end of the Yulin festival
  • 51.7 percent say the dog meat trade should be completely banned
  • 62 percent think Yulin damages China’s reputation
  • 69.5 percent have never eaten dog meat

Qin Xiaona, director of the Capital Animal Welfare Association, said: “The vibrant campaign to end the Yulin dog meat festival is rooted in Chinese opposition to the event, supported by people from around the world who agree that this cruel trade must not be tolerated. It is embarrassing to us that the world wrongly believes that the brutally cruel Yulin festival is part of Chinese culture. It isn’t and as we see in this poll, most people here don’t eat dogs and believe that the festival damages China’s global reputation.”

The poll comes just months after an unprecedented eight million Chinese people voted online in support of a legislative proposal to ban the dog meat trade in China by the National People’s Congress Deputy Zheng Xiaohe. And last week, petitions signed by more than 11 million people around the world were submitted to policy makers in Beijing, demonstrating that people globally join their call to end the trade.

Over the past few years, as calls to end Yulin’s cruel dog meat event have gained momentum, local governments have responded by disassociating themselves from dog-eating festivals. In 2011, officials banned the popular Jinhua Hutou dog meat festival, and in 2014 Yulin’s local government closed several markets and slaughterhouses and banned officials from eating dog meat at local restaurants.

The Yulin festival has no cultural significance. It was launched in 2010 by dog meat traders looking to make a profit. Billed as a “celebration” of dog meat to mark the summer solstice, it sees thousands of dogs abused and killed, many of them stolen pets snatched from their homes and streets by dog meat traders.

The poll has been warmly welcomed by campaigners Avaaz and Humane Society International, two of the groups involved in the Beijing petition delivery.

Luis Morago, campaign director at Avaaz, said: “This poll squelches any remaining doubt about where Chinese citizens stand on Yulin’s brutal beating and burning of pups. Local officials have taken steps to cleanse their hands of this gruesome practice, now it’s time for leaders to listen to their people and the people of the world and eliminate it entirely.”

Peter Li, China policy specialist at Humane Society International, said: “The Chinese people have spoken – most don’t eat dogs and want to see the cruel Yulin dog meat festival ended once and for all. There is still a window of opportunity here for the government to act by shutting down this brutal event, and we implore them to do so before it’s too late to save thousands of dogs and cat from an appalling fate.”

Fight the Dog Meat Trade.

China’s dog meat trade also involves immense animal cruelty including poisoning to capture animals and beating them to death in slaughterhouses, and has been linked to outbreaks of rabies and cholera in humans, according to the World Health Organization.

CAWA will submit the poll results to national government officials in Beijing this week.

For more information or interviews please contact:

HSI: Raul Arce-Contreras, rcontreras@humanesociety.org, +1 301.721.6440

Avaaz: Oscar Soria, oscar@avaaz.org, 415-217-9392

The survey polled a representative sample of 2,000 Chinese citizens aged between 16 and 50 years, using a combination of online, phone and face to face interview, and drawn randomly from 1,000 cities, 500 counties and 500 rural communities. The cities where the samples were drawn included the first tier metropolis, provincial capitals, and sub-provincial cities scattered across China's coastal, central, and western regions. Probability Proportionate to Size Sampling was adopted in making the sample size decisions. The poll includes respondents from Yulin in Guangxi. The 2,000 samples were distributed as follows: 400 from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, China's most developed cities; 300 from Harbin, Wuhan, and Xian (provincial capitals); 300 from sub-provincial cities of Yulin, Kaiping in Guangdong and Jinghua in Zhejiang; 500 from five counties in Guangdong, Shan'xi, Guangxi, and Zhejiang; 100 samples from five villages.

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