Chinese and international animal campaigners gathered outside the Yulin government office in Beijing to present the largest ever petition to end China’s annual Yulin dog meat festival. Humane Society International, VShine and Beijing Mothers Against Animal Cruelty submitted the more than 11 million-signature petition which also included signatures from Canadian group RaiseURPaw, U.S.-based Duo Duo Project, Care2 and Avaaz.
More than 10 million dogs are killed every year across China for their meat, with thousands set to die for the annual dog meat festival in Yulin on June 21st. Most of the dogs are stolen pets and strays grabbed from the streets, still wearing their collars when they reach the slaughterhouse where they are typically beaten to death. Most people in China don’t eat dogs, and there have been numerous violent clashes between pet owners and dog thieves.
Chinese animal campaigners who vehemently oppose the Yulin dog meat festival, and who initiate protests and dog rescues all year round, warmly welcomed the 11 million-signature petition. In the last few weeks alone, some 500 dogs have been rescued from trucks headed for slaughter by activists from China Animal Protection Power set up with the help of HSI. Many of the dogs were pure breeds such as golden retriever and huskies who were still wearing their pet collars.
From Beijing, HSI’s China policy specialist Peter Li, Ph.D, will head to Yulin to shine a global spotlight on the suffering and to rescue dogs wherever possible.
Five facts about the Yulin dog meat festival
1. It’s not a traditional festival, it was only invented in 2010 by dog traders to boost profits
2. Before the festival started, Yulin had no history of mass dog slaughter and consumption
3. Thirty million dogs a year are killed across Asia for their meat, some 10-20million in China alone, and thousands die just for Yulin
4. The World Health Organisation warns that the dog trade spreads rabies and increases the risk of cholera 20-fold
5. Dog meat is only eaten infrequently by less than 20 per cent of the Chinese population
Peter Li, China Policy Specialist at Humane Society International, said from Beijing: “As a Chinese American who grew up in mainland China, I know how strong is the opposition in both nations and globally towards the Yulin dog meat festival. China’s dog meat trade is animal abuse and criminality on a massive scale, and a stain on China’s international reputation. There is no good reason for the Chinese government to tolerate this cruelty any longer, so we urge President Xi Jingping to protect the people from this illegal and unsanitary trade, and to protect innocent animals from such wanton cruelty.”
Yufeng Xu, founder of Beijing Mothers Against Animal Cruelty said: “Yulin is a total embarrassment to China. Its failure to stop mass dog slaughter and mass dog consumption shows that the local authorities are not doing their job to protect the people, especially young children. We urge the Yulin authorities to stand on the right side of history and to end the ‘festival’ in the interests of public security, food safety, social morality and China’s reputation.”
Douglas Atherton, president of Raise Ur Paw, said: “The dog/cat meat trade and Yulin dog/cat meat festival are representations and glimpses at what true inhumanity and barbarism looks like and what some humanity will allow innocent life to endure and be subjected too. Local authorities and government officials need to become involved to bring upon not only an end and prevention of this inhumanity, but to put in place laws that protect the lives of the innocent – it is time to raise ur paw for the whole world to see and make that difference for life.”
Danyang Pan of VShine said: “This is the third year of our participation in the nation-wide campaign against the Yulin dog meat festival. Since we have over the last few years helped accommodate dogs rescued from the dog meat trade, we know Yulin’s dog meat market relies on dogs from suspicious sources. I hope that Yulin authorities will take actions to stop the dog trucks from going into their city so that the mass slaughter on the summer solstice day won’t happen.”
Andrea Gung for Duo Duo Project said: “As a Chinese-American, I feel proud of China’s many achievements. Yet, the Yulin dog meat festival is a ridiculous show of human insensitivity and indifference to the suffering of companion animals and to the feelings of animal lovers in China and around the world. I believe it is time that China’s national government to step in and the local authorities to take concrete actions to stop the festival.”
Aaron Viles, Care2 Senior Grassroots Organizer, said: “Care2 members are speaking out loudly against this atrocious event that provides an outlet for animal mistreatment, theft, and the spread of disease. Care2 members are urging the Chinese Embassy in London to help end this event and will continue to speak out against this slaughter until action is taken.”
Alice Jay, Avaaz campaigns director, said: “Millions around the world are standing with millions across China calling for an end to the gruesome Yulin dog festival and the unregulated dog meat trade. The stealing, beating and cooking of these dogs is not a centuries-old tradition, but a barbaric business practice that must end, now.”