Celebrities, MPs, campaigners hand in 11 million-signature petition at China’s London Embassy, to end China’s Yulin dog meat festival

Actress Carrie Fisher & her dog Gary, Made In Chelsea’s Lucy Watson & dog Digby, singer Sandi Thom & dog Laddie, actress Jenny Seagrove, TV Vet Marc Abraham, TV dog trainer Victoria Stilwell attend.

Humane Society International

The largest ever petition to end China’s annual Yulin dog meat festival – which has amassed more than 11 million signatures – has been handed in to the Chinese Embassy in London by celebrities, MPs and animal campaigners from Humane Society International, RaiseUrPaw, Duo Duo Project, and petition sites 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 pet owners and dog thieves have had numerous violent clashes.

Chinese animal campaigners who vehemently oppose the Yulin dog meat festival, and who initiate protests and dog rescues all year round, have warmly welcomed the 11 million-signature petition. In the last few weeks alone, activists from China Animal Protection Power, set up with the help of Humane Society International, have rescued some 500 dogs from trucks headed for slaughter. Many of the dogs were pure breeds such as golden retrievers and huskies who were still wearing their pet collars.

On June 10th HSI takes the petition to Beijing for a hand in at the Yulin government office, and from there they will head to Yulin to shine a global spotlight on the suffering and to rescue dogs wherever they can.

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.    Every year, 30 million dogs are killed across Asia for their meat, some 10-20 million 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 eaten by no more than 20 per cent of the Chinese population

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, said: “In a couple of weeks, thousands of dogs will be beaten to death and eaten at the Yulin dog meat festival. Millions die this way in China every year. Our petition shows that people across the world are uniting to urge President Xi Jingping to act to end Yulin – it’s unspeakably cruel, largely illegal and a threat to human health. Those are three very compelling reasons to stop this barbaric event and shut down China’s dog meat trade altogether.”

Douglas Atherton, president of Raise Ur Paw, said: “The dog/cat meat trade and Yulin dog/cat meat festival are glimpses at what true inhumanity looks like and what some will allow innocent life to endure. Local authorities and Government officials need to become involved to bring about an end to this cruelty, and to put in place laws that protect the lives of these innocent animals- it is time to raise ur paw for the whole world to see and make that difference for life.”

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.”

Carrie Fisher, who attended with her dog Garry, said: “There is so much animal suffering in the world, and much of it you feel helpless to end. But stopping the Yulin dog meat festival and ending all that suffering is easy. All the Chinese authorities need to do is declare it shut down, and the killing stops. These poor dogs need us to fight for them. Every single one of them is as precious as my dear Gary, every one of them is someone’s best friend.”

Lucy Watson attended the petition hand-in with her German Spitz Klein dog, Digby. Lucy said: “No animal deserves to be abused and mutilated the way the dogs in the meat festival are and to think that could be my best friend, Digby, is unbearable.”

Singer Sandi Thom said: “I feel so passionate about this issue. Once these poor dogs fall into the hands of the meat traders, they have absolutely no-one but us to speak up for them. How can we be silent in the face of such blatant cruelty?”

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.”

Mike Baillie, Avaaz campaigner, said: “China’s dog meat trade is barking up the wrong tree. Public tolerance for such a barbaric practice is slipping fast, with more than 8 million Chinese citizens supporting a ban. Now with international pressure including from Avaaz supporters, we’re closer and closer to ending the Yulin dog meat festival, stopping the unregulated dog meat market, and averting a public health nightmare.”

Media Contact: Wendy Higgins, whiggins@hsi.org, +44(0)7989 972 423

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