With just 11 weeks to go until China’s Yulin dog meat festival, animal groups from across China gathered in Beijing to stand in solidarity with Humane Society International’s global #StopYulin campaign to end the annual event, where an estimated 10,000 dogs and countless cats are brutally slaughtered for human consumption.
HSI’s China Policy Specialist Dr Peter Li travelled to Beijing direct from Yulin, bringing new video and photographic evidence of mass dog and cat slaughter continuing to take place in the city even outside of the festival period, something the Yulin authorities have repeatedly denied. HSI estimates that as many as 300 dogs are being killed for food every day in Yulin, with dogs being beaten to death very close to local schools within earshot of children as young as six years old. (Click on Media Downloads to view the video)
The Capital Animal Welfare Association, VShine Animal Protection, The Ta Foundation, Hong Kong SPCA and China Animal Protection Power joined with HSI to add China’s voice to the global protest against its brutal dog meat trade. The campaigners were joined by Lian Lian, a dog rescued from a dog meat truck bound for slaughter, now adopted by a loving family in Dalian.
HSI’s Peter Li visited three dog and cat slaughterhouses where numerous animals were seen still wearing their collars, indicating that these were stolen pets. HSI witnessed animals being bludgeoned to death with metal rods in full view of their cage mates. Traumatised dogs waiting to be killed were kept in holding pens, the floor awash with blood.
Li said “This was one of the most harrowing visits I’ve ever made to Yulin. The dogs and cats I saw were visibly traumatized, their spirits broken from their terrifying ordeal. It’s hard to imagine their mental suffering, watching other dogs being killed, disemboweled and dismembered in front of them. It was like a scene from a nightmare that will haunt me forever. It shocked me to see how close these awful scenes are to local schools, with a high risk of young children being exposed to sounds and sights of extreme animal suffering. And it is apparent from the volume of dogs, and animals wearing pet collars, that Yulin remains a hub for dog and cat theft. It is astonishing that this illegal and cruel trade is tolerated, and so HSI is joining hands with our Chinese animal group partners to urge the Chinese government to crack down on the trade in time to halt the Yulin festival once and for all.”
HSI brought back video and photos from two slaughter operations in Yulin, taken between March 29 and April 2, and confirmed that dog meat is widely available in restaurants throughout the city. From interviews with dog meat traders and local residents, HSI estimates that around 300 dogs are being killed in Yulin daily, with a high likelihood that dogs and cats are being stolen to meet demand. One restaurant owner told HSI that whenever he needs dogs, he simply calls a trader and dogs are provided immediately. There is a constant supply with at least one truck every day bringing live dogs from areas outside the city and other parts of the country.
Mm. Qin from Capital Animal Welfare Association called on the whole of China to reject the Yulin festival. Mm. Qin said: “I appeal to you, our Government, to crack down on the illegal activities involved in the dog meat trade, a cancerous act that carries so many negative connotations. China’s reputation is in great jeopardy because of this so-called ‘tradition,’ an eating habit that has long been discredited as something indecent and distasteful by our ancestors.”
An estimated 10-20 million dogs are killed for human consumption every year in China. It is a brutal trade that involves immense animal cruelty, criminal activity and serious risk to human health, with the World Health Organisation confirming that the trade is linked to cholera and rabies. The Yulin festival takes place this year on June 21, and HSI’s team will return to shine a global spotlight on the suffering. In the meantime, they are leading the global #StopYulin campaign with an online petition at www.hsi.org/helpstopyulin which will be submitted to Chinese officials in early June.