New survey reveals dog meat consumption in Yulin China isn’t popular despite controversial dog meat festival

Humane Society International

One week ahead of the controversial dog meat festival in Yulin, China on 21st June, a new survey conducted by Chinese state-registered charities and assisted by a team of six research staff from the Yulin Municipal Government, reveals that most people living in Yulin don’t regularly eat dog meat despite efforts by dog meat traders to promote it.

The survey, conducted in May this year by Beijing’s Capital Animal Welfare Association and Vshine Animal Protection Association, shows that the majority of Yulin residents, 72 percent, do not regularly eat dog meat, indicating that dog meat eating is not part of the culinary mainstream in Yulin. Only  28 percent eat it on a regular basis, with a mere 12 percent eating it weekly.

Survey summary:

  • 12.66 percent never eat dog meat
  • 24.18 percent rarely eat it
  • 34.99 percent eat it five or six times per year
  • 16.36 percent eat it three or four times per month
  • 11.81 percent eat it once a week

Thousands of dogs and cats are brutally slaughtered for human consumption at the Yulin event, part of an annual trade across China that sees more than 10 million dogs and four million cats annually killed for eating, most of them stolen pets and strays. Yulin dog traders have attempted to promote the festival as a cultural and historical event, when in truth it was launched as recently as 2010 with very little dog meat eating in the city prior to that.

Humane Society International, a global partner group of CAWA and Vshine campaigning across Asia for an end to the dog meat trade, has welcomed the survey. The three groups believe the survey dispels the myth that dog meat eating is vital to the Yulin economy and hope it emboldens authorities there to close down the festival for good. Last month it was revealed that a temporary ban on dog meat sales will be introduced this year from 15th June with heavy penalties for violations. Although Chinese officials have yet to formally confirm the ban, it has been independently verified by multiple organisations on the ground including the Duo Duo Project, Animals Asia Foundation, The Ta Foundation, ACTAsia and HSI.

Peter Li, China policy specialist for HSI, said: “Despite the effort by dog traders to heavily promote the eating of dog for the last seven years, it’s clear that the majority of Yulin residents still don’t eat it on anything like a regular basis. The truth is that eating dog and cat is not part of China’s mainstream culinary practice even in Yulin, the home of the dog meat festival. We’ve already seen the Yulin authorities take steps to curb the sale of dog meat, so we hope that these survey results will encourage them to go even further. Far from being vital to the Yulin economy or way of life, the dog meat festival is a national disgrace that tarnishes the name of the city around the world. Now is the time to end it.”

Qin Xiaona, director of CAWA, said: “The survey results are encouraging. The survey tells the world that Yulin’s food culture is not defined by the local dog meat traders. Their cultural claim is not supported by the survey. Those of us who lived in Guangxi in the past know that dog meat consumption was a distasteful habit. You just did not cook dog meat in your own kitchen. The survey results should encourage the Yulin authorities to correct the misperception perpetrated by the dog meat industry by fostering a new and healthy food culture in line with the rapid progress in the rest of the country.”

HSI is calling on Yulin official Mr. Mo Gong Ming to end the Yulin festival for good.

Media contact: Wendy Higgins, HSI Director of International media:; +44 (0)7989 972 423

Notes to editor:

  • The survey is available in Chinese here and English here.
  • A survey conducted in June 2016 by CAWA, HSI and Avaaz shows that 69.5 percent of people nationally say they have never eaten dog meat; 17.3 percent say that they consume dog meat once or twice per year; 6.4 percent eat it 3 to 5 times per year; 2.5 percent eat it up to 10 times a year.
  • The survey was conducted between 19 – 28 May 2017 in the city and rural communities of Yulin, China. The designed sample size was 800. The actual respondents were 703. Interception was used to select the samples in marketplaces, public parks, business centers, and villages to ensure that the respondents represent Yulin residents by gender (53.2 percent males, 46.8 percent females), age (18 to 75 years of age), residence (rural 43.39 percent and urban 56.61 percent), level of education, level of income, ethnicity (Han Chinese vs Zhuang minority), location of dog meat consumption (home or restaurants), and pet ownership status.

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