Yulin Dog Meat Festival Provokes Global Fury

By on June 22, 2015 with 49 Comments

For the last two mornings, Adam Parascandola, director of animal protection and crisis response for Humane Society International (HSI), has woken up at 3 a.m. in China to bear witness to one of the most horrific scenes you can imagine: the slaughter of thousands of dogs – and cats – for the Yulin dog meat “festival.” Adam is in Yulin with 22 other activists from HSI and our local partners on the ground. Their aim is to build momentum to stop this monstrous spectacle that persists despite surging local protests and a growing international clamor for this cruelty to end.

It pains me even to give voice to Adam’s firsthand account, since what he’s witnessing is so truly atrocious – but we must document it to rally China and the world to halt it.

“The killing has not stopped,” writes Adam, who has witnessed many scenes of animal brutality over his career with The HSUS and now HSI. “I will be haunted for the rest of my life by the sight of dogs so crowded into the slaughterhouse pen they were standing three deep on top of each other. I will never forget their cries as they were beaten.”

The Yulin dog meat “festival” is held to mark the beginning of the summer solstice. Dog meat traders falsely claim it is a time-honored traditional festival – in fact, they created it in 2009-2010 to boost their business. Many of the dogs and cats slaughtered here are stolen pets who are transported to the event site over several days, often without food and water for days on end during the long journey that can cover half of China. They watch in shock as their cage mates are ruthlessly butchered, before that same fate befalls them.

HSI staff and our Chinese partners have organized protests in front of the Yulin city government building, sponsored a 50-city protest campaign calling for an end to the festival, and sponsored four city candlelight vigils against the dog meat industry. HSI also sponsored an international Chinese open letter addressed to top leaders in Yulin, calling for a stop to the event. And all the time, we have kept the international media’s attention focused on the events in Yulin, making sure that the world learns of these atrocities. (HSI staff has also rescued one dog and two cats who will be brought to the United States for adoption – survivors and ambassadors for the continuing campaign.)

The Yulin dog meat “festival” has very little support among local Chinese who were shocked when local authorities gave enthusiastic support to the opening of this event in 2009, believing it would attract tourists. Instead, Yulin, a city of 6.7 million people, has only earned an indelible black mark and worldwide condemnation.

More and more Chinese today accept dogs and cats as friends and companions, and there are now more than 130 million dogs in China, including 27 million pets. In response to the public outcry, Yulin’s government has responded by banning public slaughter of the animals, and by removing the words “dog meat” from all banners related to the festival. But the killing continues behind closed doors and in the middle of the night.

There is no doubt that change is coming to China, as locals become more aware of the human-animal bond. Adam reported how a brave group of young activists unfurled protest banners at Yulin’s festival. Each time they unfurled a banner, they were chased by groups of unidentified men who would rip their banners away. But they kept coming back again and again, determined to ensure that their voices were heard.

In 2011, the Jinhua Dog Meat Festival was banned after huge protests. And more and more advocates are invoking China’s existing laws and regulations to expose dog meat traders who are engaging in criminal conduct by kidnapping pets. In 2014, 18 trucks bound for the slaughterhouses were stopped by activists and more than 8,000 dogs were rescued from their journeys to sure death.

A prominent Hong Kong businessman and artist, Mr. Genlin, has directed a documentary, “Eating Happiness,” about the cruelty of the dog meat trade and the work of courageous Chinese to end it. I look forward to sharing details with you about the documentary when it is released soon.

As the most influential regional power, China occupies a strategic position in the global campaign against the dog meat trade.  Its success in ending the dog meat trade has the potential to set off a chain reaction in the region.

“It is so important we be there to expose this horrendous cruelty,” Adam argues.  “We must send a message that hiding the killing in the dead of night will not bring an end to the protests against the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. Only an end to the festival can do that.”

I am proud of him and my other colleagues and the Chinese activists for confronting this awful spectacle firsthand. Now it’s up to us, and to the global community, to confront it and build sufficient pressure so that it never happens again.

Help fight the dog meat trade »

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Animal Rescue and Care, Companion Animals, Humane Society International

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49 Comments

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  1. Mic Cat says:

    Boycott China and other countries that don’t promote animal welfare and protections.

  2. psl says:

    Oh my God!! Poor beings. How can anyone cause such suffering to other living beings? How can we stop these horrors from happening?
    At the core,people should develop compassion and kindness for fellow living beings other than themselves. If people are united and combine their voices anything can be stopped. Sadly, nowadays most are like selfie mechanical materialistic robots programmed to shout only when they are hurt and enjoy when others are being hurt. Until, humans are not relieved from this demonic trait how can we expect any good to happen to the world.
    Let us all pray with our whole hearts to the Almighty that people overcome their demonic desires and humanity ,kindness and purity are rekindled in the hearts of people and make this world a divine place to live.

  3. Gloria muller says:

    This makes me sick because it reminds me of my dog that I could not found

  4. Constance says:

    I thought we humans were the “smart” animals on this planet. Apparently, i was wrong. This is sad and sickening and utterly heartbreaking. Please, please, please … keep doing what you do. I’ll keep helping and donating. Thank you.

  5. Siraganda says:

    You saved 1 – one – dog and 2 – two cats!!! Are you serious?????????? I was right in asking myself about your seriousness! Where goes all the money which people are donating? In such an hideous horrific situation one buys as many of these animals as possible, instead of constructing chimp heavens for millions! You are as guilty as these eternally cursed butchers! I am sorry but I don’t unterstand this!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Even as a private person if I would be there I would return with at least 30 animals!!!!!! Please explain yourself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Vaishali Honawar says:

      Hi, I am the blog editor of A Humane Nation. According to Kitty Block, vice-president of HSI, while the impulse to buy dogs and save them from the killing is strong, doing so can actually fuel the stealing of dogs. That’s because the traders have figured out they can get more money by torturing the dogs in front of activists who will buy them, rather than selling them to the dog meat market. The dogs and cats HSI rescues are not usually acquired through buying, and they are brought to the United States to serve as ambassadors, to increase awareness about the dog meat trade and mount pressure on China to end this festival. Our goal is to help put an end to this gruesome trade once and for all. HSI-supported activists have also saved more than 8,000 dogs from the butcher’s knives, removing them from 18 trucks and one slaughterhouse. Nearly 7,000 of the confiscated dogs were adopted out locally within days.

      • Siraganda says:

        First of all I thank you for putting my comments up here, even if they are not very pleasing! I thought that at least the second one shall not be put! So for this you get my respect!
        But I still don’t get the point that someone can look at some of these gruesome scènes and not immediately act in saving each individual animal’s life! Surely these rascals are trying everything to make their dirty money! China lost it’s face in many points – human rights, Tibet occupation, complete plundering of the African Continent and unbearable animal cruelty! I’m deeply shocked and traumatized about this and hence I feel to boost you by critics rather than compliments! What can I do, what can we do to stop this awful crime for which exists neither words nor a language! I know that there are also good people in China who are helping animals wherever they can and it is very hard here not to fall into racist thinking, because China is going toooooo far here, it is just too much for remaining nice!
        So I urge, I beg you, nicely, or sad or angry, please, please, please: in the name of the Allmighty God – make everything to stop this MEGA CRIME!!!!!!
        And I’m sorry when I was too harsh, but times are bitter….

    • carrena says:

      Unfortunately just about everything we own, wear etc is made in China. They would stop buying our products too so no country would or could cripple their own country financially. Shame them. Asians can’t stand that.

    • Robin says:

      How can you say that? You DO realize that the people who go into these situations are in jeopardy of losing their own lives? Why 30? Out of the thousands, 30? I’m sure they did the best they could, regarding saving lives. If not for them reporting this abomination, the world would not know what is happening. I’m certain that the memories of those they couldn’t help will continue to haunt them: the sights, smells, sounds. If you really think you would be effective, then travel to China and liberate these animals. I’m sure you will find it’s not as easy as you say.

  6. Louise A. Chinian says:

    STOP STOP STOP STOP STOP the atrocity!
    Karma will get them all!! Sooner or later they will pay for their
    evil doings!!!

  7. Jo Ardell says:

    It is imperative, that the skinning alive of Dogs, Cats, and
    Any Animal, be stopped, and the beating and boiling alive
    of Dogs, Cats, and Any Animal, be stopped. It Must be a
    top priority, of world leaders, to End, this Torture. No Animal, should have to endure such suffering! Those who have great wealth, could do much, to help these Animals.
    I am greatly sickened, and deeply saddened, that such cruelty is inflicted, upon Innocent, helpless, defenseless, Animals. I have No respect, for the Monsters, who perpetrate, such Atrocities against Animals, or for those who allow it to continue. It must
    End.

  8. Janice Smith says:

    This is outrageous and has to stop ! How human beings can inflict this sort of pain on another creature with a beating heart I will never know! I feel their pain and I cry for everyone of them. They cannot defend themselves. Someone needs to stand up for them.Help stop this now….and help the lady who single handedly feeds and looks after hundreds of dogs in a compound…she even sold her home to care for them and protect them against this cruelty!

  9. Caroline Hope says:

    I for one admire your bravery. To see such abhorrant sites of torture and despair is just unimaginable. I have already started my own personal crusade. I will no longer buy any imports from china,, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, continue lobbying the embassys around the world and support any other petitions. If everyone does their bit and voices their opinions maybe China, South Korea, Vietnam etc., will follow in the footsteps of countries like Thailand and outlaw eating Dog meat!
    Hopefully one day these sick minorities will have no place in our world! We live in hope!

  10. Annoula Wylderich says:

    My heart hurts for those innocent, helpless victims; and I can’t help but think of the irony, when we consider that we also torture and brutally slaughter cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, etc.right here on our own soil because they are destined for our plates. The only difference is that it’s institutionalized cruelty. Yet, they feel no less pain and terror than those defenseless dogs and cats overseas. I hope that more people will make the connection, and I especially hope to see the Yulin Festival brought to an end. Thanks for all you’re doing, HSUS and HSI.

    • Genevieve O'Gorman says:

      I think you are right. As an American, we have to be aware that we ourselves slaughter 10 billion out of 40 billion chickens murdered worldwide annually who are raised in their own excrement for 5 weeks before brutal murder. These birds have no legal protection and are treated in the same manner that these poor dogs and cats are treated. We must fix the wrongs in our own country before blaming China. Becoming completely vegetarian is the only way to end the murder of animals for their flesh.

      • Robin says:

        I struggle with the issue of eating meat. I am a caregiver for a colony of feral cats and active in animal rescue. Cats MUST eat meat. Taurine is found ONLY in meat. Without it they suffer nerve damage and blindness, eventually die. In order for cats to live, they must have meat, which means something else dies. I don’t expect you to have a solution. Cats MUST have a meat based diet or die. Dogs can live on a carefully planned meatless diet. Cats can’t. I wish NO animals had to die so others can live. Physiology makes that impossible, at least for cats, from domestic to the big wild cats.

  11. Monika Bunting says:

    Thank you for raising awareness. I am so so so sickened by this horrible event! I wish I could do more. Bless you for all you are doing. We must stop this!

  12. Vicki McNamee says:

    This just sickens and angers me to my core! They are the sickest, cruelest race on the planet!! They enjoy the pain/suffering of these poor companions animals! They are rabid, subhumans! No petitions are ever going to stop this, they have been doing it for too long!

  13. Judy says:

    behoves me to even THINK how the Chinese can rationalize anything so barbaric!!! I would HALT everything regarding their future in any way if I could!!!

  14. Stan G. says:

    US citizens MUST speak up about Yulin Dog killing festival, they should send
    letters by the thousands to the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C.
    stating we will boycott any and all products from China.They will get
    the message when we hurt them financially! If they don’t respect the life
    of a helpless animal then they don’t deserve our respect either.

  15. Sharon says:

    This has to stop. It’s so cruel, savage and heartless. These dear, sweet animals have been pets and have bonds to one another like most humans don’t have with other humans. This tortures me knowing that it going on, and I pray every night that God will put a stop to it. I worry about our world & what is becoming of people, animals and our entire earth. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE I BEG OF YOU TO STOP THIS WHATEVER IT TAKES. WE NEED TO RESPECT THE CREATURES THAT GOD HAS MADE TO SHARE OUR LIVES AND OUR HEARTS. THIS IS INSANE. WHY DO HUMANS ACT THIS WAY? THESE DEAR SWEET COMPANIONS DON’T DESERVE THIS.

  16. David Bernazani says:

    I read the other day that the local Yulin government denied that the festival still existed. Thank you for proving otherwise, and showing the world what kind of cowardly and despicable evil is going on in Yulin. Instead of attracting tourists, they’re attracting worldwide condemnation.

  17. Phyllis Davgin says:

    It has to be horrific to witness this in person and be an animal lover. I can’t even bear looking at the pictures. It breaks my heart and makes me sick! These volunteers are saints! I thought that this practice had ended when I read the Times Article about Jinhua and then saw the 2011 date and dug deeper to see that it is still happening in Yulin. Why wouldn’t it stop altogether if public opinion was able to accomplish it before. It has to stop! Thank you all for what you do for animals. I post these articles to Facebook but sadly people cannot bear to look at them. I can only hope that they show their outrage by signing petitions and that it gets heard.

  18. Tyler Reid says:

    Only the most disgusting people could support this.

  19. maria says:

    Criminals.

  20. maria says:

    I cry out to the Chiness Authority In Yulin to stop that abuse and Criminals act in the name of God.

  21. Natascha Wille says:

    Thank you for this extremely well-written account, which is not without giving some hope. I feel physically exhausted signing petitions for weeks, following updates from several organizations on my news feed for days, re-posting and writing comments, donating, as well dealing with the emotional trauma. We had a candle light vigil with our cats for three nights at home in British Columbia, Canada. Thank you for all HSUS and HSI do.

  22. Margaret McKinnon says:

    I can’t bear to look at the images of these poor animals and don’t even want to imagine their pain! I’m sick to my stomach and can’t get my head around the level of sadistic cruelty that’s going on here! I’m saddened by the Chinese authorities that they allow such appalling cruelty to go on under the guise of tradition! Calling it a festival!!

  23. Dominick Mezzapesa says:

    #Yulin #yulin2016 Visit our new website http://www.yulin2016.com

    Read our story on: The Myth &, More Importantly the Truth about Yulin & China’s Dog Eating History.
    http://www.yulin2016.com/the-myth-and-more-importantly-the-truth-about-yulin-and-chinas-dog-eating-history.html

  24. Cheryl Weingartner says:

    This has to stop! Wrong!!! In so many way! STOP STOP STOP THE FESTIVAL….

  25. Sibel Hodge says:

    People are rightly angry and upset about what is happening in China with the Yulin dog eating festival but this is not just a problem happening in China. Millions of dogs and cats die horrendous, excruciating deaths in China and other countries to feed their people, but there’s actually no difference between Yulin and our meat industry but that barely registers public concern.

    The only difference between eating dogs in the east and cows, chickens, pigs, etc, in the west is cultural perception of what is OK to eat and kill and wear. So if Yulin has outraged you, then you should really be outraged about what is happening to all these animals. It’s all barbaric cruelty. A dog is a cow is a pig is a boy. They’re all sentient. They all feel pain and fear. Otherwise the outrage is hypocrisy/speciesism/and selective denial.

    Farm animals also suffer the same torture prior to their death, put into boiling tanks, beaten. They are crammed into cages where they can’t even turn around and into transporters where they get horrific injuries, some frozen to death being moved in the freezing cold weather with no protection from the elements, some over heat and die as no sources of water are available. They are boiled alive, have their beaks/testicles cut off/dehorned with no anesthetic, kept permanently impregnated, routinely have their throats cut and left to bleed out/skinned and dismembered while they are still alive. They are gassed/electrocuted/stunned incorrectly. Baby chicks are ground up alive. Animals live covered in filth, with injuries, have fur/feathers pulled out while still alive (there is a lot of video footage around to support all of this). Does this sound as horrific as Yulin?

  26. susan russell says:

    We must stop this horror now.if an animal hurts a person it is destroyed why cant the same fate happen to these so called humans

  27. TORRES says:

    I don’t see a problem just with dogs. I see a problem with all people eating cows pigs and chickens, and protesting about eating dogs. I feel people have lost the connection with animals. If it comes in a can or a clean package, it’s ok to eat? Because you were not there to make a connection between that meat you just bought and the face the animal had before slaughter, it’s ok. But you add nasty pictures of dogs and everyone protests about the eating of dog meat. If you are a vegetarian, I got know beef with you, it’s the ones that complain, don’t really do anything, and still go eat meat that concerns me. Are you really complaining because you are really against it or is because it’s not pretty and it’s not part of the natural plan you were taught at school?

  28. Myers says:

    Did I miss the news blast about this Yulin Dog Meat festival?? I first read about it on Yahoo.com (an article about Ricky Gervais trying to stop this – I could not believe what I was reading). But this is the only place I read about it and I searched the story on this website. Why wasn’t it BLASTED on ALL the news shows? Why did the Human Society not blast this story (I get emails when HS needs funding but not a single one about this). Maybe if the world knew about it, we could have done something to stop it! The world needs to know about these atrocities. Any people who can do this to a living creature (whether from China or any other country, even our own U.S.) should be shown to the world and made ashamed of. Any food manufacturer that is shown to treat animals inhumanely should be publicized and boycotted. HS you NEED to make the world know about this. No living creature whether dog, cat, pig, cow, even snakes (and I hate snakes but would never want to see one tortured in any way) should be treated in this savage way. This has destroyed me – from the time I wake up, till I go to bed, I think of this. At first I could not talk about it but realized this is a mistake – we MUST talk about this to everyone. I have cried and cried (how can I be happy knowing this happens) and now wonder how can a God let this happen. The tears stop when I think that now that these poor animals are dead, they are no longer suffering through their horrific lives. I pray that these people who can inflict so much pain (and then sleep at night) one day will feel great pain in hell (the sooner the better).

  29. Barbara Peterlin says:

    Yulin dog and cat meat festival makes me very very very angry!!!!! The Yulin festival makes me sick!!! Poor dogs and cats are very innocent because they would not know before they would die or be killed for meat!!! When I am angry, I see the horrible pictures and cry all the times. It is very terrible in Asia!!!!!!!

  30. maria lammes says:

    They can’t defend themselves. Who will do something to stop this from happening again? How can you eat the family pet!? It’s like extended family to American’s. Dog is man’s companion, his protector, his guardian who watches over him. Please STOP now China.

  31. Tanya says:

    Why don’t us normal strong us citizens all get together and take a plane out there to save these beautiful animals?!? Karma on those disgusting horrible scum bag human beings!!

  32. Kevin "Sexy Wood" Hanes says:

    Hmm, one website says 1995. You said 2000 something. Also in your article you state 130 million dogs of which only 27 million are pets. Sounds like a feral problem. Not a consuming problem. Just because we Americans and other “holier than thou” countries keep dogs and cats as pets, does not mean others do as well. We eat beef, what country sees the cow as a sacred animal? They are not getting there panties in a tussle over my eating of a steak or hamburger. Frankly if they did, I would not care. I guess what I’m trying to say is, why do any of you care?
    How come you still wipe your butt with paper when forest are being wiped away for what? So you can have a fancy table? Hell even cheap Chinese plywood is used for everything from cheap Walmart and ikea furniture to high end built in cabinets.

    • Sue Bard says:

      Because they believe the more you torture an animal the better the meat. They beat them boil them alive, burn them alive and skin them alive. And I don’t wear underwear so my panties aren’t in a wad.

    • Sue Bard says:

      Oh yeah, and a lot of the dogs and cats slaughtered are stolen pets. That dog in the picture is wearing a collar.

  33. Cameron Brown says:

    Dang it, China! you are one of the most advanced countries on the planet, yet you still slaughter countless dogs and cats like barbarians! Why the heck is there even a dog meat trade in the first place?!?!? It’s bad enough that the animals are beloved pets taken off the streets, and the you get to the part where they’re crammed into a stinky, rusted metal cage, driven across China for 4 to 5 days with out food or water, and killed inhumanely in front of the eyes of a hundred other animals as they cower in fear. I believe I speak for all of us when I say: STOP THE DOG AND CAT MEAT FESTIVAL!

  34. Sue Bard says:

    Did you notice that dog is wearing a collar?

  35. Dina Wilson says:

    I know that May 15, 2016 is the Global Stop Yulin march in cities with a Chinese embassy. Do you know anything about this or if there is one planned in Houston? If so, how does one find who to contact about it for information? If not, how would someone even begin to organize such a thing? I believe there would be a large turnout for this if it was done here.

  36. Brian named for Brian Boru says:

    Seeing the pictures and reading about the treatment of these dogs makes me want to, at least, hurt those inflicting such pain and fear upon the dogs. To think that when I was in Korea in 1978 for 9 months (much younger and more carefree), I almost was taken to a restaurant that “served” dog meat. I can remember how to say both “dog meat” and the name of the type of restaurant that serves this horrible product. I remember that the eating of dogs was regarded with disdain by my brother and his family and was, if I remember correctly, usually associated with rural, unsophisticated people. No matter, it is a thoroughly detestable, barbaric practice which cries out for the Korean (and in the Yulin case) Chinese authorities and humane organizations on the ground there to ban it ASAP. There is no place for such a cruel and unnecessary thing to exist. Korea and China can, and must, do away with it.

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