As Yulin dog meat festival starts, poll shows overwhelming Chinese opposition to dog-meat-eating spectacle

By on June 20, 2016 with 36 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

With a gruesome dog-killing spectacle about to play out in Yulin, China, in just hours, a new poll of Chinese citizens shows no appetite for the spectacle or the idea of dog eating at all. That poll, commissioned by Humane Society International and the group Avaaz, found that as many as 64 percent of people in the world’s biggest nation agree that the Yulin festival, designed as a blend of commerce and celebration, should end, and 62 percent think it damages China’s reputation. Nearly 52 percent want a complete ban to the dog meat trade, and nearly 70 percent have never eaten dog meat.

If they could see the festival up close, those numbers would swell, I’m sure. Thousands of dogs and cats will meet a terrifying end, by being bludgeoned and beaten to death, then skinned, all in front of other dogs and cats huddled together in cages, witnesses to the existential violence that awaits them, too.

The scene in Yulin today is heartbreaking, according to HSI team members on the ground in China, who are working round the clock to ensure that as many animals are saved as possible, even as they pressure authorities to shut down the festival. In the early hours of this morning, they helped rescue 20 more sick and injured dogs from a slaughterhouse on the outskirts of Yulin. The dogs were crammed into tiny cages and panting in the heat.

“One lone, mangy dog sat in a cage by himself, destined to be sold for a few dollars and then killed,’ said Adam Parascandola, director of animal protection and crisis response for HSI. “He gave a small tail wag when I spoke to him.”

Mercifully, our team and Chinese advocates rescued this dog and the others in that slaughterhouse.

The Yulin dog meat festival began only in 2010, and it’s not a traditional activity in this community. We have been engaging Chinese officials in discussions, rescuing dogs and cats from the live animal markets and from trucks headed to Yulin slaughterhouses, and we have focused the world’s attention on this cruel festival.

Amidst all of the despair and killing, there is reason for hope. Peter Li, HSI’s China specialist who has been to Yulin three times this year alone, says that the festival this year is more muted than it has been in previous years.

The atmosphere is tense, he said. The word “dog” has been painted out or covered with tape on several restaurants and slaughterhouses. Business at a popular animal market is slow. And although mopeds and market stalls piled high with brown, blowtorched bodies of dogs are still very much around, the scale of the festival, Peter reports, appears much smaller than it has in previous years.

A slaughterhouse that HSI exposed during an investigation a couple of months ago has closed its doors. “A Yulin official told us that, contrary to what has been reported in some media, dog meat sales have in fact been declining continuously,” Peter said.

Yulin authorities have set up road checkpoints to stop incoming dog and cat trucks, one of the key proposals for progress that HSI has lobbied for. Each dog and cat is required to have an individual health certificate under law, but most dogs and cats on the trucks are strays and pets with no such papers. However, many animals have already been brought into Yulin, and we are asking Yulin authorities to shut down the dog and cat slaughterhouses so this festival comes to a full stop.

Meanwhile, the 20 rescued dogs have been transported to a shelter for veterinary treatment for eye infections, skin diseases, and lacerations. In time, they – like the 29 dogs and five cats HSI rescued last week – will be placed for adoption through local shelters and rescues we work with in China, and some may even be placed with emergency placement partners of HSI and The HSUS in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. All will go on to live long, happy lives in loving homes, far from the horrors of a slaughterhouse and the dog meat festival.

I’ll keep you updated as this drama plays out, and we’ll be sure to stay the course, no matter what happens to dogs today.

Help HSI end the dog meat trade »

Animal Rescue and Care, Companion Animals, Humane Society International

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  1. Hundreds of dogs saved from slaughter in China – A Humane Change | July 27, 2016
  1. Annoula Wylderich says:

    Thank you for this informative piece, Wayne. Many would be shocked to know that no breed is spared and even pregnant dogs are not afforded any special consideration. Thanks to Humane Society International’s animal rescue team, there is so much progress being made. However, we have to realize that even if government officials in Asian countries cooperate, the team’s work isn’t nearly done, as what remains of this horrific trade could go underground. It will take continued support to help flush out perpetrators, educate the public, and help those individuals currently engaged in this form of livelihood to transition to another form of income that doesn’t include cruelty. I’ve read of some farmers who have expressed the desire to abandon this abomination if they could get help in finding another way of life.

    • zorro says:

      Chinese eating dogs and cats is no more cruel than Western 2-footed swine gobbling up beef, chicken and other animals. The cruelty is the same but the taste may be different. That’s all. No need to make so much fuss about it.
      Chinese are not 40% obese as the US swine is, for over feeding on meat.

  2. Irene Metro says:

    One of the most disgusting things that I have ever heard of! Eating dogs and cats is not only in China, but it’s also in the Tahiti islands! My husband and I found that out while visiting Tahiti on our “dream tour”. I could not believe my ears, so I kept on asking questions from the native inhabitants from island to island.The people agreed, but only if they were opposed to it. At one point I wanted to feed a dog which looked so skinny I could count his ribs from far away. I asked in the restaurant/snack bar which was next to where the dog was if anyone was taking care of this dog, to which they replied that he was ok. When I asked for a hamburger, which is really weird for a vegan to do, the waitress said “no, no” I said that I would pay for it, then she made it for me. The trip from that point on was absolute spoiled for us!!! I wanted, and almost did stop the tour bus on one of the islands when I saw a van drop off a puppy in the middle of a busy corner, while the puppy was trying to get back to the van! Unbelievable. Let’s uncover all of these criminals!

  3. Barbara G. says:

    This is the same type of mindset that Japan seems to have when it comes to eating whale meat they have warehouses full of frozen whale meat because nobody eats it anymore. The younger generation does not eat the stuff at all but the government refuses to close it down completely they ignore the fact that they are breaking international law. I think the eating of dog meat is on its way out too.

  4. Deborah Higgins says:

    Hi Wayne,
    I’m happy that 20 dogs have been rescued. But Marc Ching is trying to shut down and rescue thousands. But he is a foundation of TWO and he needs help on the ground. What does he do with the thousands of dogs that he saves when the slaughterhouses are shut down? Can you or HSI get him the resources he needs to save THOUSANDS? He is shutting down 11 slaughterhouses (hopefully) this week. There is outrage over the torture, but who will help to get these dogs to a safe place?

  5. Greg Lynch says:

    Animal abusers need to receive what they give.

    • Laurie Schmidt says:

      I agree, Greg. I am a non-violent person, but when I read about these primitive, barbaric people I wish the tortures of the damned on them!

  6. Eileen says:

    Please save more than 29 dogs I will take one I have already rescued 3 sick dogs from pets stores but I’ll take one more . Please save more I’m sick can’t sleep I cry thinking of them being beaten at least buy the ones thst were pets they don’t understand this . Please help more go back

  7. Ann Savitt says:

    This horrible practice must be stopped at all cost. China needs to stop torturing and killing dogs, and cats.

    • ANGELA LANGAN says:

      I agree, there must be an all out war against this. As many animals are suffering, these dogs should be given preference because they must endure absolutley horrific deaths. I did not want to know what I learned, I veered away but in my soul I was sick I knew it was bad, this year I read and saw the videos. I saw dogs being boiled alive, skinned alive, then torched like a burger while alive. It made me want to end my life. I feel this is actually a crime against humanity. I will never view China the same. If I knew a program was dedicated to this and in place I would support it. This was not a sufficient amount, thousands of dogs are enduring this. They must laugh at us. This year citizens need to publish any company that is buying goods from Southern China and boycott their sales. This is the only way. They are laughing at us, and they smile while dissecting the animal. They do understand cash, they will sell the animals, but if we go over and buy them, tehy will be extorting and not learn the lesson. There must be an all out war now against this practice and I would hope the HS would be getting involved.

  8. Mike Dreyer says:

    I wish I could quit my job, and spend time in Yulin and organize an angry protest. And Get the citizens of China all on the same page. The pictures I have seen of protestors are weak, they need many more people and children protesting the animal cruelty of eating dog and cat meat. I would organize a round the clock protest until Cina pulls the plug on the practice. Show them that love is more important than cruelty. What are they thinking???
    Big appreciation to the people that can be there for the rest of us that cannot 🙂

    • ANGELA LANGAN says:

      Did you know that this event draws people from all over CHINA, yes tourist. Did you know that journalist and activist are threatened by police and fear for their lives? You would be in jail and detained. They are being very coy. We must organize boycotts. SIMPLE. We need to organize names of companies and start early like now, to stop 2017.

  9. Donna says:

    God bless these suffering animals. My heart breaks ever since I woke this morning imagining the cruelty they must be enduring. I learned about this just this year and find it unconscionable this event is allowed to continue. You have my commitment to help this cause and to spread awareness to others to fight to end this event forever.

  10. Russ Edkins says:

    Ive only just found out about this …and i struggled to keep from myself from crying… the evil of some people makes me despair… my mind cant cope with knowing the level of cruelty the human race is capable of !! I would truly like to murder the people responsible for torturing and killing any animal

  11. Etienne de Meyer says:

    Thanks for everybody who gave comment and sharing this cruelty. But it is not only China! Also Vietnam, South-Korea, and other countries in the region eat dogs and cats, and it might surprise that the German speaking population in Switzerland eat dogs in certain regions ( same in Austria ). A pity I cannot upload pictures here as I got them today from a friend while on vacation in Vietnam and when he saw all those dogs, he became sick and almost fainted.
    So also action should be taken in those countries. All those dog and bear farms in South-Korea??
    We have sad days to come, as nobody can save all those thousands of animals. I adopted myself 5 stray cats and they live like Royalty!!

    • Laurie Schmidt says:

      What’s wrong with these monsters? Are they worthy of inhabiting the earth?

    • ANGELA LANGAN says:

      It is the insane barbaric torture they deliberately put the animal through, they do it as long as possible thinking it makes the meat taste better. They boil them alive, it is not just the eating, it is the method of death.

      • Juce Peterson says:

        The crooked police there help these maniacs and are paid off. They must change their government and END ALL BARBARIC ACTS OF VIOLENCE. THEY HAVE NO ANIMAL PROTECT LAWS

      • Linda Neil says:

        I saw a picture of a dog getting tortured, I couldn’t get the image out of my mind, if I could I’d do the same back to them let see how they would like to be boiled alive

  12. charlene ellen says:

    It must stop it has too end all animal cruelty must end it has too its breaks my heart them poor animals keep on saving them but this barbaic evil thing has to stop

  13. Eileen says:

    I’m very sad I really hoped it would be stopped , but I will take a dog if you can get some to the Chicago area and I will help find foster and or permanant homes for as many as you can bring . I can not sit back another day without trying to do something . Please consider my request .

  14. Sue Bard says:

    what I wish I could hear is that at least some of the dogs were reunited with their owners. I know a lot of them have families grieving somewhere who probably know that they were stolen for dog meat. I know how I would feel.

  15. jaimi perry says:

    I have never seen anything so barbaric in my life. They should be put in prison

    • Iwona says:

      I have a splitting headache from looking at this horrible abuse. I am beginning to believe that ” eye for an eye” is an appropriate here.

  16. jonesschmit says:

    Hi very nice blog. Thank you for sharing it. Yes it is a crime to eat dog meat as they have also their own life and it is also against humanity. Recently one of my friends gave me information about The Vanderpump Dog Foundation, situated in California USA, which does work against this type of cruel act. The main aim of this is to stop tortures on dogs and give them a good world. I am really impressed by this organization and their work deserves a great salute.

  17. RENEE says:


  18. Iwona says:

    This poor excuses for human beings have to be stopped. Please write to Ambassador of the Republic of Korea
    Ann Ho-young
    24050 Massachusetts Ave NV
    Washington DC, 20008 to support our efforts in stopping those primitive maniacs

  19. Deanna Byars says:

    These people are sick and twisted. This needs to stop. I say do it to them . See how they like it. They are nothing but cowardshe and a waste of space. Just the thought that anyone would eat cat or dog meat is just disgusting. These people need to be put away.

  20. Sally says:

    Killing and beating innocent dogs to death-they are people with no heart or humanity and may they get back their cruelty. Poor dogs-I can not stop crying!!

  21. Ronda Meyers says:

    What can we do to help stop the 2017 Yulin event? I have signed the petition and donated money. I cannot get updates as to what is happening at I have tried to get updates with no luck.

    I want to help now, I want to help stop the June 2017 event. What else can I do? Thank you.

  22. Carol Henry says:

    Please can we get a commitment from people here in the US to adopt. If organizations such as the Humane Society and HSI know that there are homes here they can do more. We need to get a database together with promises to adopt. If everybody who can adopt, pledges money, we can surely get this done.

  23. Debra Moody says:

    I hear people worry about the dogs and i am worried about them as well. But this has me thinking about other animals, like cows,chickens, pigs,turkeys etc. What about them. We eat them everyday an nobody stops to think about these poor animals that are slaughtered. 6 billion of them slaughtered a year.

  24. Lisa says:


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