Humane Society International and Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project (DDAWP) have learned from sources that the Yulin government is set to ban restaurants, street vendors, and market traders from selling dog meat at its summer festival. This is one of the most symbolically significant animal cruelty festivals in the world, and the southwestern Chinese town has become synonymous with animal suffering for its barbaric butchering of dogs and cats for human consumption.
The government order to local dog meat traders announcing this change comes just weeks before the annual summer festival, where traders deliver frightened and dehydrated dogs by the thousands for local butchers to kill and dismember. Yulin’s dog meat festival was an eating extravaganza that you don’t want to take your kid to see, and that has earned the community condemnation in China and around the world. It was promoted by local dog meat traders as a “local tradition” when, in fact, it was only created less than a decade ago as a way to promote dog meat consumption in China.
The ban seems to have been initiated by Mr. Mo Gong Ming, Yulin’s new party secretary, and it is set to come into force a week prior to the start of the festival. Typically, the mass dog slaughter for the festival begins on June 21, the summer solstice. Authorities are reportedly determined to enforce the ban and violators can face fines of up to 100,000 yuan, or even incarceration.
Last year, HSI, DDAWP, RaiseUrPaw, Care2, and Avaaz delivered a petition with 11 million signatures to the Yulin government in Beijing. U.S. Representative Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., has written multiple times to Chinese authorities, authored a resolution condemning the Yulin dog meat festival, and has introduced a bill on the dog and cat meat trade.
While we recognize that this announcement is temporary, it is nonetheless an extraordinarily hopeful sign that Yulin will one day soon consign dog eating to the history books. HSI would like to urge the Yulin authorities to take additional steps: make this ban permanent; announce publicly that all inbound dog trucks would face a penalty if dogs and cats are shipped into the city illegally; enforce the country’s food safety laws strictly so that poisonous dog meat will not harm consumers; and build a government facility to accommodate dogs and cats confiscated from illegal shipping operations. In China, dogs butchered for the trade are stolen from their owners or gathered off the streets.
Earlier this year, China shut down dozens of ivory-carving shops as the first major wave of action to end the trade in ivory. The government is also urging citizens to dramatically reduce all meat consumption, mainly as a resource protection effort, given that producing animals for human consumption requires such an enormous use of resources, whether it is grains, top soil, or water.
This campaign, waged by HSI, DDAWP, and other groups, has also had an enormous infusion of energy from in-country animal welfare campaigners. There is a robust and growing animal protection movement in China, and these campaigners have blocked trucks coming into Yulin stuffed with dogs in cages, and they have found a variety of ways to show their disfavor with the cruel killing of dogs. We hope that this announcement is soon confirmed, providing enormous encouragement to these advocates. May their ranks continue to swell in the most populous nation in the world.