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Yulin dog meat festival: China slaughters and eats thousands of dogs despite protests

By Jamie Fullerton

Published 23/06/2015

In this Sunday, June 21, 2015 photo, dogs in cages are sold by vendors at a market during a dog meat festival in Yulin in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Restaurateurs in a southern Chinese town are holding an annual dog meat festival despite international criticism. (Chinatopix via AP)
In this Sunday, June 21, 2015 photo, dogs in cages are sold by vendors at a market during a dog meat festival in Yulin in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Restaurateurs in a southern Chinese town are holding an annual dog meat festival despite international criticism. (Chinatopix via AP)
Cooked dogs are displayed at a vendor's stall in Yulin, in southern China's Guangxi province early on June 22, 2015. The city holds an annual festival devoted to the animal's meat on the summer solstice which has provoked an increasing backlash from animal protection activists. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELEJOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images
In this Sunday, June 21, 2015 photo, people stand near dogs in cages for sale at a market during a dog meat festival in Yulin in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Restaurateurs in a southern Chinese town are holding an annual dog meat festival despite international criticism. (Chinatopix via AP)
Animal-loving Yang Xiaoyun goes around buying some 100 dogs at a market in Yulin, in southern China's Guangxi province. Yang has paid more than $1,000 USD to prevent around 100 canines from being eaten ahead of a dog meat festival which has provoked outrage worldwide. AFP PHOTOSTR/AFP/Getty Images
In this Sunday, June 21, 2015 photo, a man roasts dogs at a restaurant in Yulin in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Restaurateurs in a southern Chinese town are holding an annual dog meat festival despite international criticism. (Chinatopix via AP)
Animal right activists scuffle with unidentified people as they protest against a dog meat festival, in front on the government building in Yulin, in southern China's Guangxi province on June 22, 2015. The city holds an annual festival devoted to the animal's meat on the summer solstice which has provoked an increasing backlash from animal protection activists. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELEJOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images
Animal loving activists use a dog carrying a basket with a message in Chinese "Child for sale" along a street in Yulin, in southern China's Guangxi province to protest the annual dog meat festival on June 21, 2015. The city holds an annual festival devoted to the animal's meat on the summer solstice which has provoked an increasing backlash from animal protection activists. AFP PHOTOSTR/AFP/Getty Images
A dog looks out from its cage at a stall as it is displayed by a vendor as he waits for customers during a dog meat festival at a market in Yulin, in southern China's Guangin Yulin, in southern China's Guangxi province on June 22, 2015. The city holds an annual festival devoted to the animal's meat on the summer solstice which has provoked an increasing backlash from animal protection activists. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELEJOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images
Cooked dogs are displayed at a vendor's stall in Yulin, in southern China's Guangxi province early on June 22, 2015. The city holds an annual festival devoted to the animal's meat on the summer solstice which has provoked an increasing backlash from animal protection activists. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELEJOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images
Vendors wait for customers to buy dogs in cages at a market in Yulin, in southern China's Guangxi province on June 21, 2015. The city holds an annual festival devoted to the animal's meat on the summer solstice which has provoked an increasing backlash from animal protection activists. AFP PHOTOSTR/AFP/Getty Images

Thousands of dogs have been slaughtered and eaten at a “dog meat festival” in the city of Yulin, China over the past two days, with restaurants reporting brisk business as queues formed outside them.

Protesters at the annual event, which residents in the southern city say is a tradition to mark summer solstice, have bought hundreds to save them. But they have failed to prevent the killing of up to 10,000 dogs for the pot.

Yesterday morning a small group of protesters clashed with around 20 men outside the headquarters of Yulin’s local government after they held up signs that read “Crack down on illegal dog meat trade” and “Punish illegal dog transport”. Their placards were swiftly torn down.

One protester, who only gave his surname, Hao, said: “We held banners and they put us under close watch. I’ve been talking to locals from all walks of life here, from dog-meat vendors to scholars. The normal locals don’t know about the cruelty involved in the process of slaughtering.”

Adam Parascandola, director of animal cruelty issues at US activist group The Humane Society, said he had been struck by “the huge variety of breeds” of live dogs, delivered on the backs of scooters and trucks, on sale at a market. “I saw a Dalmatian and a chow and many dogs wearing collars that indicated they were stolen pets,” he said.

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An activist from animal rights group Guangdong Best Volunteering Centre, who posts online under the name Shan Dai, said: “We went to a dog meat market on Saturday where vendors waved machetes and security people followed us, saying they were ‘bodyguards’. Some volunteers have been attacked.”

Selling dog meat for consumption is legal in China, but protesters have accused vendors of flouting hygiene regulations and stealing pets for slaughter. The local Yulin government distances itself from the event, and tighter regulations about killing dogs in public have led to slaughterhouses being relocated to inconspicuous locations.

“I went to one of these slaughterhouses and saw more than 100 dogs in a pen, stacked two or three dogs deep,” Mr Parascandola said. “A man went in and started clubbing them. The dogs were screaming.” He added that activists were harassed. “On Sunday we gave dog food and water to a shelter,” he said. “They called us later to say that a group of men had just threatened to take the dogs, then took all the food.”

Many bought dogs to save them from slaughter, housing them in makeshift shelters. One woman, Yang Xiaoyun, paid 7,000 yuan (£1,130), to save 100 dogs in Yulin on Saturday. She was seeking new homes for them in Tianjin – more than 1,200 miles away.

British comedian Ricky Gervais and Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen have joined in a social media campaign calling for an end to the festival, as have some Chinese celebrities. Shareeza Bhola, communications manager for Change.org, said that more than three million people had signed petitions against it. Campaigns on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, have also been prominent.

Source: Independent

Independent News Service

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