Animal rights activists are seeking to shut down an annual dog meat festival in southern China blamed for blackening the country’s international reputation as well as fueling cruelty to canines and unhygienic food handling practices.
Activists from a coalition of groups said they will continue to press for the festival to be banned as well as legislation outlawing the slaughtering of dogs and cats and the consumption of their meat.
While an estimated 10m-20m dogs are killed for their meat each year in China, the June 20 event in the city of Yulin has come to symbolise the cruelty and lack of hygiene associated with the largely unregulated industry.
Yu Hongmei, director of the VShine Animal Protection Association, said China needs to follow the example of the vast majority of developed nations that have banned eating dog and cat.
“China needs to progress with the times,” said Mr Yu.
“Preventing cruelty to animals is the sign of a mature, civilised society.”
Restaurant owners say eating dog meat is traditional during the summer, while opponents say the festival, which began in 2010, has no cultural value and was merely invented to drum up business.
Since 2014, the local government has sought to disassociate itself from the event, forbidding its employees from attending and limiting its size by shutting down some dog markets and slaughter houses.
As many as 10,000 dogs, many of them stolen pets, are killed for the festival deep inside the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
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