Lychee and Dog Meat Festival
The Lychee and Dog Meat Festival, commonly referred to as Yulin Dog Meat Festival, is an annual celebration held in Yulin, Guangxi, China, during the summer solstice in which festival goers eat dog meat and lychees. The festival began in 2009 and spans about ten days during which it is estimated that 10,000–15,000 dogs are consumed. The festival has been criticised by animal welfare and animal rights supporters.
|Lychee and Dog Meat Festival
|Inaugurated||21 June 2009|
|Most recent||21 June 2017|
The tradition of dog meat consumption began over 400 years ago in China. Although there is no medical or physiological evidence to support it, many Chinese practitioners of folk medicine believe that dog meat would help ward off the heat felt through the summer months. It wasn't until recent years that the festival in Yulin began.
The festival is celebrated annually in Yulin, Guangxi, China, during the summer solstice in June, by eating dog meat and lychees. About 10,000 to 15,000 dogs are consumed during the 10 days of the festival. This number has decreased to 1,000 in 2015. Throughout the 10 days of festivities, dogs are paraded in wooden crates and metal cages and are taken to be skinned and cooked for consumption by festival visitors and local residents.
Animal welfare concernsEdit
The local residents and festival organizers claim that the dogs are killed humanely and that "eating dog is no different from eating pork or beef". Animal rights activists and campaigners, however, claim that the animals are "treated abominably", based on photographs of the event. A witness claimed that some of the dogs eaten appeared to be stolen household pets, judging by their collars.
A retired school teacher, Yang Xiaoyun, paid ¥150,000 to rescue 360 dogs and tens of cats from the festival in 2014, and ¥7,000 to rescue 100 dogs in 2015. She was later accused by animal welfare advocates of fraud and animal abuse. However it has been discovered that these rumours were started by a UK Charity to withhold the £100,000 plus they had collected in donations using her name http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/dog-charity-cash-mystery-animal-6941593
In 2016, 1,000 dogs were rescued from the festival; the previous week 34 animals (21 dogs, eight puppies, and five cats and kittens) were rescued from a slaughter facility in Yulin by Humane Society International.
In 2017, over 1,300 dogs were rescued by an organization called No Dog Left Behind. After a tip, a truck transporting the dogs was blocked. Police confirmed that the majority of the dogs were stolen and not allowed for consumption, allowing volunteers to rescue the dogs. 40% of dogs also carried infectious diseases.
Millions of Chinese voted in support of a legislative proposal by Zhen Xiaohe, a deputy to the National People’s Congress of China, to ban the dog meat trade. Chinese celebrities such as Fan Bingbing, Chen Kun, Sun Li and Yang Mi have publicly expressed a distaste for the festival.
In a 2014 statement released to Xinhua, Yulin's local government denies any official involvement or endorsement of the festival itself, and describes the event as a local custom observed by "a small percentage" of Yulin's residents. They attribute the branding of the event to local businesses and residents.
An editorial published by the People's Daily expressed the view that while activists understand dogs as "companion animals", neither the Chinese legal system nor the current Chinese public moral standards recognize them with this special status. While noting the "duality" of dogs as both companions and food items, the editorial urges restraint in handling the issue and calls mutual understanding from both organizers and activists in reaching a respectful compromise.
An editorial published by Global Times strongly criticized what the writer believed to be the Western obsession over the treatment of dogs, and cited bullfighting as an example of animal cruelty to which the West has turned a blind eye. He further categorised the controversy as a part of a Western campaign against China, and dismissed criticism and protests as "non-noteworthy".
Social media platforms, such as Instagram, have helped raise awareness about the dog meat trade going on in Yulin. Pages such as @Unitedagainstdogandcatmeat and @Helpbanyulin have been primary advocates for fighting against the controversial meat trade as well as making others aware of the conditions.
Campaigns have had a significant impact on spreading awareness of the festival around the globe. Many activist and public figures take to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and have created hashtags such as "#stopyulinforever", "#stopyulin2015", and "#stopyulin2016" to spread the word. Because of the social media campaigns the number of dogs slaughtered have steadily decreased since 2013 from over 10,000 to 1,000.
In an interview with The New York Times, professor Peter J. Li of the University of Houston–Downtown said in response to the claim that dog meat promoters accused Chinese activists of introducing a harmful Western ideology into China that opposition to eating dog meat at the festival began with the Chinese themselves, as "the bond between companion animals and humans is not Western. It's a transcultural phenomenon".
The director of Animal Protection and Crisis Response for Humane Society International explained in an article on CNN the reasons for his opposition to the festival and called on the Yulin government to cancel the festival.
An article in 2016 that was written by the BBC noted that the dog meat festival began in China amid widespread criticism, saying, "Activists say the event is cruel, and this year a petition calling for it to be banned collected 11 million signatures."
An article in The Guardian by Jill Robinson said that the dog meat trade is "steeped in illegality" and the reason why dogs are special and deserve kind treatment is because "they are friends and helpers of humankind." Another article by Julian Baggini that was published in the same news outlet said that what should be most appalling about the festival "is not which particular animal is being killed, but that too many animals in the West are treated nearly or just as cruelly" and that "vegans are the only group who can oppose the festival without any fear of hypocrisy".
An article in The Independent encouraged protests against the festival but also compared the festival with the 1.9 million animals "brutally slaughtered" in the UK every month and noted that "the western distinction between dogs and farm animals is completely arbitrary".
In June 2015, an online petition against the festival was started in the United Kingdom, gathering over 4 million signatures. It was reported in 2016 that Humane Society International organised a petition in opposition to the dog eating festival which was signed by 11 million people worldwide.
U.S. Representative Alcee Hastings introduced, alongside 27 original cosponsors, a bipartisan resolution (House Resolution 752) in 2016 which condemned the annual festival in Yulin and called on the Chinese government to prohibit the dog meat trade outright. The resolution was supported the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society Legislative Fund, and Humane Society International. In 2017, Hastings reintroduced, alongside 49 original co-sponsors, his 2016 bipartisan resolution through House Resolution 30.
Celebrities including Ken Todd, Lisa Vanderpump, Ricky Gervais, George Lopez, Ian Somerhalder, Leona Lewis, Lori Alan, Tom Kenny, and Rob Zombie have publicly expressed a distaste for the festival.
- "Friend or food? Dog meat trade divides China". CNN. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
- "Yulin Dog Meat Festival". RSPCA. Retrieved February 14, 2017.
- "China Yulin dog meat festival under way despite outrage - BBC News". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
- "Dog meat eating: Check your own cultural bias before protesting too much - HKFP". Hong Kong Free Press. Retrieved 2016-06-27.
- "China Yulin dog meat festival under way despite outrage". BBC News. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
- "Tasteless? Food festival in Yulin, China celebrates canine culinary culture – with 15,000 dogs on the menu". Daily Mail. London. 28 June 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
- "This Chinese dog-eating festival's days are numbered thanks to a massive social media campaign". Business Insider. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
- "Dog Meat Festival Faces Social Media Backlash". Sky News. 22 June 2015. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
- O'Neil, Lauren (22 June 2015). "Dog meat festival in China takes place despite massive online protest". CBC News. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
- You, Tracy; Danby, Poppy (18 June 2015). "The heroic woman who is trying to save hundreds of dogs from the dinner plate at China's barbaric annual 'meat festival'". Daily Mail. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
- "Chinese woman pays to rescue 100 dogs from meat festival: report". The Straits Times. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
- Huang, Shaojie (22 September 2015). "Animal Rights Groups in China Accuse Yulin Dog Rescuer of Misleading Public". The New York Times.
- Boult, A; Connor, N. (June 22, 2016). "Activists rescue 1,000 dogs from controversial dog meat festival". The Telegraph. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
- Matthew Bossons (23 June 2017). "An Insider's Account on Activists' Yulin Dog Rescue".
- "US Congressional resolution asks China to end Dog meat festival". The Indian Express. PTI.
- Linshi, Jack (Jun 18, 2014). "6 Things You Need to Know About China's Dog-Eating Yulin Festival". TIME. TIME.
- "玉林市政府就网络上所谓"夏至荔枝狗肉节"作出回应". China Daily. 7 June 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
- "人民日报评"狗肉节之争"：从两件小事看玉林口水仗". People's Daily. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
- "单仁平：玉林狗肉节——中国平静时，西方来劲了". Global Times. 23 June 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
- Huang, Shaojie (18 June 2015). "Q. and A.: Peter J. Li on the Clash Over Eating Dogs in China". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
- Parascandola, Adam (June 19, 2016). "Friend, not food: Why China needs to stop dog meat festival". CNN.
- "Yulin dog meat festival begins in China amid widespread criticism". BBC. 21 June 2016.
- Robinson, Jill (20 February 2014). "Yes, cats and dogs are special – they deserve our protection in China". The Guardian. The Guardian.
- Baggini, Julian (22 June 2015). "Is it OK to eat dogs?". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
- Nagesh, Ashitha (22 June 2015). "Protest against the Yulin dog meat festival, but don't forget the 1.9m animals brutally slaughtered in the UK every month". The Independent. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
- Hastings and Vanderpump, Alcee L. and Lisa. "Congressman Alcee Hastings and Lisa Vanderpump Team Up to End the Cruel and Inhumane Yulin Dog Meat Festival". Huffington Post.
- Kretzer, Michelle (June 6, 2016). "U.S. Congress Aims to Shut Down China’s Dog-Meat Trade". PETA. PETA.
- Arce-Contreras, Raúl (May 25, 2016). "U.S. congressional resolution introduced condemning China’s Yulin Dog Meat Festival". HSI. HSI.
- L. Hastings, Alcee. "Hastings Reintroduces Legislation Condemning the Yulin Dog Meat Festival and Urging China to End the Dog Meat Trade".
- "Lawmakers target dog meat trade in the United States". THS. THS. March 7, 2017.
- de Cadenet, Julia (19 June 2015). "Yulin Dog Meat Torture Festival Will Go Ahead Despite Celebrity Pleas". The Huffington Post United Kingdom. AOL (UK) Limited. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
- "Celebrities join campaign to stop dog meat festival in China". AsiaOne. Singapore Press Holdings Ltd . Co. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
- Larkin, Mike (5 October 2015). "Real Housewives unleashed! Lisa Vanderpump and Kyle Richards lead way as ladies appear at Stop Yulin dog walk protest". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 10 October 2015.