Yulin festival: The time when the wagging tails stop wagging

Since 2009, China celebrates a festival named Yulin. Yulin is a ten-day festival which is celebrated by consuming dogs and lychees, where About 10,000 to 15,000 dogs are consumed. Yulin festival started from June 21. This number is, however, decreasing since 2015. This practice started with the motive of boosting the local economy. However, Yulin dog eating festival is just the tip of the iceberg, with the number of dogs slaughtered at the festival representing less than 0.01% of the Chinese dog meat trade as a whole.

There are over 100 slaughterhouses in Yulin in which as many as 2,000 dogs have been killed each day during the festival. It’s estimated that in China, 10 million dogs and 4 million cats, are slaughtered for the dog meat trade each year. All kinds of dogs are snatched from the streets and forced into tiny cages. Many suffer from broken limbs as they are transported to places far away, without food or water, which ends up leaving them injured and dehydrated.

When they finally arrive at the dog meat markets, they witness how dogs are forced to death, they are killed in horrific ways – among them are being beaten with clubs, skinned or boiled alive – all because adrenaline is believed to make the meat taste better. There are people who believe that dog meat eating is a result of poverty, which is incorrect since the meat is not cheap. It is eaten for reasons of superstition or tradition. If it was ever made illegal, nobody would starve.

Apart from that, eating dog meat makes you unhealthy, weak and can actually kill you. The government of Yulin removed the event’s official backing in 2014. Since then, there has not been an official dog meat eating festival in Yulin, but local people do still gather and carry this forward in an unofficial capacity. Global and local animal groups including HSI, Animals Asia, Animal Hope and Wellness and Direct Action Everywhere are working tirelessly to rescue dogs destined for Yulin or China’s meat trade.

Ending Yulin won’t end dog meat eating, but ending dog meat eating will end Yulin. For this to happen, we, as individuals can donate, fundraise, raise awareness, volunteer, join a support group, sign petitions –because it all makes a difference.

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