The Lychee, or Yulin, Dog Meat Festival is an annual event where every year about 10,000-15,000 cats and dogs are tortured and slaughtered in the name of profit in China.
Some might argue culture and health benefits are the reason behind the event, but further investigations prove otherwise.
While the culture of eating dog meat goes back more than 400 years, the festival is still relatively new. Starting in the late 1990’s, the event is held on June 21 and generally ends June 30. It is thought that roughly 85,000 animals have been slaughtered during the festival’s existence. Many of these animals were burned alive, or had their fur removed while alive, and worse.
In 2014, China received so much bad press about the event, that the government went so far as to deny it’s existence. While some locals still claim that the animals are killed humanly and that eating dog is no different than eating cow or chickens, over the years, hundreds of photos and videos taken at the event have proven that this is not the case.
Recently, the most recent festival has raised so much attention on social media that several celebrities and activists around the world are speaking out, using the hashtag #StopYulinForever or #StopYulin2019. Because of this and the hard work of many local groups, such as the Humane Society International and Embed Feed, the number of dogs tortured and consumed at the festival has progressively declined.
With the Lychee Festival still continuing in 2019, thousands of protestors gathered in Guangdong, Heilongjiang and thirteen other cities. Bringing their pets and photos of animals, they protested the theft of thousands of animals annually, known to be sold off for profit at the festival. The Humane Society International has worked on the ground in China for years, intercepting trucks filled with over stuffed cages that were headed to market. Many of those animals still had their tags and microchips, proving that they had been stolen or lost.
Torturing Dogs “To Make The Meat Tastier”
Comedian Ricky Gervais is one of the most vocal figures and has often voiced his outrage on the event.
He previously said: “Please help stop the #YulinDogMeatFestival.
“They believe torturing the dog makes the meat tastier. They beat them, burn them, skin and boil them alive!
“They steal people’s pets to torture and eat. What would you do to someone who you caught torturing your dog?
“I hope you’d stop them somehow.”
Activists point out that the dog meat trade is inhumane and unhygienic, pointing to videos of dogs caught with wire lassos, transported in tiny cages and slaughtered with metal rods. Dog meat is a traditional food in some areas of southern China, where it is believed to be good for the body in warm weather.
Yulin resident Wang Yue told Reuters: “Yulin’s so-called lychee and dog meat festival is just a popular custom of ours. Popular customs themselves cannot be right or wrong.
“Those scenes of bloody dog slaughter that you see online, I want to say that the killing of any animal will be bloody. I hope people can look at this objectively.”
People in the southern city of China defend eating the meat as it is a way to celebrate the summer solstice.
Calls from animal lovers to boycott or cancel the festival provoked a defence of local tradition and accusations that activists were disturbing public order.
A PETA spokeswoman said: “The Yulin dog-meat festival is condemned internationally and by many people in China itself these days because, for most of us, the idea of killing, cooking and eating dogs – animals we know and love – is revolting.”