After years of worldwide controversy and innumerable petitions, Chinese authorities are clamping down on the sale of canine meat
at the infamous Lychee and Dog Meat Festival.
Warning Readers may find some of the images below, which depict animal cruelty, distressing.
The event, established in the city of Yulin in 2010 as a means to promote the consumption of two prominent foodstuffs from the Guanxi region, has been largely condemned both as a cynical moneymaking exercise and as a gory celebration of animal cruelty, with dog lovers inside and outside of China upset by the number of animals killed and by the manner of their deaths. Reportedly, up to 15,000 dogs were sold and cooked in the best-attended years of the festival, with thousands of cats also meeting the same fate.
Participants in the 2015 Dog Meat Festival. Image: Flickr/Animals Asia.
According to reports
, this year authorities have placed a temporary ban on the slaughter and consumption on dogs in Yulin, with the regulations coming into play on June 15, a week before the start of the festival. Offenders will be punished with a fine of up to 100,000RMB and the possibility of arrest and further prosecution, although cats will be exempt from this protection.
While some argue the difference (or lack thereof) between eating dog meat and that of industrially farmed animals such as pigs and cows, campaigners have pointed out that the treatment of the animals at Yulin is barbaric to a level that is not seen in well-run abattoirs.
Dogs are reportedly kept in crowded cages and transported across significant distances before being bludgeoned to death or boiled alive on the street. Reports have also emerged of animals being skinned alive in front of their compatriots.
Opponents to the Yulin festival argue that dogs often obtained by thieves who steal companion animals from owners; as the tendency to keep pets rises in China, it is likely that the majority of the country – who already do not eat dog meat – will either continue or come to oppose the event. According to a 2016 Xinhua poll, 64 percent of Chinese people voted to put a permanent end to the dog meat festival.