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Despite worldwide outcry and repeated efforts by animal activists to put an end to the Yulin Dog Eating Festival, a yearly tradition in Yulin, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region of China, the festival, deeply rooted in ancient Chinese tradition, will begin June 21, 2016.
Yulin residents cherish the annual summer solstice celebration, which involves the mass torture, slaughter, and consumption of about 10,000 dogs.
The Guardian, a UK-based news source said in an article,
Animal rights groups say 10,000 dogs are slaughtered during the festival each year, and that many are electrocuted, burned and skinned alive. Pictures posted online show flayed dogs, dogs hanging from meat hooks, and piles of dog corpses on the side of the road. In China dog meat is prized as a nutritious wintertime dish that doctors can prescribe to treat maladies such as impotence and poor circulation.
In addition to protests against the tradition of eating an animal that is cherished, even in China, as a family pet and companion, critics claim that the dogs are illegally obtained, usually stolen family pets or picked up as strays. And, because these dogs are not raised in farms and are questionably sourced, there are no quarantine systems in place to monitor the health of the animals, thereby raising additional concerns of safety to Yulin residents that partake in the festival.
Efforts by activists to put a stop to the festival, including writing letters to the Yulin government, recruiting celebrities to openly condemn the acts, and even petitioning the Obama Administration to step in, have upset the Yulin locals.
Still, dog lovers and activists continue fighting the horrific practice and thanks to those efforts, 200 dogs and cats were spared from slaughter when activists working as part of the Humane Society International’s (HSI) China Animal Protection Power team stopped a truck packed with more than 200 dogs and cats, many still wearing collars and identification tags, indicating they were stolen family pets, and negotiated the release of the animals on board.
Activists, in a standoff with the truck driver, prevented the truck from moving for three days. During that time, they offered food and water to the dogs trapped inside. Eventually, the dogs were turned released to HSI’s care where they’ll receive medical attention and eventually be made available for adoption to loving families.
An online petition urging Chinese President Xi Jinping to halt the festival has been signed by tens of thousands of supporters around the globe. While authorities have indicated the festival will not be official endorsed this year, Yulin residents and dog meat traders have vowed to continue the tradition.