Dog meat back on the menu at ‘gruesome’ Yulin - WARNING: DISTRESSING IMAGES
AFTER years of vigorous campaigning animal welfare groups believed this could be the year which would see the end of dog meat being sold at the infamous Yulin festival in China.
Tens of thousands of dogs are bludgeoned to death at the festival, which gets into full swing between June 21 and 30, but in May this year it was widely reported that the Yulin Government was to crack down on the practice.
It was believed the Government would prohibit restaurants, street vendors and market traders selling their meat, with those who broke the veto set to face heavy fines and possible arrest.
A spokesman for Humane Society International (HSI) said: “If this news is true, as we hope, it is a really big nail in the coffin for a gruesome event that has come to symbolise China’s crime-fuelled dog meat trade.”
However, campaigners who have travelled to the city of Yulin to assess the impact of a ban have reported that the sale of dog is still very much happening on the streets of the city.
Chinese animal activist Sean Long, a partner of HSI, is monitoring the main dog meat market called Dongkou, as well as other locations around Yulin. He has confirmed that dog meat is still on sale, although in much smaller volumes than has been witnessed in previous years.
Dog vendors have reported that the Yulin authorities were persuaded to make concessions to the vendors in the last few days, although other vendors are reducing their trade in anticipation of the ban being more robustly implemented in the coming days.
Mr Long said: “It doesn’t look like business as usual at Dongkou market in Yulin. It’s disappointing to see dog meat still on sale, but nothing like the amount we’ve seen in the past. Business was slow at the market with far fewer buyers.
“Some vendors we spoke with said they believed they were allowed to sell dog meat again, and hinted that some kind of concession had been gained from the authorities just in the last couple of days.
“However, other vendors expressed doubt that they would be allowed to continue selling dog meat for long and said that there was so much genuine uncertainty that they had decided not to order more dogs in case they can’t sell them.”
Dr Peter Li, HSI’s China policy specialist, was not totally dismayed and said there were some positives to be taken from the reports.
He said: “It’s so easy to be disheartened because of course we all want to see a total and immediate end to the sale of dogs and dog meat at Yulin, and we want to see the authorities act decisively in the public interest. But we’ve always known that ending the dog meat festival at Yulin won’t be as simple as switching off a light. Instead, it’s lots of smaller victories that build toward the end goal.”