Each year in Yulin, the province of Guangxi, China, from June 21 to the 30th, the annual Yulin dog eating festival takes place. For the sake of this Chinese tradition, more than 10,000-15,000 dogs are slaughtered, cooked, and put on the market over the period of just 10 days. Although most Yulin locals defend the festival by arguing that no one has the right to change one’s traditions and history, the gruesome treatment of the dogs must not be ignored.
According to Time Magazine, China does not have any animal protection laws. This regulatory failure allows for thousands of vendors and traders to brutally butcher dogs and sell them to the markets.
First, the vendors and traders kidnap stray dogs roaming the city streets or steal pets from almost anyone. Captured dogs are often forcefully pinned down by pitchforks and other weapons and crammed in tight cages that can have as many as 10 dogs. Once these animals are loaded into vehicles, they are taken to markets where hundreds of people will buy them for consumption. Due to injuries, starvation, dehydration, or poisoning, many of these dogs often die along the way. Those who do survive are malnourished and underweight.
What happens to these dogs after purchase depends on the individual. The purchase may have simply been for companionship. More than seventy-five percent of the time, however, it is not.
If the dog is bought for consumption, it is taken to special slaughterhouses where it is eventually skinned alive and slit open or boiled alive.
According to a survey of a group of Chinese citizens conducted by the Pet Lover’s Companion Organization about the dog meat trade, “torture equals taste.” Dogs are abused before they are cooked because it is believed that boosts of adrenaline enhances the flavor of the meat.
In addition to being skinned, boiled, or slaughtered, methods of inflicting physical pain to increase adrenaline are: hangings, beatings, and electrocution. Some butchers also induce mental anguish in about-to-be-cooked dogs mental pain to boost adrenaline. These people often torture and slaughter targets in front of other dogs to increase stress and fear.
“I resent what the people in Yulin are doing,” said Whitney Li, a Chinese- American resident of Palos Verdes. “It’s hard for me to know that some of my own people are capable of such torture and believe that it’s for a good cause.”
There is now less than a month left until the next Yulin festival happens. Although it may be difficult to prevent the 2016 festival from happening, it is more than worth it to fight for the meaningful lives of these innocent dogs. We may not be able to ever fully stop the festival itself, but with our efforts, it will be more than possible to ensure that these dogs die in peace after a happy life, instead of being slit open or boiled for hours and hours.
Some ways to join the fight are to sign the petition to Yulin Governor Chen Wu at change.org, to share your knowledge of this festival with others, and to donate money to animal advocate groups that buy these dogs from the Yulin markets. #stopYulin2016.