“Care for animals, care for life” adverts appear across China’s Yulin city

19 September 2017

The city of Yulin, synonymous for many with the eating of cats and dogs, is this month home to a series of public ads advocating care for animals.

Three months on from Yulin’s unofficial dog meat festival, images of cats and dogs being warmly embraced by humans are appearing around the city.

They are part of a campaign by Ya Dong Consulting – a company owned by Animals Asia – to raise awareness of animal welfare in a city which many people globally now associate with the cat and dog meat industries.

Each year in Yulin thousands of dogs and an unknown number of cats are slaughtered during the weeklong celebration of the summer solstice.

Reports of the number of dogs slaughtered during the summer solstice in Yulin vary wildly and should be treated with caution but most observers put the number between 1,000 and 10,000.

The unofficial event has drawn international condemnation, which in turn has made some in the city more defiant to continue so-called traditions.

Animals Asia’s Cat and Dog Welfare Director Irene Feng said:

“These posters are a positive, non-confrontational way to address the cruelty of the cat and dog meat industry. You can’t simply attack people and expect them to change their behaviour – you have to convince them. We believe these posters will plant a seed in many people’s minds and cause them to question their choices.”

The posters read, “care for animals, care for life to build a harmonious society”, and give advice on responsible companion animal ownership such as, “never hurt animals – stop people abusing animals”.

While the summer solstice festival has become a focal point for international anti-dog meat campaigners, dog meat is consumed every day in Yulin – as it is in other areas of China.

Up to 10 million dogs are believed slaughtered in China every year, yet a long-running investigation by Animals Asia could find no evidence of any large-scale breeding facilities anywhere in the country.

The findings add weight to the accusation that most dogs killed for their meat are actually companion animals stolen from people’s homes, or strays poisoned and snatched from the streets.

Such widespread theft is causing social unrest and even human deaths as vigilantes fight the thieves.

Unsurprisingly, many in China have had enough of the cruel trade and its illegal fallout. A recent online poll by China National Radio received 20,000 votes, with 69% agreeing the dog and cat meat industries should be banned.

Fuelling compassion for animals is the fact that companion animal ownership in China has skyrocketed in recent years, reaching the milestone of 100 million registered companion animals – mostly dogs and cats – in 2015.

Yulin’s dog meat festival was initially supported by local authorities as a way to boost the local economy, before they distanced themselves from the event in 2014.

People eating at Yulin dog meat eating festival

Animals Asia Founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE said:

“It’s very important that those who want to see the cruel cat and dog meat industries end realise the trade goes on year-round. We see a huge spike in media interest for just one week of the year due to events in Yulin, but we need that attention to stay for the other 51 weeks.

“Animals Asia will continue to work holistically, 365 days a year, all over the country to end the stealing and brutal killing of loved companion animals for the meat trade. This poster campaign, with its positive message, is a key part of changing how ordinary people behave and think.”

The advertisements will run at bus stops across Yulin city for the entire month of September.