Posters set to go up in Yulin, China ahead of its annual dog meat eating festival, suggest that local authorities are asking people to think twice before attending.
The series of four posters include the following slogans:
While not specifically mentioning either the festival, which officially starts on June 21, or dog eating – the slogans all mirror the arguments of animal welfare groups who have highlighted issues of cruelty, food safety and pointing out the differences between traditions worth maintaining and those that should be consigned to history.
Reports are emerging that some in Yulin informally held dog meat eating feasts last weekend in a bid to avoid controversy surrounding the event generated by the media and animal welfare groups.
Animals Asia founder and CEO Jill Robinson said:
“Their posters are a strong hint that the local authorities see the dog festival as more harmful than beneficial to Yulin. We’ve long argued that any short-term boost to traders will be small in comparison to the long-term international damage. We also know that for a country increasingly concerned with food safety - dog eating is a big problem. It’s an industry characterised by criminality, cruelty and poor hygiene. Dogs are stolen from their homes – increasingly by being darted and drugged in the street. Poisons that will find their way into the meals of the festival-goers.
“Without a law for banning dog meat consumption, the local authorities have limited options available in terms of stopping the festival. However, the content in their own posters suggests a workable alternative route map. Invest in greater scrutiny and enforcement of food safety, investigate the sourcing of the dogs and continue to advise of the health issues surrounding eating dog meat. The criminality and health risks surrounding dog meat eating should not be overlooked.”
As part of its annual opposition to the festival Animals Asia has written an open letter to the local authorities spelling out the reasons why ending the festival would be the best decision for the region. In addition Animals Asia has forwarded extensive research detailing the violent criminality that is part of the industry.
The letter was posted to China’s Weibo social media and was read by over a hundred thousand readers. A further online discussion, including a panel of experts received over three quarters of a million hits in the first few days, with interest in the movement against eating cat and dog meat rising ahead of the festival.
Elsewhere, activists including celebrities, lawyers and food safety experts are calling for an end to the practice. Chinese pop stars Chen Kun and Yang Mi are among celebrities supporting campaigns against the festival on Weibo.
Animals Asia has long campaigned for better treatment of dogs and cats in China. As part of its programmes it continues to investigate the dog and cat meat trade and promotes its findings via community awareness campaigns. In addition, Animals Asia advises local authorities on topics such as population management and disease control. The animal welfare NGO also runs the Dr Dog and Professor Paws programmes both promoting animal care and the special roles dogs can play in the community