Animals Asia launches campaign to end Chinese dog meat eating festival

20 May 2016

yulin pic 1We must end this festival and we must end all dog eating in China – that’s the message from Animal Asia as it launches its campaign against Yulin Dog Meat Festival 2016.

Last year saw the biggest international outcry yet, against the Yulin Dog Meat Festival – an event held in China each year during the summer solstice.

The long-running event was believed at its peak, to be responsible for the slaughter of 10,000 dogs – but with international and domestic condemnation growing, that figure is believed to have dropped to around 1,000 in 2015.

Animal welfare charity, Animals Asia’s 2016 campaign recognises that for much of the world the Yulin Dog Meat Festival is the focus of widespread attempts to end dog meat eating. However, it’s also important to look beyond the event which this year takes place on June 21.

End Yulin Festival linkAnimals Asia founder and CEO Jill Robinson said:
“If we can end the Yulin Dog Meat Festival then that will give us incredible impetus to continue to fight to end dog and cat meat eating within China. We must look beyond Yulin. The festival is horrific –  but this cruelty goes far beyond this event. The usual figure given for the number of dogs consumed each year in China is 10 million.

“That’s why it is a year-round campaign for us – raising awareness, working with local authorities and local, grass roots animal welfare organisations. The reports we released last year that map the industry in real detail – that had never been done before and they are now a cornerstone of this movement.”

Amongst the detail within the reports is that fact that the concept of Chinese “dog farms” was just a myth. Instead, the vast majority of animals are stolen and many are poisoned in the process. The escalation of dog meat industry-related crime has also prompted a huge backlash within China.

Yulin dog cage 2In March this year, Chinese people were able to vote online on proposed legislation. Far and away the most popular – receiving nine million votes – was a proposal to end dog and cat meat eating submitted by Zhen Xiaohe, a 52-year-old deputy to the National People’s Congress.

Animals Asia is asking international supporters to sign an open letter to the dog meat traders themselves. The animal welfare organisation aims to share the response publicly within China using its own social media platforms and asking sympathetic Chinese celebrities to do the same.

Jill Robinson (pictured centre below with the Cat and Dog Welfare team) added:
"We are not about foreigners taking on China. This is animal lovers East and West working together. There are numerous reasons why the number of dogs slaughtered during the Yulin Festival have dropped. One is certainly that younger generations are turning their back on this tradition. But in addition, the authorities are also distancing themselves. This is no longer sanctioned by government at any level and while there are still no animal welfare laws in China – there are laws regarding food transportation, hygiene and consumption. The pressure on the festival also comes from the fact that it no longer has influential friends. In fact, it’s running on zero goodwill.”

CDW Team

Animals Asia Cat and Dog Welfare Director, Irene Feng (pictured centre left above) added:
“We have recently returned from a pre-festival visit to Yulin and that has included leaving our reports on the dog meat industry with local authorities as well as a letter reminding them of their duties and the inherent criminality of this trade. Thanks to our awareness raising, it is now widely understood that these dogs are stolen. On top of that, repeated reports of dogs being poisoned means that they are not safe to eat. Transporting dogs thousands of miles also ensures diseases spread quickly. This is no health tonic.”

Animals Asia provides funding and/or training to around 100 dog and cat NGOs in China. In the run-up to the festival many will be involved in sharing information and working together to raise awareness of not just the festival itself but of the dangers of eating dog meat. The team also aims to highlight instances of illegality surrounding the festival – further putting pressure on the traders.

restaurant picJill Robinson added:
“Last year, around 150,000 people signed our open letter and there is no doubting that the Yulin Festival is the single biggest story ever to come out of the campaign to end cat and dog meat eating. And we shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that’s just internationally, because internally it was huge too. People know what this industry represents now. It’s been kept alive by cruelty and crime – but together they also represent its Achilles’ heel. Snatching dogs will always be quicker, easier and more profitable than farming. The Yulin Dog Meat Festival needs to end and we hope that all dog meat eating won’t be far behind.”

Animals Asia’s Dog and Cat Welfare programme is based in Guangzhou, China. As well as campaigning to end the dog and cat meat trade it also works at all levels to end cruelty to companion animals.