Yulin in Southern China has started te annual dog-meat eating festival, despite heavy criticism and protests from animal rights activists.
Vendors slaughtered dogs and cooked their meat in dozens of restaurants across the city, despite outrage over the cruelty and potential for spreading disease associated with the largely unregulated industry.
The ‘festival’, held every June 21, sees truckloads of dogs as well as cats caged in squalid conditions before they are clubbed to death and sold for meat.
Many of the animals are stolen pets, still wearing their collars.
It is said to be ‘tradition’ – but there is a growing swell of opposition within China itself as more and more people come to consider dogs as friends and companions, rather than livestock.
The local government has in recent years sought to disassociate itself from the event, forbidding its employees from attending and limiting its size by shutting down some dog markets and slaughter houses.
“The so-called dog-meat eating festival has never been officially recognised by government or by any regulations or laws,” said an official reached by telephone at the city government’s general office.
“We hold meetings every time before the so-called festival, discussing counter measures such as deploying local police, business and sanitary authorities to inspect and deal with those who sell dogs,” said the official, who like many Chinese bureaucrats would give only his surname, Liu, because he was not authorised to speak to reporters.
Opponents this year expanded their campaign to the United States, petitioning politicians in San Francisco to pressure their Chinese colleagues into calling for an end to the