Yulin Festival – Where 15,000 Canines Get Slaughtered And Eaten Every Year


In the US and UK, we see cats and dogs as domestic pets rather than ever thinking about them as food.

But the Yulin Dog Meat festival turns that idea on its head, because it is a food festival completely dedicated to selling dog and cat meat.

The festival lasts 10 days over the summer solstice and sees supporters spread in to the city of Yulin from all over China in order to buy and trade in the meat.

As the 2016 celebrations draw to a close, around 15,000 dogs and cats will have been killed, cooked and eaten.

Along with selling whole dogs and cats to punters wanting to cook up the pets, they also dish up samples of the dog meat to eat in the street, washed down with lychee wine.

Dog and cat meat in China is a delicacy and goes in many dishes.

Because the meat is fatty, it is especially used during the winter months – which is why the festival trades at this time of year.

Along with butchers killing and skinning the animals to be sold and eaten at a later date, local businesses thrive by cooking up the cats and dogs to sell as street food.

Unsurprisingly, Yulin festival is very controversial.

As soon as the festival became known a couple of years ago, millions have signed petitions and gone on marches in order for the festival to stop.


Often, the animals have to travel hundreds of miles packed tight into cages and stacked into trucks, before arriving to be slaughtered.

There’s controversy over the killing technique, too.

Often the animals are clubbed to death before being skinned alive.

The idea behind this is the adrenaline rushes through the animal’s blood stream as it is in pain and makes the meat tastier.

And although the traders claim the dogs and cats are specifically bred for this purpose, onlookers claim they see the animals being sold with collars on, leading to the belief that some of the animals traded are domestic pets.

Despite the festival being in China, the RSPCA has strong opinions on how cruel the festival is, and how it should be stopped.

They say: “Until China passes animal protection laws, no animals are protected from the kind of cruelty that we see as festivals such as Yulin.

“The RSPCA is playing a leading role in addressing this.

“Since 2008 we have been working very closely with the authorities in China, and with other Chinese and international animal welfare organisations, to draw up the country’s first anti-cruelty legislation.”

Every year, thousands of people protest against the festival in various tirades on social media, petitions and marches.

As the festival draws to a close this year, candlelight vigils were held around the world to show solidarity with the protesters in Yulin.


Many supporters of the dog meat fest argue the two-week celebrations are traditional and cultural, but the Chinese government does not recognise it as a registered event.

As it only officially began in 2009, it is widely recognised as a way local business owners make money, rather than something steeped in tradition.

A petition set up this year racked up well over four million signatures.

There has been a strong reaction on Twitter to the festival as it draws to a close.

One Twitter user wrote: “I’m appalled by the people who won’t speak out against Yulin because they think it’s hypocritical. These dogs are tortured!”

Another added: “Yulin dog festival: humanity at it’s worst.”

Ricky Gervais, a famous animal lover, is also an avid opponent of the Yulin celebrations.


When the festival opened late last month, he tweeted a picture of a dog being restrained at the festival, writing: “One beautiful creature and some f***ing ugly disgusting ones skinning it alive.”However, amid all the protests to end the festival some make the point we only care about animal cruelty when the animals being treated badly are ones we recognise as pets.Eating dog and cat meat has been tradition in various places around the world, including China, New Zealand, Thailand, Morocco and India for thousands of years.Some Brits are also skeptical of the support we give to dogs and cats, but not against cruelty to animals we usually eat.One Twitter user wrote: “People talking about the thousands of dogs eaten at Yulin – what about the thousands of pigs eaten every day?”

Another added: “We are disgustingly hypocritical about eating animals.”

Supporters of Yulin argue Chinese culture doesn’t hold dogs and cats in the same view as other cultures do.


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