Recently, the annual Lychee and Dog Meat Festival (more commonly known as the Yulin Dog Meat Festival) took place in Yulin, Guangxi, China.
The festival marks the longest day of the year, declaring the beginning of summer, and takes place over a ten-day period.
During this time it’s reported that over 10,000 dogs will be slaughtered for their meat, to be eaten alongside lychee fruits.
While the tradition of eating dog meat in China dates back over 400 years, the annual Yulin celebrations were only established in 2009 but have continued yearly, ever since.
The festival is a huge cause for concern amongst many, with celebrity critics such as Simon Cowell and Leona Lewis arguing that it is cruel and inhumane.
There is a belief amongst many Chinese people that dog meat wards off excess heat in the summer months and is considered a delicacy. However, a recent poll published on state news website Xinhuanet, reveals that 64% of Chinese people aged 16-50 would support a permanent end to the festival.
Some images from the event show dogs in cages wearing collars. This suggests that event organisers stole dogs from their owners in order to kill and sell them to be eaten.
According to campaign group Stop Yulin Forever, the captured dogs are denied food and water prior to their death. Furthermore, the dogs are kept in small, cramped cages with no space to move around.
Animal activists say that the dogs are killed brutally and in a public way, sometimes being beaten to death, skinned or cooked alive. Supposedly, the adrenaline in the tortured animal’s blood causes their meat to taste better.
In China, the consumption and selling of dog meat is legal, but dog theft is illegal. Despite repeated pleas urging the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping to “end the mass slaughter and consumption of dogs”, the Yulin government says there is little they can do.
This is due to the fact that the festival is privately owned by a small group of Yulin’s local residents and does not have official backing.
I only recently found out about this practice through Facebook and I was outraged. In order to raise awareness and encourage other people to pressure the local authorities and residents to take action I have signed petitions and shared these on my social media.
I feel that the only solution is to encourage the residents of Yulin to intervene themselves, through petitions, campaigns and perhaps even protests.
Although some people may question how eating dogs is any different to killing other animals for their meat, such as cows and sheep, in many cultures dogs are domesticated and often valued as part of the family.
For example, I have two dogs and I do not feel that my family would be complete without them. Therefore I believe that to steal, torture and kill family pets is immoral and should definitely be challenged.
As young people, we often feel that we are powerless and cannot make a difference. However, by raising awareness of this cruelty through social media platforms, you can make a difference.
Each year further petitions are set up so make sure you keep a look out if you too want to fight this. I think it is essential that together we bring an end to this brutal event.