Dog meat festival opens in China but activists hope it is for last time
- Organisers of 10-day event in Yulin ignore government drive to discourage consumption of wildlife and pets
- Visitor numbers have dwindled at this year’s festival, according to campaigners
Activists are hopeful China’s controversial dog meat festival’s days are numbered, despite organisers going ahead with the 10-day event in defiance of a government campaign to discourage the practice.
The annual festival in the southwestern city of Yulin usually attracts thousands of visitors, many of whom buy dogs for the pot that are on display in cramped cages, but campaigners said numbers this year had dwindled, with hopes this year’s event could be the last.
“I do hope Yulin will change, not only for the sake of the animals but also for the health and safety of its people,” said Peter Li, China policy specialist with the Humane Society International, an animal rights group.
China’s annual 10-day dog meat festival opens despite government’s discouragement
“Allowing mass gatherings to trade in and consume dog meat in crowded markets and restaurants in the name of a festival poses a significant public health risk,” he said.
China orders complete ban on trade in wildlife for food to combat coronavirus epidemic
Zhang Qianqian, an animal-rights activist who was in Yulin on Saturday, said it was only a matter of time before the dog meat festival was banned.
“From what we understand from our conversations with meat sellers, leaders have said the consumption of dog meat won’t be allowed in future,” she said. “But banning dog-meat consumption is going to be hard and will take some time.”