CHINESE ACTIVISTS REPORT A PROPOSED TEMPORARY BAN ON THE SALE OF DOG MEAT IN YULIN’S BARBARIC FESTIVAL
Animal lovers around the world may have cause for celebration, as it is speculated that traders and butchers will be temporarily prohibited from the slaughtering and selling of dog meat during the annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival, according to many China-based animal activist groups. The festival, which results in the public and gruesome slaughter of an estimated 10 to 20 thousand dogs every June, would be subjected to a new ban proposed by China’s new party Secretary, Mr. Mo Gong Ming. The speculated ban is reportedly an effort to improve Yulin’s international image.
The barbaric festival has been the subject of worldwide criticism in recent years, and has reportedly seen a annual decrease in dog meat sales since 2014 due to the efforts of animal activists and rescue groups. Last year, a petition of nearly 11 million signatures was delivered to the Chinese government to voice opposition to the festival. In June of 2016, Davey’s Voice witnessed the atrocities of the gruesome dog meat trade first hand, bringing back a total of 15 Yulin survivors to America in our first international rescue initiative.
Reports from the Humane Society International have claimed that the rumored ban may take effect on June 15th, 2017, a week prior to the official start date of the festival, however no official government documentation of said ban has been reported. Should the reports hold true, the ban would affect any festival vendor in which dog meat is normally sold including street vendors and public markets. However, according to Peter Li, a China policy specialist at Humane Society International, traders may find a loophole around the ban by “secretly selling dog meat at night, or they’ll supply dog meat to restaurants. They just won’t sell it at the market.” Dog meat traders and butchers caught breaking the law would be subject to fines of up to 100,000 yuan ($14,500) in addition to the risk of arrest.
Additional reports state that the ban would only implement a seven day halt on the trading and selling of dog meat, rather than a permanent stop to Yulin’s year-long dog meat trading practices. While this action on the part of China’s government would be a huge step in the right direction, we at Davey’s Voice recognize that there is still much work to be done in order to see the Yulin Dog Meat Festival and other dog meat trading practices banned forever.
Andrea Gung, executive director of Duo Duo Project, says: “Even if this is a temporary ban, we hope this will have a domino effect, leading to the collapse of the dog meat trade. I have visited Yulin many times in the last two years. This ban is consistent with my experience that Yulin and the rest of the country are changing for the better. I hope this will turn out to be the beginning of the end of the dog eating habit in China.”
While activists remain hopeful that the ban will come to fruition, other claims, including this report from the BBC, state that many vendors and local Chinese officials are unaware of the ban. BBC staffers in Beijing say the latest reports have not appeared in Chinese media, and that,
“only some retailers and restaurants had been notified so far, while other vendors said they were confident they could continue to sell dog meat.”
Furthermore, Marc Ching of the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation believes these reports of a ban to be invalid and merely a rumor to discourage activists from taking action in Yulin. “There is national coverage by many publications indicating that the Yulin Dog Meat Festival is over. That is not true. We have information coming directly from those associated with the government indicating the opposite.” In addition to their planned rescue efforts in Yulin this year, AHWF is participating in nationwide protests taking place in several states in the U.S. outside Chinese Embassies condemning those involved with the festival.
Should the rumored ban be properly announced and enforced by local government, it would undoubtedly be a momentous victory for animals. However, Yulin authorities must continue to enforce additional prohibitions, including action against the transportation of live animals in order to effectively stop the practice of dog meat trading.
We would like to urge the Chinese government to remain vigilant in their actions against the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, by taking these additional steps:
YOU CAN HELP BY CONTACTING YOUR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES
In May, 2016, House Representative Alcee Hastings introduced House Resolution 30 ( formerly H.Res. 752). H.Res. 30 calls on the US Government to take a stand against the Yulin dog meat festival (and the dog meat trade in China in general) and to enforce better food safety laws, by applying pressure to the Chinese Government, because it:
There are currently 158 cosponsors for this bill. If you do not see the name of your representative on the following list, please write or call and urge them to cosponsor House Resolution 30 in order to bring a permanent end to the Dog Meat Trade.
See the list of Cosponsors below:
“While we are hopeful to see the implementation of this ban, the fight is long from over. The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is not yet abolished for good. Together, we must continue to be the voice for voiceless animals both here in the United States and in the most dire of circumstances overseas.”