Despite the Pandemic Threats, Lychee and Dog Meat Festival Kicks Off in China

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The consumption of wild animals like bats, snakes, etc was banned by the Government of China back in February, presuming that this issue has been a major health threat for the Chinese folks. Despite being warned by the Chinese Government, the annual lychee and dog meat festival has kicked off in Yulin city of Guangxi, located in the southern zone of China, from 21st of June, 2020.

Almost 10,000 dogs are brutally killed in this festival every year out of which many are pet dogs stolen from the backyard of the owners. The dogs are transported to Yulin in cramped conditions and most of them die during transportation due to suffocation and dehydration. Visitors have reported that the dogs are brutally killed in public with clubs and spades. Apart from dog meat, cat meat, lychees, and liquor are also sold in this festival.

The annual lychee and dog meat festival is held in Yulin city, to mark the summer solstice every year since 2009. It is a 10 days festival and starts from the 21st of June to the 30th of June, which is considered to be the hottest period of the year. Consumption of dog meat has been continuing in China for more than 400 years from now. It is assumed by the festival organizers and the localities of Yulin in support of this festival, that dog meat consumption during the summer solstice brings good luck, good health and increases men’s sexual capability.

The Yulin Municipal Government has claimed that the annual dog festival is not an official event. The celebration of such a festival can prove to be extremely harmful during the Covid-19 pandemic. Moreover, activists and sincere citizens of China are being vocal about banning such brutality against dogs.

China’s government has declared dogs as companions and not as livestock in the month of April this year and since then, the city of Shenzhen has banned the consumption of dog meat with others expected to follow.

Perter Li, Humane Society International’s China policy specialist declared the Yulin festival as a “bloody spectacle [which] does not reflect the mood or eating habits of the majority of the Chinese people.” He added, “Now that the Chinese government has officially recognized dogs as companions and not livestock, we are hopeful that China will take stronger action to hasten the end of the dog and cat meat trade for which millions of animals suffer every year.”

The agriculture ministry has taken an initiative to include dogs into the category of pets and not livestock. But this reclassification has not been able to shake the brutal ritualistic event of Yulin yet.

Animal rights activists are putting in their best possible efforts to eradicate this issue from the root level. Zhan Qianqian, an animal rights activist said, “banning dog meat consumption will be hard and will take some time.”

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