Grotesque: China’s annual dog meat festival begins in Yulin today

The controversial food fest kicked-off amid global protests from local and foreign activists.

This might come as very disturbing news to most people, but the annual dog meat festival in Yulin has started today. The 10-day long festival will witness the killing and consumption of thousands of dogs in this Chinese city. The first day saw hundreds of people gathering in the market to either get a taste of dog meat or stop the killings.

Protestors from across the globe are campaigning to stop the Yulin dog meat festival. Photo courtesy: Instagram/sofie_the_frenchbulldog

The festival is held every year during the summer solstice in countries like China, South Korea, Indonesia, and Laos–though only China’s city of Yulin  seems to have most of its markets openly selling dog meat. The underlying, traditional belief that these dog-eaters hold is that the meat helps them cope with the heat during summer.

While this might sound like one of those traditional food fads that still continue in most nations of the world, the dangers of eating dog meat are many.

Dogs being displayed in Yulin’s dog meat festival. Photo courtesy: Instagram/joshuakhunt

It’s not a regulated industry, unlike the chicken or pig meat industries, so the chances of getting infections are quite high. Plus, the markets selling dog meat aren’t very hygienic to begin with, adding to the risk of consuming this meat.

Activists have taken to social media to show the world the inhumane treatment of dogs in Yulin. Photo courtesy: Instagram/jethro_tripod_catahoula

Protestors from across the globe have even more to add. Some have pointed out that the dogs are tortured before killing to enhance the flavour of the meat. Many activists have taken to social media to post live photos of the inhumane conditions in which these dogs are captured, transported, butchered, and then consumed.

A Malaysian vet, Daniel Wilfred, has posted a photo of dogs rescued from Yulin’s markets.

A Malaysian vet posted this photo of dogs rescued from Yulin’s dog meat festival. Photo courtesy: Instagram/dannyboyvet

Here’s what he wrote in his post: “Just checked out one of the slaughter houses that marc is working on taking over and relocating all the dogs. I went in with a local vet and another volunteer friend to change the water tubs, none of us got bit. All they did was try to lick us and get some hugs, why? They are not stray or farm dogs, these are peoples pets they steal pre-festival to meet the demand. Some of them still have their collars on (sic).”

Yulin’s extreme food festival witnesses the killing of thousands of dogs. Photo courtesy: Instagram/madmelbournie

In their collective attempt at stopping or at least reducing the consumption of dog meat, activists tried to buy off the dogs on sale at prices ranging between 300 yuan and 700 yuan (3,000 to 7,100 INR) per dog. Earlier this month, they also handed an 11 million-signature-strong petition to authorities in Beijing to stop the festival altogether.

Another initiative saw the making of this video by the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, which features actors like Matt Damon, Joaquin Phoenix and Pamela Anderson. Watch the video here: