Hollywood celebrities Matt Damon, Kate Mara, Joaquin Phoenix and Alicia Silverstone are among the dozens who have teamed up to produce a PSA encouraging an end to the annual Chinese dog-eating event known as the Yulin Dog Meat Festival.
The celebrities partnered with Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation founder Marc Ching on the 3-minute clip released earlier this month, ahead of the beginning of the festival on June 22.
“This is built upon the belief that if you torture or abuse the animal, it makes the meat taste better or that it gives health benefit to who eats it,” Ching explains in the PSA of attendees’ dog-meat preferences. “Whether or not you think it is something to be eaten or on the menu, cruelty and torture and violence is wrong.”
Every year, thousands of dogs are captured or stolen, caged, and transported to the festival, according to the Humane Society International.
“We are here asking you to stop the cruelty,” says Jason Bourne star Matt Damon, owner of three rescue dogs, in the PSA.
The Office creator Ricky Gervais took to Twitter and posted a picture of himself kissing a puppy, urging his 11 million followers to sign a petition calling for the festival’s end.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) May 1, 2016
So far, the Humane Society International has saved 29 dogs.
“The police presence is heavy in Yulin right now, and the atmosphere is very tense, so this was not an easy rescue,” said Peter Li, the Humane Society’s Chinese policy specialist, who led the rescue operation. “But we were determined to save animals from their gruesome fate at Yulin, and it was such a relief to leave the slaughterhouse cages empty for one day at least.”
The Yulin Dog Meat Festival started in 2010 as an effort to spur the Chinese dog meat trade.
The festival beings on June 22 in Yulin, China.