China’s Yulin Dog-Eating Festival Begins, Inviting Animal Rights Group Rescue Missions

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 22: A Golden Retriever attends the American Kennel Club Presents The Nation's Most Popular Breeds Of 2015 at AKC Headquarters on February 22, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

The Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat Festival in southern China began this week, a Summer Solstice celebration that typically involved the brutal butchering and consumption of what animal rights activists say is thousands of dogs, many of them suspected stolen from homes where they lived as pets.

Yulin, a city in southern Guangxi province, began hosting the festival – in which participants eat roasted, boiled, and otherwise prepared fresh dog meat and eat fresh lychees to refresh in the hot summer months – in either 2009 or 2010, according to various reports. The barbaric photos of dogs in cages, beaten to death, skinned, and dismembered prompted outrage from the international community, including celebrity campaigns urging the ruling Communist Party to ban the event in 2015 and 2016. The Party has made several public announcements claiming to either outlaw the festival or dog-eating in general, but no evidence suggests that the festival has ceased to occur on any year since its founding.

The Yulin festival raised renewed interest, and outrage, in the months following the onset of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, which the Chinese government initially claimed was triggered by the consumption of illegal animal meat from a market in central Wuhan, a regional capital.

“The origin of the new coronavirus is the wildlife sold illegally in a Wuhan seafood market,” Gao Fu, director of China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters in January 2020. The Chinese communist regime has since disowned this theory and officially claims the pandemic is the product of a laboratory leak in Maryland that the U.S. government covered up using e-cigarette injuries. Beijing has offered no evidence for this claim or an explanation for the lack of evidence that e-cigarette injuries, unlike the highly transmissible Chinese coronavirus, are not contagious.

Despite calls for China to ban the Yulin dog meat festival both for humane reasons and the potential for wet market butchering to spread diseases, animal rights activities have documented widespread evidence that this year’s event began as planned on Tuesday. A Chinese-based animal rights group called Plush Bear’s Shelter, run by a Chinese activist named Liang Xiaodan, published videos on Thursday allegedly from Yulin showing dog carcasses being sprayed down for butchering and eating.

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The group also published a video of what it claimed to be a “dog farm” specializing in breeding the animals for consumption.

“These places are rarely spoken of and are hidden away in countryside. They provide dogs all year round and additional back up for when trucks are intercepted on route to the festival,” the organization detailed in a post on its Facebook account. “This particular one has over 600 dogs. The owner tends to sell the males for meat and keeps the females for breeding.”
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Breitbart News has not been able to independently verify the videos.

Humane Society International, a global animal rights organization, similarly documented evidence prior to the first day of the festival this week that organizers expected thousands of attendees and were in the process of butchering dogs to prepare. Pressure from local animal rights activists in Shaanxi province appeared to result in police action against a shipment of 386 dogs heading to Yulin.

“Video and photos taken by the activists and released to global animal protection group Humane Society International show the moment Shaanxi police pulled the truck over on the road, and distressing scenes of dogs crammed into small wire cages in the sweltering heat,” Human Society International revealed in a press release on Monday. “The activists have praised Shaanxi police for their swift response and said that if all police took this zero tolerance approach, China’s brutal dog meat trade would come to an end.”

The group noted that some of the dogs rescued were wearing collars, suggesting they were stolen from homes where they were kept as pets.

The rescue made international headlines favorable to Chinese law enforcement despite the reported evidence that the festival remains in full gear as of this Thursday from smaller groups operating within the country. China has similarly quelled international disgust with the Yulin festival in the past, spreading rumors that it would outlaw the event or impose a national ban on eating dog meat but not taking any material measures to stop the lucrative festival.

The year 2017 was of particular note for this diversion of activist outrage. Following reports that China would ban dog meat consumption in May, just before the solstice, celebrity activists that had formally vocally called for an end to the event went silent, apparently believing claims that the city would stop hosting the festival. Yet shortly before the event began, animal rights groups revealed that no evidence on the ground suggested that the Chinese government was going to intervene to stop it.

“It’s sad that there isn’t a larger social media presence about it like last year. And we truly believe this is due to the false statement about the ban and also the continued false information being spread to support the original lie,” the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation told Breitbart News that year.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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