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Chinese Dog Meat ‘Festival’ to Continue Again This Year

Kristian Bland
Kristian Bland

There’s a “festival” in China that you’ve probably never heard of, that you really need to hear about. And then shout about, because sometimes social media slacktivism can make a difference. In this case, it’s about the only thing any of us can do, and it looks like it’s working. Or at least has a chance.

The festival in question takes place in Yulin, China, from June 21 – June 30, and involves eating dogs. And that’s about it.

There’s a lot of alcohol involved too, apparently, but mostly it’s about eating dogs. And puppies. And people’s pets.

That’s right. In order to meet the demand of this ancient Chinese festival (which it totally not ancient – but more on that in a minute), people go around snatching up pets and puppies and basically anything that goes *woof*, then stuff them into cages to be slaughtered. However, it doesn’t stop there. The animals are often burned, electrocuted, dismembered, boiled, and even skilled – all while still alive, for reasons I’m not even going to go into right now but that you can go look up for yourself if you really want to. I’m also purposefully not showing any pictures from the event in this post because, trust me, you don’t want to see them. (Instead, I’m only showing adorable pictures of my own dogs. You’re welcome.)

But to give you an idea of what those pictures look like, imagine watching one of those Sarah McLaughlin commercials right after your dog just died. And your boyfriend/girlfriend broke up with you. And your house burned down. All at the same time. That should come close to the empty feeling of utter hopeless and despair seeing pictures of this nightmare would leave you with. The only thing missing is the revulsion and disgust.

And anger.

Kristian Bland
Kristian Bland

Now, I know that some people eat dog meat. I know it’s a traditional food in some cultures. I get that. I think it’s horrible and wrong personally, but a lot of people think the same thing about eating steak. Others feel the same about pork, yet we have a deep infatuation with bacon in this country. Different strokes for different folks, or whatever.

But the Yulin Festival isn’t really about eating dog meat in any sort of meaningful cultural context. It’s about passing off a very recent “festival” as an “ancient tradition” when it’s anything but, while snatching up and murdering family pets in order to fuel it.

You see, dog eating is common in Yulin. It’s sort of their claim to fame, for some reason I don’t understand any more than you do. But they’re proud of it, and a few years back, they decided to do something to promote the region and its dog meat. So they created a dog eating festival because it’s China and of course they did. It’s not about culture – it’s about money.

This isn’t some ancient spiritual or cultural observation. It’s not some sacred event. It’s simple (and disgusting) marketing. That’s all.

Kristian Bland
Kristian Bland

It’s hard to pin down exactly when the festival started, but the earliest reports suggest the first festival was in the mid to late ’90s, while other accounts tend to point toward the mid to late ’00s. Either way, it’s hardly ancient by any definition of the word.

In recent years, there has been a growing swell of condemnation against the festival on social media – and it looks like it might be starting to work.

Of course, we are talking about China here, which traditionally doesn’t much care what other countries think of it. China does what China wants, but the pressure being put onto the government as a direct result of social media outcry is having an effect. The average Chinese citizen is now opposed to the festival, and with efforts from organizations like Humane Society International, there’s a very real chance that this festival can finally be stopped.

Or at least driven underground to such an extent that 10,000 dogs aren’t needlessly slaughtered for the 500,000 pounds of dog meat the festival has gathered in the past – from strays and from stolen pets. From puppies.

Kristian Bland
Kristian Bland

I don’t care if you share this exact post on your Facebook or your Twitter, but please do somethingGo sign this petition at change.org. Make your voice heard, because despite intense pressure to cancel this year’s festival (and initial reports indicated that it had been cancelled), the Chinese government isn’t backing down. Not yet, anyway. But keep it going, and maybe they won’t have another festival next year.

Too often, “awareness” campaigns don’t really do much of anything. We all know what cancer is, after all. We don’t really need to raise awareness for it so much as we need to raise money for research toward more effective treatments and a cure, but we still pour millions of dollars and hours into “raising awareness” every year. But in this case – with this stupid, senseless, puppy murdering “festival” – awareness is exactly what’s needed.

Because you probably never heard of it until just now. Or maybe you had, because more celebrities are getting involved to try and get the word out. And the more people who hear about it, the more people will spread the news. And the more people spread the news, the more people will start talking about it. And the more people start talking about it, the more people will start screaming for it to stop. And the more people start screaming for it stop, the greater the likelihood that it will stop.

Make your voice heard.

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