It has been a long-standing tradition in Yulin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to celebrate the summer solstice by gathering with family and friends to consume lychees and dog meat. Despite increasing local and global opposition against practices witnessed at the annual festival, huge crowds of vendors and consumers were seen purchasing, eating and butchering dogs in the streets of Yulin on Sunday and Monday.
Animal rights activists and dog lovers from across China, as well as other parts of the world, also flocked to the event, hoping to rescue captured dogs and protest what they believe is a barbaric practice. It is reported that government officials have increased security measures on the streets and dispatched armed police this year in sight of rising tension between dog-meat vendors and dog lovers.
Large crowds can be seen on the streets of Yulin.
Countless dogs are encaged, ready to be purchased and butchered.
Dogs are not the only animal being captured. Cats, too, have also been caught, and will be butchered and put on sale.
According to foreign media reports, members of the Humane Society International (HSI) also flew to Yulin with money in hand, hoping to save as many caged canines as possible. In June, the same group set up a campaign against the annual mass slaughter event, signing on famous celebrities including comedian Ricky Gervais.
HSI member Adam Parascandola noted that there is a growing difference in opinion towards the cultural practice when it comes to younger and older generations in China.
Chinese HSI member and animal rights activist Xing Hai told reporters that he was ashamed Yulin has become world-renowned for such an event and pointed out that there are hundreds of thousands of people in China who are working to put an end to it.
Same as last year, dog-lover Yang Xiao Yun traveled all the way from Tianjin to Yulin to rescue dogs. She said she has already spent around 7,000 yuan saving around 100 dogs and cats.
Yang said she is not planning on transporting all the rescued animals back to Tianjin this year, but will find a safe place to keep them in Yulin.
A dog lover takes a photo of animals at the event.
Among all the captured dogs in the market, some are being sold as pets, but most end up butchered and eaten.
Dog butchers are seen chopping up dog meat and preparing to sell it.
Butchers roasting dogs.
Vendors seen transporting roasted dogs to the market.
Restaurants prepare dog meat dishes to serve to customers.
Meanwhile, a petition on change.org calling for an end to the festival has received more than 3.8 million signatures as of yesterday afternoon.