Yulin’s annual dog meat festival promises to look a bit different from years past when it begins tomorrow: First, there will be no dogs slaughtered on the streets. Second, some vendors will be covering up the character for “dog” on their shop signboards — you know the one that comes right before the character for “meat.”
One vendor told the Global Times that she is doing this to “avoid trouble.” Another mentioned that government authorities are checking vendors’ and restaurants’ food sanitation permits and business licenses. Hopefully, authorities won’t be so easily fooled.
The dogs consumed in the festival are often prepared without safety in mind. The Deputy Secretary-General of the China Meat Association told Xinhua News that there is no industry in China that specifically raises dogs for their meat due to expensive costs. According to the Animals Asia Foundation, the dog meat supply mostly consists of domestic dogs and stray dogs that are stolen and sometimes poisoned with cyanide. In the past, dog meat traders have been arrested for selling tons of poisonous dog meat.
Experts have also warned about the risk of spreading diseases such as rabies in the Yulin dog meat festival. According to Xinhua, the city of Yulin has one of the highest rates of rabies in China. In response, this year, official’s have told residents to keep the slaughter off the streets.
64% of Chinese would like the slaughter stopped all together, with many saying that the festival hurts China’s image abroad. This year an unprecedented 11 million people signed a petition calling for an end to the festival, which was delivered to the Yulin government office in Beijing earlier this month.
With all that negative attention, it’s no wonder that vendors are trying their best to cleverly hide what sort of meat that they are selling exactly.
By Amy Yang
[Images via Global Times]