Not surprisingly, rumors of the demise of the Yulin Dog Meat Festival appear to have been greatly exaggerated.
Back in May, the Humane Society International (HSI) and California-based animal rights group the Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project issued a joint statement claiming that the local government of Yulin would ban the sale of dog meat by restaurants, vendors and traders one week before the city’s notorious annual festival opens in June.
Well, the festival’s opening is now rapidly approaching and activists say that they have seen no signs of a stop to the slaughter in the infamous Guangxi city with a controversial taste for canines.
According to Animals Asia, the Yulin Publicity Department told the Beijing News that they had not heard about any dog meat ban, explaining that the annual festival wasn’t organized by the government and therefore city authorities had no right to call it off. Officials also said that they had no clue where rumors of a ban had originated.
Meanwhile, sources in Yulin also told Animals Asia that the city’s Dongkou market was still openly selling dog meat as usual.
Reports from Yulin have also been confirmed by PETA with Jason Baker, the organization’s vice president of international campaigns, telling Forbes that they had spoke to several sources within the Yulin mayor’s office and found that no one there was aware of the alleged ban that was supposed to end the annual festival at which thousands of dogs are slaughtered each year, despite protest videos from Matt Damon and Pamela Anderson.
“Perhaps someone knows something that we don’t, but [we] suspect this is simply another rumor similar to last year, in which several media reports announced the festival was cancelled,” Baker said.
Forbes also spoke to the high-profile Animal Hope and Wellness founder Marc Ching, whose claims that he had rescued 1,000 dogs from being slaughtered at least year’s festival were later marred by a Daily Mail investigation which alleged that hundreds of those dogs had subsequently died after being denied life-saving injections and medical treatment by the Buddhist organizations which bought them. Ching also said that Yulin officials had told him that they had no plans to ban the festival this year and criticized activists for giving people false hopes.
“Because of the fabrication and false news spread by media and certain animal rights groups, this is the first year that the people have become silent. It is the pressure by the people that brings about change,” Ching said. “The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is still happening, whether or not you choose to believe it.”
— World Animal News (@WorldAnimalNews) June 19, 2017
Meanwhile, the Humane Society International is claiming that the Yulin government was forced to make a “last-minute compromise” regarding its ban, instead limiting sellers to just two dog carcasses per stand, which would be a dramatic reduction if it were true and enforced.
To somewhat support its claims, the HSI has shared a video of police in Yulin allegedly shutting down dog meat vendors who were found to have violated the “two dog carcasses” rule.
Of course, there’s also videos like this floating around on social media.
— BoAiAnimalCentre (@BoAiCentre) June 17, 2017
According to the Global Times, the festival is being carried out in a much more “subdued manner” this year with the local government trying to keep its distance (for years, local officials have been banned from attending the festivities). Once again, the character for “dog” will be covered up on vendor’s signs, while dogs are mostly being slaughtered outside the city rather than in the streets.
Meanwhile, locals say that they are tired of activists rolling in each summer, causing problems and affecting their way of life.
“Eating dog meat is a long-standing tradition in Yulin, and to us, eating dog is just like eating fish and chicken. Have you seen chicken lovers trying to stop people from eating chicken?” one local resident said.
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