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Dog lovers from around the world had reason to celebrate on Wednesday following reports that China is set to ban the sale of dog meat at one of their largest festivals.
Each year, thousands of dogs and cats are bludgeoned to death and sold for their meat at China’s Yulin festival. However, that could be about to change following reports revealed by Humane Society International (HSI)
According to HSI and animal campaigners from the Duo Duo Project, multiple reports are indicating that the Yulin government in China is set to prohibit restaurants, street vendors and market traders from selling dog meat at their annual dog meat festival.
The ban of dog meat sales is expected to come into effect on June 15th, one week prior to the festival that begins on June 21st.
The ban will be strictly enforced and people found in violation of the rules could face fines of up to 100,000 yuan and even be subject to arrest.
HSI received reports of the ban coming into effect by Chinese activists and three traders at Dongkou, Yulin’s biggest dog meat market.
Although the news is welcomed by animal groups around the world, the celebrations may not last forever. Indeed, the ban is only temporary and does not signal an end to the Yulin event.
Nonetheless, the temporary ban is still a milestone victory in the ongoing campaign to end mass dog and cat slaughter at Yulin and signals a potential shift in cultural traditions in parts of China.
“Even if this is a temporary ban, we hope this will have a domino effect, leading to the collapse of the dog meat trade,” said Andrea Gung, executive director of Duo Duo Project. “I have visited Yulin many times in the last two years. This ban is consistent with my experience that Yulin and the rest of the country are changing for the better. I am very impressed that the younger generation in Yulin and in China is as compassionate as their counterparts in the rest of world. Duo Duo Project also wants to congratulate Mr. Mo Gong Ming, Yulin's new Party Secretary, for his progressive and visionary leadership. I hope this will turn out to be the beginning of the end of the dog eating habit in China.”
Currently, Duo Duo and HSI are continuing to increase pressure on Yulin authorities to make the ban permanent. As well, the two groups are also working to enforce new food safety laws and regulations and build a government facility to house dogs confiscated from the dog meat trade.
More than 10 million dogs and around four million cats are killed every year across China for their meat.
The Yulin festival is not a traditional event but one invented in 2010 by dog meat traders to boost flagging sales. At its height an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 dogs were killed at Yulin, reduced to 2,000 to 3,000 in recent years.
There is a vibrant campaign inside China to end the dog meat trade, with Chinese animal activists staging protests and dog rescues all year round.
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