The eight-thousand-years-old Chinese culture has created many marvels – Taoist philosophy, exquisite scroll painting and calligraphy, jade sculpture, mysterious martial arts, atmospheric gardens and polite, intricate manners, to name just a few. Its achievements served as a vital inspiration for the civilizations of Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia while here, in the Western world, we can sample its delights in numerous Chinatowns (there is one even in Paris.)
But not everything Chinese is worth admiring. The ugliness and horrors of the Cultural Revolution are still with us and the continuing brutal occupation of Tibet casts a heavy shadow over the public image of present-day China. And then, there is the Yulin Dog Meat Festival.
Although using dogs for food in China started about four hundred years ago (because of a belief that eating dog meat protects from the summer heat), the festival – officially called the Lychee and Dog Meat Festival – is of quite recent origins. Once a year, for about ten days around the summer solstice, the inhabitants of the city of Yulin in the southeast province of Guangxi kill and eat around ten to fifteen thousand dogs, as well as several thousand cats, along with lychee fruit. At least some of the animals are seemingly tortured before being slaughtered in order to make their meat more tender.
For obvious reasons, this “festival” has been causing an outrage among animal welfare activists worldwide. It does not even have an excuse of being traditional and its inhumane character is glaring. But Chinese officials have dug their heels in. They not only refuse to do anything about it but also accuse its critics of (surprise, surprise) “racism” while pointing out that eating dogs and cats is not really different from consuming beef, pork or veal.
There is some truth in the last statement: Westerners are biased toward pets and largely indifferent to the tremendous suffering of farm animals. However, two wrongs don’t make a right. The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is a monstrosity which makes China lose its face in the international public opinion. The sooner the government of China understands this simple fact, the better, both for their country and the innocent (as always) animals.
Please sign the petition to abolish the Yulin Dog Meat Festival here: