The Yulin Dog Meat Festival, which happens every year on the summer solstice, is a particularly gruesome display of the dog meat trade. This “festival,” where some 10,000 dogs are slaughtered and served up as meals, is often wrongly assumed to be an ancient Chinese tradition. In fact, the festival only dates back to 2009 when it was launched in the city in China’s southwest to celebrate the summer solstice.
To make the event even more gruesome – transporting the dogs to the festival is an intrinsically brutal operation. Dogs for Yulin come from as far as central and north China’s Henan and Shandong, more than 1,000 miles away. They are crammed into wire cages unable to extend their limbs, denied food and water for days during the exhausting trip. The dogs arrive at their destination malnourished and underweight, dehydrated, often dying from injuries or from being poisoned during capture. Others are already dead. No one checks to see where these dogs come from – many are heartlessly ripped from their loving homes, or darted with poison on the streets and dragged away to the slaughterhouse. Therefore, disease is rampant due to the squalid conditions and lack of medical care.
Once they arrive at the “festival”, thousands of dogs are beaten, killed, and eventually eaten by people who believe eating dog meat on this day will bring good luck. Dogs are openly killed in crowded marketplaces, on the streets, and most shockingly next to elementary schools, imposing bloody and cruel practices on vulnerable members of the public. Such public slaughter risks creating an indifferent and morally defunct society. Beating and killing these struggling, crying dogs in full view of other terrified dogs showcases an industry that is devoid of humanity. Additionally, the criminal activity of dog theft sustains much of the dog meat industry, with often violent confrontations between angry dog owners and the thieves.
Hope is on the horizon, however. As people become educated on the cruelty and health risks of dog meat, fewer dogs face slaughter. In 2015, 20% fewer dogs were killed at the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. The average Chinese citizen finds public dog slaughter inexcusably offensive. With tremendous global outcry against the festival, dog butchers were forced to hide from public eyes. Local youth held protests at Yulin City Hall demanding an end to the brutality, and activists lined the streets, spreading word about the evils of dog meat.
There is more good news: Although it was once illegal to keep dogs as pets in China, times have changed and many households now include dogs as part of the family. They are shunning dog meat and speaking out against it, and as a result, the number of dog slaughters is decreasing throughout China.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO END THE TORTURE?
The Vanderpump Dog Foundation was formed to aid in ending this international atrocity, and to also better the lives of dogs domestically. The Foundation is built on a platform of education, legislation, and activism. Through our legislative campaigns, our domestic and international awareness, and our rescue & rehabilitation efforts, we hope to end the barbaric torture once and for all.
The Vanderpump Dog Foundation runs on the idea that it is vital to build strong relationships between dog-loving communities in the United States and animal advocates around the world, including mainland China. By starting with Yulin and the Guangdong Province, the two most notorious areas in China for dog abuse, we can start a domino effect across the world. Our ultimate goal is to create an environment where all dogs are treated with the compassion and respect that they rightfully deserve.
The Vanderpump Dog Foundation is currently working alongside a wonderful Chinese rescue sanctuary, operated by the Shenzhen Dog Protections Association, where The Vanderpump Dog Foundation sponsors 80 dogs rescued from The Yulin Dog Meat Festival.
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