Every year thousands of live dogs are rounded up — many stolen from their owners — to be killed, sold and eaten at China’s Yulin Dog Meat Festival.
Since 2009, the festival has been held each year during the summer solstice, and for as long as the event has existed, animal lovers have been trying to stop it, including celebrities like Lisa Vanderpump (who made a documentary on the atrocity of the event) and Ricky Gervais.
Hope seemed to be on the horizon last year, when news started to spread that the Yulin government banned the sale of dog meat at the festival. Unfortunately, as the festival neared, authorities claimed reports from Humane Society International and other animal welfare outlets about the ban were incorrect. The Yulin Dog Meat Festival commenced as usual.
A petition on Change.org started by the Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project is working to end the festival, which starts June 21, once and for all. The petition is seeking 4,000,000 signatures and already has more than 3,000,000. Along with the slaughter and torture pets endured during the festival, the petition also cites food health concerns as a reason to shut down the event.
“The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is also a dangerous food safety issue. Dogs sold on the market are sick, poisoned and dying animals. They suffer from horrendous conditions during the long distance, trans-provincial journeys, many days without food and water and may carry contagious disease,” reads the petition page on Change.org.
This petition is not the first of its kind, but the social and political climate surrounding this issue is more favorable for ending the Yulin Dog Meat Festival than ever before. According to The Guardian, South Korea, a country also known to sell and consume dog meat, just passed a decision through the country’s courts making the killing of dogs for meat illegal. This news is part of several steps the country has taken to move away from this controversial practice. Even South Korean president Moon Jae-in adopted a rescue dog, a sign more of the country is seeing these animals as pets — not as food.