— tessa connorton (@ladytess2012) May 8, 2017
In a very surprising twist, China’s government has reportedly banned the selling of dog meat at the highly controversial and unpopular Yulin dog meat festival.
In a May 17 press release, Humane Society International and the advocacy group Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project reported that the city is poised “to prohibit restaurants, street vendors, and market traders from selling dog meat at the event.”
“Yulin’s dog meat festival was an eating extravaganza that you don’t want to take your kid to see, and that has earned the community condemnation in China and around the world. It was promoted by local dog meat traders as a ‘local tradition’ when, in fact, it was only created less than a decade ago as a way to promote dog meat consumption in China…the ban seems to have been initiated by Mr. Mo Gong Ming, Yulin’s new party secretary, and it is set to come into force a week prior to the start of the festival. Typically, the mass dog slaughter for the festival begins on June 21, the summer solstice. Authorities are reportedly determined to enforce the ban, and violators can face fines of up to 100,000 yuan, or even incarceration.”
While the dog trade is far from over in China, this is a huge step in the right direction toward positive change.
We’ve all seen (and signed, I hope) the petitions going around Facebook every spring as we move closer to the time of year for the Yulin dog meat festival in China. We’ve seen the sad, gruesome pictures and videos of dehydrated and frightened dogs being ruthlessly slaughtered for trade at this seemingly horrific event that more than 50 percent of the Chinese do not support.
According to Humane Society International, more than 10 million dogs and four million cats are killed every year for human consumption in China, but increasingly, the practice has polarized the country.
The Yulin Festival, which is organized by private citizens and businesses, is not officially endorsed by the Chinese government, at either the local or national level. Even the local community’s support is mixed, with some enthusiastically welcoming visitors from out of town and others complaining that it gives their area a bad name.
The opposition to the dog meat trade is especially high amongst the younger generation. As the world becomes increasingly smaller thanks to the internet and social media, we see the effect of 11 million people signing a petition against something.
For me personally, all animals are equal—which is why I choose not to eat meat of any kind, but I fully understand that we live in a world where the same people who cry outrage over China’s dog meat trade go home and eat a cow for dinner.
In the West especially, we have a tendency to put domestic animals like dogs and cats on a higher plane of compassion than the animals we are raised to see as a food source. This is a very real element of social programming—one that I naturally broke out of as my empathic tendencies increased as I practiced yoga and meditation.
I grew to a point where I couldn’t stomach any meat, because it all had horrible energies of pain and suffering attached to it. Again, in my ideal world, all people would all honor all animals with the esteem they hold for their domestic pets—but I’m well aware that is not currently the world we live in. I accept that change must come slowly as the collective evolution grows.
Maybe China just sees this as a smart business move as they grow in world power and the world watches them more closely, or maybe they actually are softening their approach.
We may never know, but for today, we can celebrate with the dogs.
Author: Lindsay Carricarte
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina