Traders have gathered for China’s annual dog meat festival celebrating the summer solstice, where an estimated 10,000 dogs will be slaughtered.
Despite international condemnation, the event will go ahead tomorrow and pictures from Yulin marketplace are already heartbreaking.
The ‘festival’, held every June 21, sees truckloads of dogs as well as cats caged in squalid conditions before they are clubbed to death and sold for meat.
Many of the animals are stolen pets, still wearing their collars.
It is said to be ‘tradition’ – but there is a growing swell of opposition within China itself as more and more people come to consider dogs as friends and companions, rather than livestock.
Yu Hongmei, director of the VShine Animal Protection Association, said China needs to follow the example of the vast majority of developed nations that have banned eating dog and cat.
‘China needs to progress with the times,’ Yu said. ‘Preventing cruelty to animals is the sign of a mature, civilized society.’
But despite the practice labelled an ’embarrassment’ that fuels extreme cruelty as well as unhygienic food handling, Yulin festival is still going ahead.
Here are some of the photographs from today as vendors arrive.
Cats are for sale as well as dogs
There are many different breeds on display
Some of the animals are still puppies
They are kept in cramped, dirty conditions
An estimated 10 million dogs are killed for their meat each year in China
The trade can be lucrative. Many people believe it’s tradition to eat dog during the solstice
Some of the dogs are transported for thousands of miles to get to Yulin, often in extreme heat.
They are stuffed into wire cages where they can barely move and often arrive injured, ill or even dead.
Animals Asia has launched an open letter against Yulin which has been signed by more than 200,000 people.
The letter in full
Open letter from Animals Asia to the dog meat traders of Yulin:
Please end the Yulin dog meat festival, which has seen the theft and slaughter of an estimated 50,000 dogs since it started.
Please stop the illegal capture and torture of dogs, and please protect consumers from meat that comes from diseased and poisoned dogs.
China is making great strides in animal welfare, but we believe this event is a stain on Yulin and the dog meat trade is a stain on the entire nation.
We urge you to cancel the upcoming festival on June 21 and to abandon the illegal dog meat trade altogether.