(Photo credit: Animals Asia, used under CC BY-NC 2.0)
Mr Peng Qinghua
General Office of the People’s Government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
No.2 Minsheng Rd
Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
The People’s Republic of China
Dear Party Secretary Peng Qinghua,
We are writing on behalf of the Asia for Animals coalition, representing international organizations with extensive knowledge of animal welfare issues. We are deeply concerned about the pending event that features the mass consumption of dog meat in Yulin City on the 21st of June. This event, with or without local official endorsement, will surely arouse intense Chinese domestic and international opposition. Mass slaughter and consumption of dogs runs counter to the many positive recent changes on the Chinese mainland.
We urge you and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region government to take urgent action to prevent the event in recognition of the grave concerns for human health and safety, animal welfare, and the mental health of youth in Yulin and across the country that the festival poses, as outlined below.
Human health and safety:
The festival encourages the uncontrolled movement and unregulated slaughter of many thousands of dogs, posing a significant human health risk through the potential transmission of animal borne diseases, notably rabies, and toxins:
- There is mounting evidence of the role the trade in dogs destined for human consumption plays in rabies transmission, as it encourages the mass movement of dogs of unknown disease and vaccination status to be transported long distances, often between provinces, increasing the risk of the spread of the disease plus infection to handlers who are at a high risk of being bitten and scratched. Such mass and unregulated movements of dogs is in contravention to recommendations and guidelines by leading human and animal health experts, and, given the national government’s policy on rabies prevention and control, it could be interpreted as operating in breach of existing laws and regulations, and be construed as negligence. Furthermore, the presence of rabies-positive dogs sourced and traded for human consumption has already been demonstrated by studies that have revealed a high positive incidence of rabies-infected dogs in restaurants, slaughterhouses, and markets in China.
In view of China’s national plan to eliminate rabies by 2025, Guangxi’s rabies numbers, and the threat of Yulin’s mass dog consumption to sabotage this national goal, we urge Guangxi authorities to intervene and stop mass dog slaughter in Yulin.
- In addition, sick and diseased dogs are routinely slaughtered and sold for meat, as well as those who have been killed in a way that poses a grave, and potentially fatal, risk to consumers. We have read of evidence of sick and dying dogs arriving, and being sold, in Yulin. There are also mounting concerns regarding the sale of meat from poisoned dogs. In recent years, convictions of traders for selling poisonous dog meat have been widely reported. Poisons routinely used by unscrupulous traders, such as succinylcholine chloride, are highly toxic and experts have confirmed that humans can be poisoned by eating large amounts of this contaminated meat.
- In addition, with inadequate waste disposal systems in place to manage the intensive mass slaughter of dogs, the streets of Yulin flow with blood, faeces and other animal waste, presenting a serious risk to public health.
The theft of dogs by criminal gangs to supply the demand for dog meat is an ever-growing problem in China. The attacks on dog thieves indicate the potentially explosive nature of confrontations between dog owners and the dog meat industry, and demonstrate the societal cost of this cruel and illegal trade. By allowing the dog meat festival to continue, dog theft will go on and this could threaten social stability, aggravate existing social conflicts, and undermine the authority of the government and the credibility of state laws.
Animal suffering and societal impacts:
The unregulated transport, handling and slaughter of thousands of dogs will cause immense suffering. At previous festivals, eyewitnesses, local investigators and the media have reported crude and brutal forms of handling and slaughter, including bludgeoning and live-skinning, often in public view.
Whilst some defend the event as a local “folk custom”, the reality is that, regardless of its origin, it is profit-driven and undermines the national and public interest and safety, and promotes the illegal sourcing and trading of dogs, posing a serious risk to human health, public safety, societal stability, and animal welfare.
More people in China are keeping dogs as companions and family members. Yulin’s mass dog slaughter and mass dog consumption runs counter to this new development. The dog meat festival, besides angering the nation’s animal lovers, can also promote violence to nonhuman animals with its public display of dog carcasses and slaughter of dogs in the city’s residential neighborhoods. Slaughtering companion animals can inflict life-long and irreparable mental damage to the younger generation upon which the bloody scene is imposed.
Furthermore, the annual mass dog consumption event in Yulin risks damaging the reputation of Guangxi. For example, in June 2015, Yulin became once again the focus of domestic and international condemnation.
As international animal protection organizations that have always welcomed and supported animal welfare progress in China, on behalf of our members globally we respectfully urge the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region government to take immediate action to prohibit this event in the interest of public health, disease prevention, youth mental health, and the reputation of Guangxi and China.
Sent on behalf of the following organizations:
- Animal Guardians 动物守护者
- Animal People 动物公民
- Animals Asia Foundation 亚洲动物基金
- ACRES 动物关注研究和教育社团
- Blue Cross of India 印度蓝十字会
- Change for Animals Foundation 为动物改变基金会
- Earth Island Institute 地球岛屿协会
- Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations 印度动物保护组织联盟
- Humane Society International 美国国际人道对待动物协会
- International Animal Rescue 国际动物援救
- International Fund for Animal Welfare 国际爱护动物基金会
- Philippine Animal Welfare Society 菲律宾动物福利协会
- Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 英国皇家防止虐待动物协会
- Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Hong Kong 香港爱护动物协会
- Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Sarawak 沙捞越防止虐待动物协会
- World Animal Protection 世界动物保护协会
Mr Wang Yi 王毅
Minister of Foreign Affairs 中华人民共和国外交部
No. 2, Chaoyangmen Nandajie 朝阳门南大街2号
Chaoyang District 朝阳区
Mr Han Changfu 韩长赋
Minister of Agriculture 中华人民共和国农业部
No.11 Nongzhanguan Nanli 农展馆南里11号
Chaoyang District 朝阳区
Beijing, China 北京，中国
Mrs Li Bing 李斌
Minister of Public Health and Family Planning 中华人民共和国国家卫生和计划生育委员会
No 1 Xizhimen Outer South Road 西直门外南路1号
Xicheng District 西城区
Mr Bi Jingquan 毕井泉
Minister of the China Food and Drug Administrtaion 国家食品药品监督管理总局
26 Xuanwumen Xidajie 西城区宣武门西大街26号院2号楼