Thoughts on China’s Yulin Dog Meat Festival


Meat-eating is still a common grotesque, cruel and unacceptable human habit.

In livestock farming, the butchering of animals is just the culmination of a process where living beings are deprived of most dimensions of life. These animals are stripped of the possibility to express themselves and rejoice. Each of them, bred in captivity for human sustenance or profit, are deprived of affections, whether they are a mother or baby. Animals are raised in ways that conflict with their behavioral needs, and often forced to live in cramped and unsanitary conditions. They can’t establish social ties or relate normally with their own kind. They are denied everything, and then finally deprived of life itself.

Animals like these chickens are farmed for human desires and in the process deprived of nearly every element of a natural animal life. Image credit Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals.

It is not always easy to think about this. It is much easier to believe in the rhetoric of animal welfare in farms – but the rhetoric makes no difference to the animals if it is not reality. However, there are moments in which the reality appears so evident. The Yulin festival is among these, like a mirror that reflects our deformed image. This Chinese festival during which dog meat is consumed ignites worldwide controversy. For those who share their lives with dogs, it is too upsetting to see the images of restrained, dead, or cooked dogs. The reaction of global public opinion to this festival is more than appropriate. It goes without saying that it is right to fight against a celebration of this kind.

Thanks to international pressure and mobilizations, together with protest and sensitization activities carried out by Chinese animal rights associations, there has been a decrease in the number of dogs killed at the Yulin festival in the last few years. The festival, furthermore, has made the public aware of the consumption of dog meat in many countries, such as the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and others.

This information is very worrying for the public and arouses great indignation. What we consider beloved pets are considered food halfway across the world.

Pigs in factory farms deserve the same consideration as dogs and all other living beings. Image credit Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals.

If for you, it is unthinkable that the death penalty is handed down to dogs, take your thinking one step further.

Look at the other side of the world, and then look here. What is being denied to each dog in Yulin is also being denied to every living being that ends up on our plates.

We should not stop reminding people that what is happening in Yulin is exactly the same as what is happening where we live to cows, chickens, pigs, rabbits, and other animals. Empathy and respect must go beyond boundaries of species. 

We condemn not only the Yulin festival and dog meat consumption, but also all kinds of violence against all animal species. 

Featured image: restrained dogs at the Yulin festival. Image via OIPA International.

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