China’s Dog Meat Festival Banned, But Restaurants Say “What Ban?”

During the Yulin festival, the dogs are killed in brutal conditions, with the animals beaten and boiled alive.

2 min read
Dogs are slaughtered for Yulin’s dog meat festival to mark the summer solstice. (Photo: AP Screengrab)

Animal rights groups say dog meat has been banned during the controversial Yulin Dog Meat festival in China, but local restaurants claim they haven't heard anything about the purported prohibition.

The celebration in the southwestern town of Yulin has long drawn international criticism although eating dogs is not illegal in China. Due to widespread international opposition, this year authorities have prohibited sales of butchered canines which are often stolen pets, the Humane Society International (HSI) said.

Officials also plan to fine vendors up to 100,000 yuan ($14,500) for selling dog meat during the summer solstice event, HSI China policy expert Peter Li said in a statement on Thursday.

Around 10,000 to 15,000 dogs are consumed during the 10-day long festival, where dogs are paraded in wooden crates and metal cages and then taken to be skinned and cooked.

The dogs are killed in conditions activists describe as brutal, with dogs beaten and boiled alive in the belief that the more terrified they are, the tastier the meat.

But restaurant owners contacted by AFP on Friday said they had not been told about the temporary ban.

“Our restaurant is open as usual. We haven’t heard of a dog meat ban,” an employee of the Longmen restaurant said. An employee at Feilao restaurant said: “We don’t know about the ban. We are open every day.”

Even a city government official claimed to be unaware of the prohibition. But HSI said it had confirmed the ban with sellers at the city's main dog meat market.

A Chinese animal rights activist, who asked not to be named, said she had also been told that sales of dog meat would be outlawed during the event.

Dog meat sellers have said previously that outcry over the festival had actually attracted greater attention to the celebration and encouraged more people to eat canines.

Dogs are eaten year round in Yulin, as in many parts of southern China.

(With inputs from PTI)

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