Despite continuous outrage and protests, China will go ahead with its Dog Meat Festival as planned this week, which begins Friday.
The festival is an annual celebration that takes place in the Guangxi province. The event is considered an ancient summer solstice tradition by local residents who cherish the lychees and strong grain liquor stew.
"It's unfair to call Yulin people brutal only because we have this tradition to eat dog meat,” said Annie, a local resident. “People who call us uncivilized and cruel should stop eating meat first.”
Animal rights activists claim that dogs are transported and kept in inhumane conditions. Many dogs are also burned, electrocuted and skinned alive to be eaten. Pictures of the mistreatment can often be found online.
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Nearly 10,000 dogs are slaughtered each year for festival-goers, the meat of which some doctors believe can treat impotence and poor circulation. However, many of the dogs are taken in as strays from the streets without quarantine certificates, and some question the health effects of such a dish.
Many activists have attempted to appeal the Chinese and United States government, while others have taken to social media to voice their outrage.
"We have seen animals beaten just before being cooked," said Du Yufeng, founder of Chinese animal rights group Boai Small Animal Protection Center. “The more we inspect, the more cruelty we discover.”
Yufeng said the group will be sending representative to the festival in the hopes that they might reduce some cruelty, though much of the help will be on the surface.
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A number of other festivals were canceled in South Korea and the Zheijanh province of China in 2011 after activists efforts shut them down, though the Guangxi festival will continue as is tradition.