BEIJING – Tens of thousands of Internet protests from all over the world and growing animal activism in China are credited with stopping the 2011 dog-meat festival which has been an annual tradition in Jinhua, China, since 1389.
During the three-day annual dog-meat “carnival,” in October, up to 10,000 dogs are killed and skinned in the streets of Qianxi township, located in Zhejiang’s eastern coastal province, reports China Daily.
Wang Yujing, an activist/micro-blogger who is a policeman in Jinhua, says, "I think the government canceled the festival mainly because they are under so much pressure of the netizens.”
The festival is a six-century gruesome commemoration of a local military victory by a Ming dynasty leader who was trying to capture Xinhua. It celebrates his decision to slaughter all the dogs so they wouldn't bark at night, alerting the enemy of the maneuvers of the invasion, according to Xinhua News agency.
According to the folklore, after the conquest, dog meat was served at the victory celebration feast and that began a tradition of local people “eating dog meat as a special snack during a temple fair held at a shrine for the emperor and his empress.” http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-09/21/c_131152295.htm
Chen Manhong, director of the Small Animal Protection Society Rescue in nearby Hangzhou, says, “True, it was part of our cultural history, but not all culture should be inherited.”
The ancient event was replaced by a modern commodity fair in the 1980's, but dog eating has been kept as a tradition. Vendors then began to butcher the dogs in public to show buyers the meat is fresh and not frozen or otherwise contaminated.
Junchangzai, a Weibo user who launched an on-line campaign denouncing the dog-meat event, stated, "The government's quick response should be encouraged. I hope eating dogs will not be a custom there anymore. It's not a carnival, but a massacre.” Xinhua News reports that Junchangzai’s posts were re-tweeted over 100,000 times.
Weibo.com, a popular micro-blogging site in China reported that a poll showed 91 percent of over 12,000 users said "No" to the carnival.
Qianjiang Evening News, a leading newspaper in Zhejiang, reported that a survey administered by the local government showed that most local villagers also oppose the carnival.
However, it also reported that some questioned the legitimacy of the ban on a folk custom.
“The government respects people's customs, but it should also guide their conduct,” said Zhang Jianhong, a township official.
Commenter dim mak on Chinasmack.com wrote: “There’s nothing wrong with eating dogs. If they’re farmed in an inhumane fashion, then go after the farmers. No need to ban dog meat altogether.”
Twitter-like micro-blogging sites, such as Sina Weibo, are credited with changing humane attitudes in China. Most recently the entire world cried and cheered for a group of activists who stopped traffic and rescued 430 stolen dogs being trucked to restaurants in China. http://www.opposingviews.com/i/activists-save-430-stolen-dogs-on-truck-to-restaurants-in-china
What do you think about slaughtering dogs for meat?