Chinese demand end to canine carvery festival

10-day dog-and-cat-meat festival an ‘embarassment’, say pet loving citizens

Dog and fence, mage via Shutterstock

A whopping 8 million Chinese citizens have called on Beijing to call time on the country’s infamous Yulin Lychee Dog Meat Festival, saying it was harming the country’s image abroad.

The 10-day festival begins this week, and an estimated 10,000 pooches – and a substantial side of cats – are set to be served up each day for the alleged delectation of tourists.

While the festival in Guangxi promotes itself as a manifestation of traditional cuisine, critics point out it is privately organised and has only been running since 2009.

The festival has long drawn fire from overseas-based pet lovers – something that has gotten up the nose of some local commentators, who point out the paradox between being squeamish about eating pets and being happy to scoff more conventional lifestock.

However, according to official news agency Xinhua, a poll shows that almost two-thirds of respondents in China want a ban on the Fido foodie fiesta. Just over half of respondents want a complete ban on the entire dog meat trade – and presumably that in felines too.

Xinhua reports that despite the frankly vast amount of canine carcasses allegedly served up over the course of the Yulin event, there is no dog- or cat-meat farming industry in the country.

The agency reported that Liu Lang, head of the Beijing Association of Small Animal Veterinary Medicine, claimed breeding dogs or cats for human consumption was simply uneconomic. While a pig reaches slaughter weight in three months, it took 12 months for a puppy or kitten to reach a reasonable pot size.

Rather, organised gangs have been stealing much-loved family pets, with animals being hijacked as much 1,000 miles away from Yulin.

Puzzlingly, according to the report, 69.5 per cent of respondents said they had never eaten dog meat – which leaves a chunky majority who either have or are simply unsure.

Which in itself is a concern. Yulin, despite being comparatively small at seven million people, features in China’s top 10 for cases of rabies in humans. ®

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