Dog meat lovers and animal rights activists face off at Yulin Festival – China’s latest society and culture news


A summary of the top news in Chinese society and culture for June 21, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

Despite rumors of a ban, the Lychee and Dog Meat Festival, also known as the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, starts on June 21 and is scheduled to last for 10 days. The festival takes place in Yulin, a city in southern Guangxi Province, and has drawn thousands of dog meat consumers every year since it was launched in 2009. It is estimated that in its first years, around 15,000 dogs and cats were killed and eaten during each festival, though the figures have dropped in recent years to around 10,000 because of widespread media coverage and ensuing worldwide condemnation.

Earlier this year, U.S. activists claimed that there was a ban on the sale of dog meat at the festival. However, city officials confirmed in May that a ban on all dog meat was not being considered, and that this year during the festival, vendors are not allowed to display more than two dead dogs each at their stands. According to the BBC, reports from Yulin said that there is a heavy police presence on the streets, largely due to animal rights activists’ attempts to rescue dogs and cats. Asian Correspondent reports that on the eve of this year’s festival, up to 1,000 dogs and cats were saved by activists.

Public opinion on the controversial festival is divided on the Chinese internet. What’s on Weibo has a roundup of 10 typical views from Chinese internet users, ranging from strong anti-festival comments like “I oppose the dog meat festival!” to sympathetic remarks in favor of dog meat vendors such as “Don’t rob people of their livelihood because of your love for dogs.”