Simon Cowell has expressed his outrage over the annual Yulin Dog and Cat Meat festival, and begged his followers to end the sick tradition. “But for individual cases, like people eating dogs in certain areas, it’s not a custom”, said Qin Xiaona, President of the Capital Animal Welfare Association.
A number of activists have taken to rescuing dogs that would otherwise be slaughtered by buying them for the vendors, something of which the vendors have also been quick to take advantage to their benefit.
The annual dog meat festival in Yulin, China went on despite a major online campaign to put a stop to the highly controversial event. Dog lover Yang Xiaoyun traveled from her hometown, Tianjin, in northern China to Yulin and spent about 7,000 Yuan ($1,150) over the weekend buying up 100 dogs at a market to save them, according to the news website163.com.
In June previous year, the Yulin city government washed its hands of the controversy, issuing an announcement stating that the consumption of dog meat was a private practice and that the festival had never been sponsored by the local authorities.
However, those in the dog meat business have defended their trade, arguing that it is no different than eating any other animal.
Adam Parascandola, director of animal protection and crisis response at the Washington D.C.-based charity Humane Society worldwide, said he and Chinese activists had witnessed dogs being maltreated in a Yulin slaughterhouse on Sunday morning. Most of the dogs caged and scheduled to be butchered at the event were reportedly stolen pets. The local Yulin government distances itself from the event, and tighter regulations about killing dogs in public have led to slaughterhouses being relocated to inconspicuous locations.
Ms. Xiaoyun, a retired school teacher, has been rescuing stray animals since 1995 and is estimated to house around 1,500 dogs and 200 cats in her shelter “Common Home For All”.
Dogs are not the only animal being captured. This year, Yulin faced heavy celebrity activism, particularly on Twitter, where opponents of the festival posted photos highlighting dogs being burned alive, cut limb from limb, skinned alive, and placed in very small cages in large numbers using the hashtag #StopYulin2015.