YuLin's Festival of Terror
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Festivals can conjure up sublimely joyous and magical affairs, often creating a common history, a common hope, binding people together, making them happy. A carnivalesque atmosphere, an expression of place, with food, music, parades, among other enchantments, can offer attendees preternatural delights.
And then there is the annual YuLin Dog Meat Festival, in China, which is more massacre than merrymaking—it's a grisly, cruel, unhappy, nightmarish event, where dogs are still alarmingly alive while being butchered for dog meat hotpot.
Every June comes the city's Summer Solstice Lychee Dog Meat Festival, held this year on the 21st, in southern China’s Guangxi province, where the practice of slaughtering over 10,000 dogs in ten days is ritualized, mythologized, and celebrated, but by whom? Scores of Chinese citizens will stay away in droves as the dogs, many of whom are beloved companions illegally abducted from their families, as well as stray dogs, are captured and transported unbearably long distances, in vile conditions that contribute to the spread of disease, to this Festival of Death. The powerless prey in this deadly extermination are burned, bludgeoned, beaten to death with sticks, electrocuted, or have their throats slit, and many are killed in public and in front of other dogs, awaiting their own terrifying end. The streets are soaked in blood.
Aside from the immense suffering of the dogs, there is the catastrophic threat of transmitting rabies to humans, a prevalent problem in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region—China has the second largest number of rabies cases in the world. It has been documented that 338 rabies cases were reported in YuLin, between 2002 and 2006, and all of those infected with the disease perished. Unlike South Korea, China does not commercially farm dogs for their meat, so the dog meat trade relies heavily upon rounding up animal companions and strays, and to prevent escape, poisoning them, which can lead to potentially dire consequences of a SARS-like public health disaster. The virus that caused SARS—mutated coronavirus—in Guangdung, China, in 2012, is assumed to have originated from dogs and cats living in appalling conditions, where the spread of disease is rampant. It was only last month that eleven thieves were sent to prison for selling poisoned dog meat, on the charges of selling hazardous food substances, in the central province of Hunan. The members of the gang had killed about 1,000 dogs using darts that were dipped in a highly toxic chemical—succinylcholine chloride—and later they stored the meat in a freezer.
One of the most explosive stories to come out of China was when two dog thieves were caught taking a villager’s dog in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to sell to a restaurant. The man whose dog was taken incited fellow villagers to set upon the two, dragging them from their car, and beating them to a pulp with bricks and bats. According to the police report, the thieves would drive into small villages, look for dogs left alone, throw at them a piece of drugged meat, and, after a time, they would round the dogs up, kill them by hitting them over the head, and then dump them into the back of the car. After the thieves were apprehended, several drugged and dead dogs were found in their car. There was so much fury among the villagers that even when law enforcement showed up, they refused to let them go. Only when the families of the two offered apologies and compensation for their murdered companions, did the situation become resolved.
While the dog meat traders are busy promoting "The Summer Solstice Lychee Dog Meat Festival" as a long-standing tradition, a comforting link to the past, expressive of the personality and identity of the region, in fact, it represents nothing less than the illegal sourcing and slaughtering of dogs, many of them belonging to families, and causing a grave risk to dogs, human health and safety.
Please join a global-wide effort to cancel the Festival.
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