Every year the now world (in)famous Yulin dog meat festival kicks off at the beginning of the summer solstice due to a traditional Chinese belief that eating dog meat helps the body cope with heat.
10,000 dogs are expected to be slaughtered at the controversial 10-day event.
While 10-20 million dogs are killed each year in China, the Yulin festival generally draws the most ire from animal rights activists and dog lovers.
Thankfully there are people like American activist Marc Ching, who has travelled to China so he can try to rescue as many dogs as possible from slaughterhouses across the region.
Ching and his companion Valarie Ianniello have reportedly saved 1000 dogs as of last night, according to his Facebook page.
The animal rights activist has travelled to China several times before and shut down slaughterhouses in places like Cambodia as well as facilities in Indonesia.
His methods include buying dogs from sellers and then shipping them back to the US for rehabilitation to persuading slaughterhouse owners to give up the trade. He's even managed to help people set up new businesses which says to me that these people are in it for the money, not the tradition.
Of course, there are those who don't want to see the dogs freed and have been violent towards Ching. He even claims to have been stopped and questioned by authorities on his way to Yulin. The same authorities who 'don't recognise the festival' but will stop anyone interfering with it... you tell me.
Ching isn't the only activist in town either. Chinese animal welfare activists have already clashed with dog meat vendors and Yulin locals.
According to various reports, fewer dogs have been killed this year and there is far less visible dog meat eating seen on the ground. Local authorities have also disassociated themselves from the festival but promoters still hold on to hope the festival's former 'glory' (if you can call it that) can be revived.
We hope for the sakes of the dogs that it doesn't.
Sometimes tradition can get in the way of society moving forward. This is one of those examples.
Words by George Pavlou
Featured image credit: Animal Hope and Wellness Instagram
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