1.5 Million People Sign Petition To Ban China's Yulin Dog Meat Festival
The Yulin Dog Meat Festival returns today, which will see between 10,000 and 15,000 animals beaten, tortured and killed for their meat as part of the controversial event in China.
According to reports, the festival began in 2010, and prior to that, the country had no recognised tradition of the mass slaughter of dogs in the city.
But now, almost 1.5 million people have signed a petition set up by Care2 and Humane Society International to put an end to the 10-day festival.
Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International UK, said it was time to stop this cruel tradition.
She said: "The dog meat trade in China is first and foremost about crime and cruelty.
"The Yulin festival is one small but distressing example of an unspeakably cruel trade run by dog thieves and sellers who routinely steal pets in broad daylight using poison darts and rope nooses, defy public health and safety laws, and cause horrendous suffering, all for a meat that most people in China don't consume."
The petition has been delivered to the Chinese Embassy and has received the support of animal welfare groups and celebrities, who have demanded the festival be stopped.
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The RSPCA's head of international, Paul Littlefair, said that although the law in China is yet to be changed, there is growing opposition to the event and the group hopes to see an end to it soon.
He said: "The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is one of the high-profile reasons why the RSPCA is working closely with the Chinese authorities to help address animal cruelty.
Actress and national treasure Dame Judi Dench has also thrown her weight behind the campaign.
She said: "It fills me with sadness to think that the Yulin Dog Meat Festival is just around the corner again.
"I cannot imagine the suffering of those poor dogs, and I hope very much that one day soon this cruel trade will end."
Earlier this month, Chinese animal activists released footage taken from inside a backstreet dog slaughterhouse in Yulin just days before the start of the festival.
Activists in the clip managed to save 62 animals from certain death.
The Yulin Dog Meat Festival starts today and will run until Sunday 30 June.
Featured Image Credit: The Humane Society