Animal rights activists delivered petitions with more than 11 million signature to the Yulin government office in Beijing Friday calling for the government to end the dog meat festival in Yulin which has drawn international attention.
There was a heavy police presence surrounding the activists which included dozens of different groups.
The festival in southwest China is internationally renowned and reviled by westerners. Dog meat is cooked in a celebratory festival which draws thousands of festival goers from across China. Dishes include stewed dog meat and dog meat cooked with lychees and strong liquor. The event is meant to celebrate the summer solstice among locals.
The festival this year takes place June 21.
Thousands of dogs are killed after being stolen as pets or as strays grabbed from the streets, according to animal rights group including Humane Society International, Vshine Animal Protection Society and Beijing Mothers Against Animal Cruelty.
Thousands of dogs are killed each year for the festival and in China, the groups estimate more than 10 million dogs are slaughtered for food across China every year.
“China’s dog meat trade is animal abuse and criminality on a massive scale, and a stain on China’s international reputation,” said Peter Li, China policy expert at Humane Society International.
“There’s no good reason for the Chinese government to tolerate this cruelty any longer.”
There are no animal welfare laws on the mainland but selling dog meat requires official sanitation certificates.
Animal rights activists reject the claim that the dog meat festival is a tradition, saying it was introduced in 2010 by dog traders to boost sales, and that the city had no previous history of mass dog slaughter and consumption.
Photo credit: Humane Society International