Animals can often be harmed for cultural or traditional reasons, and many are now being questioned as to whether they hold a place in the modern world. The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is another which fits into our ‘Culture or Cruelty?’ section of RIGHT-tourism. Read more below, or click on the link above to sign the petition.
We write to urge you and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region government to cancel the “Dog-Meat Festival” to be held on June 21 in Yulin. As foreigners who have great respect for the Chinese people and Chinese civilization, we are saddened to learn that the Yulin “Dog-Meat Festival” still exists in a rapidly modernizing society. We believe that this event has no place in century. We oppose to the “festival” for the following five reasons:
First, China is the country with the second largest number of rabies cases in the world.
Yulin government itself admitted in 2007 that the city was one of the hardest hit by rabies outbreaks. According to a news report, 338 rabies cases were reported in Yulin between 2002 and 2006. All the infected people died from this disease. The annual economic cost to Yulin amounted to 6.67 million Yuan. Based on the toll the disease is taking on the health of the city’s residents, the authorities in Yulin should be doing everything they can to prevent rabies. Dogs transported for days in crowded conditions to Yulin and with compromised immunity system are known to be vulnerable to the spread of illnesses. Allowing the “Dog-Meat Festival” to continue is a sign of a lack of vigilance at the very least. Given the national government’s policy on rabies prevention and control, it might even be construed as wanton contempt and total negligence. In the interest of public health, disease prevention, and enforcing the national government’s policies, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region government should put an end to the event.
Second, the “Dog-Meat Festival” can potentially undermine social stability, aggravate existing social conflicts, and sabotage the Central Government’s efforts to build a harmonious society.
A significant number of the dogs sold on the market, according to Chinese activist investigations, are stolen household pets or the watch dogs of the rural families. The recent lynching of dog thieves by victims of the dog theft indicates the potentially explosive nature of confrontations between dog owners and the dog-meat industry. Frankly, the action by the villagers in Guangxi was a reaction to the fact that local law enforcement had long failed to protect the interest of the dog owners. Allowing the “Dog-Meat Festival” to continue is like endorsing dog theft, which supplies the dog-meat industry. It could seriously damage the authority of the government and the credibility of state laws. If dog theft continues, confrontations between dog owners and animal lovers and the dog-meat industry could intensify, potentially leading to mass unrest. For Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region government, a way to prevent such a situation from developing is to end the Yulin “Dog-Meat Festival.”
Third, the Yulin “Dog-Meat Festival” is a food safety danger.
Dogs sold on the market are sick and dying animals. They suffer from horrendous conditions during trans-provincial long-distance journeys. China does NOT have dog farms. There are no national or local standards to ensure the safety of dog-meat since dogs are not raised for food. Sick dogs can pass illnesses to humans in the course of transport, slaughter and food preparations. Contaminated dog-meat can also make the eaters sick. For sale in the market, there is also reportedly meat from poisoned dogs. Food safety is no small matter that the government can ignore. It is therefore imperative for Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region government to shut down the “Dog-Meat Festival” and prevent the onset of a SARS-like disease and mass deaths.
Fourth, the Yulin “Dog-Meat Festival” exposes young people to violence.
During the festival, the streets of Yulin flow with dog blood, since dogs are often slaughtered in public. Have the dog-meat dealers ever considered the reaction of the people who walk by? Have they ever considered the feelings of the young children who witness the brutality on their way to school? The wanton imposition of bloody scenes on the public can cause severe mental distress and psychological trauma to people, particularly school children. Studies have long shown that exposure to violence can desensitise youth and cause them to later commit acts of cruelty and abuse. Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region government and its official Women Federation are obligated to stand up and to protect the young people from being forced to witness this brutal spectacle.
Fifth, although the “Dog-Meat Festival” has been promoted as a local “folk custom,” it is not really a local culinary culture.
It is a commercial activity masquerading as a regional tradition. We have no interest in questioning an individual’s eating habit or food choices. But the promotion of a food that is illegally sourced and poses food safety concerns is not an issue of individual choice or individual rights. It is still less a matter of a local culinary culture. No culture or local custom is a defense of a practice that runs counter to human progress. Despite strong resistance, foot-binding, opium-smoking, and arranged marriage, the so-called Chinese traditional practices, were ended without jeopardising the Chinese culture. In fact, Chinese civilisation has since experienced a spirited rejuvenation. And, China’s pace of progress has not been slowed one bit. To glorify Chinese culture, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region government must eliminate outdated practices that represent forces of the past and that damage the reputation of the mainstream Chinese culture.
Finally, Guangxi has breathtaking natural beauty that attracts millions of domestic and international tourists.
The Yulin “Dog-Meat Festival” does not belong in this region.
In June 2013, the “festival” was condemned by more than 40,000 people around the world within a short span of a few days. The event has already tarnished the reputation of Guangxi and can possibly cause a negative repercussion in the tourism industry of the Autonomous Region. We appeal to you to act in the interest of public health, food safety, child welfare, and the reputation of Guangxi and China. Yulin “Dog-Meat Festival” is no regional “folk custom.” It is a business operation that undermines the national and public interest. Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region government is at a historical juncture.
The “Dog-Meat Festival” must end!
Click on the link above to sign the petition and to read the Chinese version of this story.
Click on RIGHTchoice in the tag cloud to find more petitions to sign.
Read our Culture not Cruelty article on the main RIGHT-tourism website.