An incredible new regulation has just been passed in China that will help put an end to the Yulin Festival, hopefully forever.[caption id="attachment_21342" align="alignnone" width="819"]
A woman arriving with dogs to sell at the Yulin Market. Source: AP Photo/Andy Wong[/caption]The Yulin Festival is an annual event, which seven years ago started to include the sale of dog and cat meat to boost sales for meat merchants. Tens of thousands of these animals are killed every year during the summer festival.Many of them are strays or stolen pets. Some have been seen still wearing their collars from their previous owners.But a ban has been put in place by the city's government which will prohibit the sale of dog meat, and vendors will risk arrest and a fine of 100,000 yen ($15,000).
Source: Reuters/Kim Kyung Hoon
The new law will go into effect June 15, one week before the event is scheduled to take place.New government leadership is looking to change the image of the festival, which for years has drawn angst and protests from people around the world.Wendy Higgins, director of international media for Humane Society International, toldThe Dodo:
We have had confirmation from Yulin on the ground from several different sources who tell us that the traders have been made aware of the order, and that it follows the new party boss's desire to convert the city into a ‘city of culture and civilization.'
Activists have been working tirelessly over the years to save as many of the animals as possible, and it seems officials are finally getting the message.
Source: AFP/Getty Images
It's possible that this ban might only be temporary, but animal advocates hope that this will create a movement that will continue. Andrea A. Gung, executive director of theDuo Animal Welfare Project, said in a press release:
Even if this is a temporary ban, we hope this will have a domino effect, leading to the collapse of the dog meat trade. I have visited Yulin many times in the last two years. This ban is consistent with my experience that Yulin and the rest of the country are changing for the better.
Most of the Chinese population don't actually eat dog meat. Instead this is a greedy ploy by meat vendors trying to make some extra cash. The pressure from locals and the negative press from around the world no doubt helped make this change.
Source: Reuters/Kim Kyung Hoon
The important thing to watch for in the upcoming months, and during the festival itself, is an enforcement of this ban, although the strict punishment makes it seem like the government is taking it seriously, according to Higgins.
It would be naive to declare this an end to the Yulin festival, we're not there yet ... However, as milestone victories go, this is a pretty significant one.
Luckily, in South Korea and China, the number of citizens who eat dog meat is on the decline. But the fight does not end here - we need to keep on campaigning until the trade is outlawed completely. LCA has made incredible progress in the fight against this horrifying industry. You can help support their vital work by making a donation.To sign the petition to end the slaughter of thousands of innocent dogs and cats, click here.
H/t: The Dodo
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