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Despite Protests, China's Dog Meat Festival Goes Ahead as Scheduled

Amid pressure from animal rights activists, China’s southern city of Yulin commenced its 10-day dog meat festival on June 21.

However though the festival, which is celebrated by dozens of local shops and market vendors, went ahead as scheduled, its existence has become a bone of contention between restaurateurs and animal rights groups, reports Channel News Asia.

Opposition to the festival from animal welfare groups began as early as two years ago and has since gathered millions of supporters from all over the world. On, groups opposing the festival inspired 33 petitions in various languages, all condemning the event for its treatment of dogs.

Earlier this month, local activists submitted to Beijing authorities a petition with nearly 3 million signatures protesting the festival's cruelty. However the effort was futile as the government denied involvement, claiming the responsibility lies with private businesses organizing the event, reports Nature Wonder News.

The Yulin government did not react to the petition but required vendors in the city to cover up their sign boards. "Recently, authorities have frequently asked to check the licenses of these restaurants and vendors, including their food sanitation permits and business licenses," Li, a restaurant owner, told Global Times.

Due to the protests of past festivals, this year many restaurants and vendors have covered up the Chinese character for “dog” on their signage. Zhou, a dog meat seller from the city’s Dongkou Market, told the Global Times she just wanted to “avoid troubles”.

Yulin’s dog meat festival began in the 1990s, celebrating the summer solstice each year. Initially, only locals bought dog meat, but in recent years many people from neighboring provinces have joined in to taste the local delicacy.

[Photo via Flickr user Animals Asia]

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