Chinese woman pays $1,000 to save 100 dogs from being eaten at dog-meat festival

Published 26.06.2015 21:44
Updated 26.06.2015 21:48
emAFP Photo/em
AFP Photo

A 65-year-old Chinese woman has paid over $1,000 on Saturday to save 100 canines from being eaten during an annual dog-meat festival in China's southern city of Yulin.

The city holds an annual festival devoted to the animal's meat during the summer solstice, which has provoked an increasing backlash from animal protection activists.

One of the activists, Yang Xiaoyun, a retired teacher who runs an animal shelter in Tianjin, traveled more than 2,400 km (1,500 miles) and bought 100 canines for 7,000 yuan ($1,100 or €990) before they could be slaughtered and sold as meat.

Reports said that Yang, 65, plans to rehouse the dogs at her home nearly 2,000 kilometres (124 miles) away in Tianjin. Pictures posted online showed her browsing a market in Yulin where the dogs were kept in cages.

It is estimated that around 10,000 cats and dogs are being slaughtered during the festival as the majority of dog meat in China comes from stolen pets and strays, Hong Kong–based charity Animals Asia reported.

Locals have been quoted as saying that animals are killed in a humane way for the festival, where their meat is then served with lychees.

There has been international outcry about this year's festival after it was targeted by British Comedian Ricky Gervais, who posted a series of messages on Twitter with the hashtag "StopYuLin2015".

The city's government has tried to distance itself from the event.

"Some residents of Yulin have the habit of coming together to eat lychees and dog meat during the summer solstice," the city's news office wrote on Sina Weibo, a Chinese Twitter equivalent.

"The summer solstice lychee and dog meat festival' is a commercial term, the city has never (officially) organised a 'dog meat festival'," it added.
Eating dog is not illegal in China, but the government called on meat vendors to respect food safety laws.

"Yulin is an open, tolerant and civilised city," it said. "We welcome people across the world to pay attention to Yulin."

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