By Chantelle Leach
Today is the 21st June, the start of the Yulin Meat festival.
Yulin (literal translation: Jade Forest) is in the Guangxi Zhuang region of China, the place where this festival is held. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, the Yulin Festival is a dog meat festival.
10,000 dogs will be killed over the next 10 days, and without going into too much detail, I’ll explain what happens to them.
They are not just slaughtered routinely as we would imagine a farm animal to be killed. They are boiled within an inch of their life, skinned alive, beaten almost to death, and then eventually killed. It is believed that the more tortured the animal is, the tastier the flesh is considered to eat. So, keeping the animal alive for as long as possible, even after being beaten, boiled and skinned alive, is more appealing to the consumer. They eat these dogs and cats for ‘health reasons’.
Contrary to the popular belief that Yulin is an ancient tradition that we should not interfere with, the festival has been running for 10 years, and 10 years only. In my books, this is not tradition.
To clear up any prejudice, and to get an understanding of why this festival is still allowed to continue, it is important to understand that China currently has no animal protection laws. Therefore, despite our protests, what these dog meat farms do is not illegal. There are also many people in China that do NOT support this festival, and some of these dogs used as meat in the festival are loved and cherished family pets that have been stolen from their homes. To add to this, China is not the only country that consumes dog (and cat) meat and treats these animals in such an appalling manner. In fact, dog and cat meat is consumed all year round in many countries.
But is it okay to feel bad for the dogs and cats, more than any other animals (and their secretions) that non-vegans consume? My personal belief is no, it is not.
My reasons for going vegan were:
- I had chickens in my back garden that I considered pets, so why would I eat them and not my dogs? Why are these chickens any different to the dogs China are consuming?
- The dairy industry and egg industry also treat animals in an appalling manner, and if anything, prolong the suffering of the animals in their ‘care’.
A simple google search will allow you to watch CCTV footage from slaughter houses. You can research personal accounts from slaughter house workers about their time working in the industry. You can find footage of the process those farm animals go through, from the farm they were bred on, to their painful transportation, to their death. ANY animal that is to be consumed as food is seen as a money-making commodity. They are not respected, they are not loved like a family pet; they are forced to suffer. Farm animals are tortured, they feel pain, they feel fear. Farm animals mourn the loss of their babies when they are taken away to be bred as veal, or simply slaughtered because they are ‘surplus to requirement’. The RSPCA do not intervene however with these abuse cases, as farm animals are seen as working animals, so different rules apply to them.
Like dogs or cats, farm animals are sentient beings, and they do feel pain. Anything with a central nervous system (meaning anything that consists of a brain and spinal cord), can feel pain.
China consumes these dogs because they believe it is good for their health, just like the rest of the world consumes other animal products because they have been led to believe they need to. Why, therefore, are China wrong in their beliefs, yet people that consume the flesh of any other animal are right in doing so? Because some people enjoy the taste of dog, and some people enjoy the taste of bacon…right?
There are campaigns such as Soi Dog and petitions in progress to stop Yulin, follow these links to find out how you can help: