Yulin Market Vendors Chop Up Rows Of Slaughtered Dogs Despite COVID-19
[/news/china/index.html China]'s notorious Yulin dog meat festival has opened 'as usual' despite the fact the country is still fighting the [/news/coronavirus/index.html coronavirus] pandemic, sources have said.
Horrifying videos supplied to MailOnline show market vendors chopping up rows of slaughtered dogs for customers without wearing face masks.
Another clip shows local diners flaunting social distancing rules to gather and enjoy dog meat on the side of a road.
Pictures supplied to MailOnline show butchered dogs being placed on the counter of market stalls in Yulin, China, as the city celebrated the summer solstice with the annual festival. 'This year's dog meat festival is the same as before,' said Du Yufeng, an animal rights campaigner
The annual 10-day dog meat festival celebrates the summer solstice and usually attracts thousands of visitors, many of whom buy dogs for the pot that are on display in cramped cages
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Yulin is situated in largely agricultural Guangxi Province in southern China.
The annual 10-day festival celebrates the summer solstice and usually attracts thousands of visitors, many of whom buy dogs for the pot that are on display in cramped cages.
'This year's dog meat festival is the same as before,' said Du Yufeng, a long-time Chinese animal rights campaigner who was in Yulin at the weekend with six other activists to protest against the event.
Ms Du said the city's major dog meat trading hub, the Dongkou Market, tour nam ninh was busy over the weekend, with 'butchers laying dogs in a row on the counters to chop'.
Activists said the city's major dog meat trading hub, the Dongkou Market, was busy.
They said they saw vendors chopping up rows of slaughtered dogs for customers without face masks
'One of our campaigners from Jiangsu (province) pretended to be a customer and asked one butcher if they had live dogs. The butcher said they had killed all the dogs at home, not here,' added Ms Du, who is the founder of Bo Ai Animal Protection Centre in Sichuan Province.
She criticised: 'This means to them, the local government did not even try to stop the dog meat festival because of the epidemic or warned people not to gather… They ignored the outbreak completely to pursue financial gains.'
Ms Du said her group were able to bypass police to snap pictures and videos because all the other six activists were first-time visitors to Yulin and their faces were not familiar to dog traders.
Therefore, Ms Du would wait in the car, and the others would go out to film the markets separately, she said.
'But we had to act very cautiously.
Once several of our campaigners gathered, dog traders would ask "what are you doing?"'
Another clip shows diners flaunting social distancing rules to gather and enjoy dog meat on the side of a road in Yulin to celebrate the summer solstice during the dog meat festival
She said police officers were stationed at the entrance of the city's 'dog meat street', but they did not stop people from gathering or eating dog meat.
Ms Du and the others also visited the Public Complaints and Proposals Administration of the Guangxi Province in the provincial capital Nanning and handed in a petition to demand officials ban the festival once for all.
She said she also discovered a market in Nanning where live dogs were crammed into filthy cages to be butchered on order.
'The epidemic is so serious, and people here are still gathering to eat dog meat.
Why are they still doing it and why the police are still allowing the locals to do it and even protecting them? These messages need to be heard,' Ms Du urged.
A picture supplied to MailOnline shows police officers patrolling outside Yulin's No.1 Crispy Dog Meat Restaurant during the festival. The restaurant bills itself as an 'internationally renowned' restaurant serving dishes made with 'healthy dogs carefully raised by farmers'
Ms tour du lịch nam ninh and other activists pose for a picture outside the Public Complaints and Proposals Administration of the Guangxi Province.
They visited the authority to urge it ban the festival
However, other accounts suggested that even though the festival was still holding this year, its size was smaller than before.
Restaurant workers involved in the week-long event, which they say started Sunday and has been renamed the 'Yulin Summer Solstice Festival', told AFP that attendance was down.
'The number of arriving customers has dropped a lot,' said a man surnamed Chen.
He said the dog meat restaurant where he works would open as normal this festival without any special events or pricing like in past years.
Some posts on the Chinese social network Weibo called for the festival to be cancelled entirely after COVID-19 and a recent fresh outbreak of the disease in Beijing linked to a wholesale food market.
'Is it not enough that (the festival) is infamous throughout the world?
Where will food safety become a reality... Stop this damn festival at once,' one user wrote.
Heart-breaking footage shows piles of dog carcasses being sold at a market in Yulin this month
According to insiders, most of Yulin's dog meat stalls and shops scattered around the city have relocated to one centralised area called Nanchao market ahead of the annual dog meat festival
The pictures and videos were taken after Beijing last month removed dogs from its official list of livestock.
Officials called for 'some traditional customs about dogs' to change in the country
China's central government last month signalled that it could ban canine meat from the dinner table after removing dogs from its official list of livestock.
However, the government is yet to issue an order to forbid the eating of dogs in the country.
The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs called for 'some traditional customs about dogs' to change in the country and stressed that dogs were 'companion, rescue and service animals'.
Two Chinese cities, Shenzhen and Zhuhai, have banned the eating of dogs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
In late February, China issued a temporary ban on all trade and consumption of wild animals - a practice believed responsible for the global crisis.
The annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival is one of the most controversial food festivals in China and sees thousands of dogs cruelly killed, skinned and cooked with blow-torches before being eaten by the locals.
The picture shows dog meat being served at the festival on June 21, 2017
A Chinese official said: 'With the progress of the times, humans' understanding of civilisation and dining habits have changed constantly.
Some traditional customs about dogs will change too.' A woman is pictured wearing a mask while carrying a dog in the street of Wuhan on Jan.22
Dog meat is traditionally believed to be good for the health in certain parts of China, but the habit has been in steady decline as more and tour du lịch nam ninh more affluent urban dwellers choose to keep the animals as pets.
The government is drawing up new laws to prohibit the wildlife trade and protect pets, and campaigners are hoping that this year will be the last time the festival is held.
'I do hope Yulin will change not only for the sake of the animals but also for the health and safety of its people,' said Peter Li, China policy specialist with the Humane Society International, an animal rights group.
'Allowing mass gatherings to trade in and consume dog meat in crowded markets and restaurants in the name of a festival poses a significant public health risk,' he said.
Zhang Qianqian, an animal rights activist who was in Yulin on Saturday, said it was only a matter of time before the dog-meat festival was banned.
'From what we understand from our conversations with meat sellers, leaders have said the consumption of dog meat won't be allowed in future,' she said.
'But banning dog-meat consumption is going to be hard and will take some time.'