The event is also known as the Lychee and Dog Meat Festival and sees the beloved animals killed in sheer brutality, with many cooked alive in the June 21 10-day festival. Many dogs from nearby houses have been stolen and killed at the event. The event has been condemned worldwide, with many British and American celebrities as well as activists such as PETA demanding it be banned.
Comedian Ricky Gervais is one of the most vocal figures and has often voiced his outrage on the event.
He previously said: “Please help stop the #YulinDogMeatFestival.
“They believe torturing the dog makes the meat tastier. They beat them, burn them, skin and boil them alive!
“They steal people’s pets to torture and eat. What would you do to someone who you caught torturing your dog?
“I hope you’d stop them somehow.”
The Yulin dog meat festival is held every year to mark the summer solstice.
The annual ten-day event began in 2009 and it is believed between 10,000 and 15,000 dogs are slaughtered for the festival.
Activists say the dog meat trade is inhumane and unhygienic, pointing to videos of dogs caught with wire lassos, transported in tiny cages and slaughtered with metal rods. Dog meat is a traditional food in some areas of southern China, where it is believed to be good for the body in warm weather.
Yulin resident Wang Yue told Reuters: “Yulin’s so-called lychee and dog meat festival is just a popular custom of ours. Popular customs themselves cannot be right or wrong.
“Those scenes of bloody dog slaughter that you see online, I want to say that the killing of any animal will be bloody. I hope people can look at this objectively.”
People in the southern city of China defend eating the meat as it is a way to celebrate the summer solstice.
Calls from animal lovers to boycott or cancel the festival provoked a defence of local tradition and accusations that activists were disturbing public order.
A PETA spokeswoman said: “The Yulin dog-meat festival is condemned internationally and by many people in China itself these days because, for most of us, the idea of killing, cooking and eating dogs – animals we know and love – is revolting.”