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up to 10,000 dogs will be slaughtered in a few days

Thousands of dogs will be slaughtered again this year during the Yulin Festival in China. Awareness is growing, but blood continues to smear the streets.

Like every year, also in 2022, coinciding with the summer solstice, one of the most cruel customs linked to the exploitation of animals began, the Yulin Festival in China (or Lychee and Dog Meat Festival), during which thousands of dogs are abused. brutally killed. Locked in cramped and overcrowded cages, beaten with sticks and slaughtered, boiled, skinned and sautéed still alive, under the terrified eyes of their comrades awaiting their turn. These are just some of the horrors consumed in this event which, though scaled down from years past, continues to exude blood, wails of excruciating pain and death. Even in defiance of the laws in force, which unscrupulous traders continue to circumvent to increase their profits.

Suffice to say that about 400 dogs of different breeds have just been rescued by the police from this terrible end, following a providential report from animal rights activists. The animals were kept in inhumane conditions inside a truck, piled on top of each other in tiny cages. Many were in a precarious state of health. The authorities, who now monitor the festival much more closely, intervened because of the potential epidemiological risk; the dogs were kidnapped and placed in quarantine. The latter is a mandatory step for all specimens that end up slaughtered despite themselves, but many traders do not respect it. The owners of the truck have relinquished “ownership” of the animals, which will be given up for adoption or returned to the owners. Activists believe they are guard or companion dogs abducted from businesses and private homes. It is in fact a consolidated practice for criminals who resell dogs intended for this and other manifestations related to meat consumption.

In fact, the Yulin Festival is just the tip of the iceberg of the dog meat trade in China and Asia. While during the infamous Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Festival, between 5 and 10,000 animals are killed (numbers in recent editions reduced), the estimate is around 30 million dogs slaughtered each year in various countries in Asia. , including China, Laos, Vietnam , Cambodia and others. In China alone, more than 10 million specimens have been killed, with consumption peaking in the summer. But this “culinary tradition” is increasingly contrary to the Chinese themselves, perpetuated by unscrupulous groups who only think of lining their pockets. In 2020, China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs declared that dogs are not “livestock” for human consumption, but rather pets. Several Chinese cities such as the metropolises of Shenzen and Zhuhai have introduced a ban on the consumption of dog and cat meat, moreover in various surveys the overwhelming majority of citizens say they do not eat these animals. “Dog meat consumption is supply-driven, market-driven, not consumer-driven. Dog slaughter in Yulin is commercial in nature, not cultural,” Peter Li of Humane Society International, an association committed to the forefront of human and animal rights protection, told the Guardian.

Although a decline in interest in these macabre parties began spontaneously a few years ago, a blow has been dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to closures and severe restrictions for the so-called markets. wet, wet markets where animals (domestic and wild) are rounded up alive, slaughtered and delivered to customers. It is precisely through the exchange of bodily fluids and exposure to infected animals that the spillover (the jump of species from animals to humans) of the viruses responsible for zoonoses is triggered. It is no coincidence that the COVID-19 pandemic would have started in one of these Chinese wet markets. Increased public awareness has led to a further decline in processed meat consumption in similar contexts. Moreover, as activist Davide Acito told, the cost of dog meat is also hampering consumption, which has risen from around 4 to 7 euros per kilo. But veterinary clinics have also multiplied, a sign of an effective change of mentality underway in the Chinese population.

Despite these advances and the commitment of activists around the world, who every year save the lives of many dogs destined for the slaughterhouse, the Yulin festival remains a harsh reality and many international associations are fighting for its definitive closure. Their initiative is also supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) which, in a joint statement last year Last, an end to the sale of live animals – especially mammals – in wet markets is demanded. Moreover, the condemnation of activists does not stop only at the horrors consumed in Asia, but is global: from the massacre of cetaceans in the Faroe Islands to the Gadhimai festival in Nepal, via the intensive breeding of livestock, where the rights and worthy animals are often crushed in the name of profit. Although the images are painful and frightening, showing the suffering of animals is important in raising awareness and ending these atrocities. Everywhere. We must not be indignant only for dogs, but for all species exploited by man.

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