|Animal advocates protest against dog meat festival.|
Photo: screenshot from Weibo. I have not chosen a dog photo
as they are too disturbing.
However, it is more than that because gradually a section of Chinese society are beginning to discover the distasteful nature of eating dog and cat meat.
Up to 10,000 dogs are expected to be eaten during next weekend's festival. The festival is timed to coincide with the summer solstice and the dog meat is washed down with lychee wine.
Despite this being a long-standing tradition and widely accepted, the event, nowadays, is causing controversy within China. The actress Yang Mi made a plea on China's version of Twitter, Sina Weibo, to the government to ban the festival to which 72,000 people commented. You can see that it is a hot topic with very polarised viewpoints.
Dog lovers are bombarding some restauranteurs with threatening phone calls. One restauranteur mentioned that she was receiving up to 30 threatening phone calls per day. There have been attempts to free the dogs from their cages. Some protesters have been detained by the authorities. About 400 dogs were bought by animal advocates with money donated by animal lovers. These dogs have been resettled in Shangrao, Jiangxi province.
Some restaurants are responding to the pressure from animal advocates by substituting dog meat with donkey meat but it is unpopular with their customers as half of them refuse eat it and walk out.
The argument within China for eating dog meat is that they are stray dogs and therefore without an owner (although that need not necessarily be the case), therefore what difference is there between stray dogs and pigs (which no one complains about). The manager of one restaurant says “their protest doesn't make any sense".
I understand the argument for eating dog and cat meat. On the face of it there is little difference between a stray dog or cat and farm livestock. However, the counter argument is that there is a difference.
Farm livestock is reared to be consumed whereas the role of the cat and dog in all societies is primarily as a companion to their human caretaker - this is an un-written agreement because, let us not forget that, the domestic dog domesticated him/herself in a mutual understanding between the grey wolf and ourselves about 30,000 years ago. To kill the dog for human consumption is seen by some as reneging on an ancient agreement.
Article by Michael. Sources: Times and South China Morning Post