The thought of eating dog meat is abhorrent in the United States. We consider dogs to be our pets, friends, and family members, not food. However, this is not the case everywhere.
According to Humane Society International (HSI), around 10 million dogs are killed in China for consumption every year and some 10,000 are killed in celebration of the Yulin Dog Meat Festival that happens in June to bring in the summer. While the Yulin festival mascarades as a “tradition,” the reality is that this “celebration” only began in 2010. Consuming dog is a practice that has persisted throughout Asia for hundreds of years, however, according to HSI’s China Specialist Peter Li, “Eating dog meat hasn’t been considered fashionable or decent in China for more than a thousand years.” Yet, thousands of dogs are still being slaughtered.
If anyone knows how to get people’s attention, it is Ricky Gervais.
As an avid animal right activist and all around awesome Green Monster, Gervais has joined HSI in their campaign to shut down the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. To celebrate his support, HSI has named one of the dogs they managed to rescue from slaughter “Little Ricky.”
“Little ‘Ricky’ and his pals were next in line for killing, until HSI stepped in,” Gervais explains in a press release. “One of the cats was so frightened that she climbed the wall of her cage to try to escape. I cannot imagine anything so dreadful happening to my cat Ollie — I would do anything to protect her. Little Ricky and his pals are the lucky ones. They’re now safe thanks to HSI, but thousands of others won’t be saved unless we do more to stop this.”
Thousands of people have spoken out against the festival, but many more are needed to send the definitive message to the Yulin government that this cruel celebration needs to end. HSI has launched a petition to China’s Guangxi Party Secretary, Peng Qinghua, in the hopes that this year the government will intervene and end the suffering of hundreds of thousands of dogs.
“I want you to know I have hope,” Gervais stated, “HSI is at the forefront of saving animals from the butcher’s knife, lobbying to get Yulin and other dog meat markets closed for good. And they’re making progress. HSI managed to save the lives of two dogs and two cats who looked as though they’d given up all hope of rescue.”
We all have the chance to make a difference for the sake of these animals and put an end to an unjustifiable cruel “tradition.” Using his fame and very distinct voice to spread awareness about the cruelty in the dog meat industry, Gervais has undoubtedly helped to save countless dogs from this horrific fate. You can join him in standing up for dogs in the meat trade by signing HSI’s petition and sharing it with everyone you know. These dogs don’t have a voice, so it is up to us to speak for them.