The Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China launched with full force this past week, despite rampant opposition from animal rights organizations across the world. The festival is a long held tradition in which participants eat dog meat and lychees to mark the summer solstice. As of yet, China has no animal cruelty laws and the consumption of cat and dog is perfectly legal.

In recent years, the festival has not only gained opposition from animal rights advocates, but from many Chinese pet-owners and animal lovers who simply don’t support the continuation of the tradition. While the thought of eating dog would turn any Western stomach, the traditional roots of this festival have established a sort of social dichotomy that separates “dogs for eating” from pets.

Though this acts as a justification for the festival, it is clear that participants are becoming increasingly aware that their traditions are no longer tolerated in modern times. To “thwart” animal rights advocates, the festival began a few days before the solstice and all shops removed “dog” signs from their store fronts and menus.

The government of Yulin usually supports the festival, however, this year, according to the New York Times, they have distanced themselves from the event and have even proactively barred four restaurants from serving dog. In addition, 17 restaurants stopped selling dog meat. While this is not the definitive END to the festival that animal advocates had hoped for, it is certainly showing signs of stalling.

Animal rights advocates successfully purchased 200 dogs that were for sale on the market and have likely saved many more as the stigma against the festival grows increasingly. You can join animal advocates in seeing this festival come to a halt (and hopefully not occur next year!) by signing this petition and supporting the ongoing efforts of Humane Society International to put an end to this cruel tradition.

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