Thousands of dogs are slated to be eaten at an annual 10-day Chinese festival slated to begin tomorrow.
Activists calling the event a “public health hazard” are still hoping a last-minute appeal to the country’s government to intervene will result in a reprieve for up to 5,000 animals.
But long before the trial began, vendors were photographed selling slaughtered puppies in Yulin, Guangxi Province.
Local activists found eight stalls in Dongkou Market and another 18 in Nanqiao Market in late May, Humane Society International said.
Officials claim there are checkpoints on highways to stop arriving trucks carrying dogs, but local activists insist the vehicles still get through, according to HSI.
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The world continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, which is believed to have started over 18 months ago in a wet animal market in Wuhan.
Local activist Xiong Hu said, “Stopping arriving dog trucks should have been a top priority for Guangxi officials due to disease risks and animal cruelty.
“In the past few weeks, truck after truck with sick and dying dogs have come to Yulin, and the local authorities are simply doing nothing to prevent this.
“After everything China has been through with Covid-19, you’d think national and regional governments would crack down on the illegal and dirty dog meat trade to stop the public health risks posed by this unnecessary trade.”
A petition launched by the country’s largest animal welfare groups calling for action against the festival and dog meat trade has been sent to China’s Minister of Health and Agriculture, as well as the Guangxi Party Secretary and the Mayor of Yulin.
Meanwhile, Dr. Peter Li, HSI’s animal welfare policy expert in China, on the country’s progress after Shenzhen and Zhuhai became the first mainland cities to ban the sale and consumption of dog and cat meat.
But he warned: “This trade can be a ticking time bomb for zoonoses” [diseases that can pass from animals to humans] and epidemic outbreaks.
“The public health and safety of China’s 1.4 billion people can never be judged under the interest of the small number of dog meat dealers.”