ANIMAL GROUPS REPORT MIXED RESULTS AS DOG VENDORS FIGHT SALES BAN AT CHINA’S YULIN DOG MEAT FESTIVAL
16th June, 2017
BEIJING —Chinese animal campaigners have travelled to the city of Yulin to assess the impact of a ban on dog meat sales introduced by Yulin officials starting June 15th. Chinese animal activist Sean Long, a partner of Humane Society International, is monitoring the main dog meat market called Dongkou, as well as other locations around Yulin, and confirms that while some dog meat is still on sale, it is currently in much smaller volumes than has been witnessed in previous years. Dog vendors have reported that the Yulin authorities have been persuaded to make concessions to the vendors in the last few days, although other vendors are reducing their trade in anticipation of the ban being more robustly implemented in the coming days.
Sean Long said: “It doesn’t look like business as usual at Dongkou market in Yulin. It’s disappointing to see dog meat still on sale, but nothing like the amount we’ve seen in the past. Business was slow at the market with far fewer buyers. Some vendors we spoke with said they believed they were allowed to sell dog meat again, and hinted that some kind of concession had been gained from the authorities just in the last couple of days. However, other vendors expressed doubt that they would be allowed to continue selling dog meat for long and said that there was so much genuine uncertainty that they had decided not to order more dogs in case they can’t sell them.”
Humane Society International has campaigned for several years for an end to the Yulin dog meat festival, and is tackling the trade in dogs and cats for human consumption that takes place all year round and nationwide across China. HSI believes that while it is discouraging to see that Yulin authorities may be bowing to the interest of the dog meat traders, the impact the reported ban on sales of dog meat appears to be having on reducing sales is still a significant step in the right direction.
Dr Peter Li, Humane Society International’s China policy specialist, said: “It’s so easy to be disheartened because of course we all want to see a total and immediate end to the sale of dogs and dog meat at Yulin, and we want to see the authorities act decisively in the public interest. But we’ve always known that ending the dog meat festival at Yulin won’t be as simple as switching off a light. Instead, it’s lots of smaller victories that build toward the end goal. From our sources in Yulin, we have learned that the authorities were taking some actions such as sending inspectors to the market to enforce the sales restriction order and starting to stop inbound dog trucks.”
Nicola Beynon, Humane Society International Head of Campaigns in Australia, said: “We expected mixed reports at this stage of the dog meat ban coming into effect in Yulin, and we must remain hopeful given the reports of a reduction in dog meat sales. But of course our fight won’t be over until dog meat is prohibited at Yulin permanently. We shall monitor the situation in Yulin directly through our partner group activists further up to and during the “festival” on June 21st.”