In the U.S., dogs and cats are considered pets and beloved companions and as such, we would never support the practice of killing and eating them. We have designated animals like cows and chickens for consumption, despite the fact that they are just as intelligent and capable of comprehending their pain, but for some reason we elevate our pets to escape the fate of being food. While all animals deserve the chance to live happy, long lives free from human use and exploitation, in some countries dogs and cats are consumed just as readily as farm animals.
The practice of eating dog meat in China has garnered international attention with the rise of the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in recent years. Started in 2010, this festival is meant to ring in the summer solstice by promoting the consumption of dog meat which is thought to have “warming” and auspicious properties. Despite the fact that cultural attitudes towards eating dog are changing for the better in China and across Asia, this cruel festival has been able to persist for the past five years in Yulin.
The year’s festival gained a remarkable amount of attention – and opposition – as animal rights organizations, individuals, and celebrities like Ricky Gervais. all spoke out to encourage the Yulin government to ban the festival outright. While the festival was not abated this year, many kind people stepped in to rescue dogs from this terrible fate. Yang Xiaoyun is one of these amazing people.
Xiaoyun traveled to the Yulin meat markets with the goal of purchasing as many dogs as she could and managed to rescue 100 by paying over $1,000 to dog meat vendors. She plans to bring all of the dogs to come live with her at her home in Tianjin, over 1,200 miles from Yulin.
This kind woman’s efforts to rescue so many dogs from a tragic and untimely end is a true testament to the power of compassion. By daring to challenge practices and traditions (even if they’re only five years old…) that cause the suffering of others, we can make a real change for the benefit of animals.
A big thank you to Yang Xiaoyun and all the other people who helped to save dogs from the Yulin festival! Hopefully, one day soon this sick event will no longer exist.