An annual dog-eating festival in China has sparked outrage worldwide, with thousands on social media demanding for the event to be banned.
About 10,000 dogs, and some cats, are expected to be cooked and eaten during Yulin’s solstice festival, due to take place this year on June 21.
The hashtag #StopYulin2015 is gaining traction on Twitter as outrage over the festival intensifies, particularly in the USA, UK and Australia.
Please do all you can to help #StopYulin2015 - a barbaric dog meat festival scheduled to take place in China later this month.
— Tony Parsons (@TonyParsonsUK) June 2, 2015
The illegal dog meat festival that nobody is stopping http://t.co/w67m4qyx43
— maura (@MpellegriniM) June 4, 2015
A petition, by the Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project, demanding for it to be banned has attracted over 205,000 signatures.
Heart-wrenching pictures and videos showing the animals kept in cramped cages, beaten, malnourished and even boiled alive, are being posted online.
Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project estimates that 90 per cent of the dogs slaughtered in the festival have been stolen and that banning the festival would take away the monetary incentive to thieves.
“[Dogs] are stolen from urban households and farmers, many of the dogs are still wearing collars and even dressed in outfits that their owners had them dressed in the day they were stolen,” a campaign video claims.
Many of the animals are beaten to death or skinned alive while others die of shock and dehydration while crammed in cages with no room to move, the activists say.
While it is not illegal for dogs and cats to be eaten in China, there are strict rules requiring health certificates when transporting animals.
The festival is said to be part of the region’s local culinary culture but Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project say that it is “a commercial activity masquerading as a regional tradition”.