This week a festival is taking place in China. It is one that is being vehemently protested, as it should be, for this event is the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. In other words, it’s an event in which dog meat is on the menu. In preparation of this festival, dogs – reportedly around 10,000 – are slaughtered for their meat. The New York Daily News reports that the dogs are mostly pets that are stolen, transported in cramped cages and often beaten and tortured prior to slaughter, some while still wearing their collars. Allegedly 10 million dogs are killed for their meat annually, with 500,000 pounds of dog meat consumed each year, according to Humane Society International.
This is terribly heartbreaking, especially to dog lovers. One such dog lover, Ricky Gervais, is speaking out against the annual festival, which began in 2010. The actor is a huge supporter of animal rights, and has spoken out against the dog meat trade before. He is urging people join the campaign to shut down the dog and cat meat trade in China, which includes the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. Even though officials have denied that the festival will take place, the slaughtering of dogs will reportedly still occur. In a message asking supporters in favor of shutting down this practice to sign a petition directed to the Guangxi Party Secretary Peng Qinghua, Gervais wrote, “My friends at Humane Society International are working tirelessly to end this cruel trade all over Asia, and they desperately need your help. I’ve seen the footage that HSI has captured on video, and it breaks my heart. I will never forget the look of bewilderment and fear on the faces of these poor animals—the dogs and cats await a horrible fate. No animal deserves to be treated like this.”
Gervais has since shared the following photos on his Twitter page in hopes of shedding light on this practice and gaining more signatures on the petition, and posted the following:
I was really worried about tweeting those horrific pics from #YulinDogMeatFestival, but your compassion and support is heartwarming. Thanks.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) June 15, 2015
What some believe is a Chinese tradition, is not, and only represents a small subculture in the country and has become quite controversial there as well as internationally. As HIS’s China Specialist Peter Li said, “I often hear people say that we shouldn’t interfere with tradition, but it isn’t Chinese tradition to brutalise animals in this way. Eating dog meat hasn’t been considered fashionable or decent in China for more than a thousand years. I was brought up in China, and like thousands of my fellow Chinese, I utterly reject the dog and cat meat trade and welcome the international attention it receives. Culture must never be allowed to be an excuse for cruelty to people or animals, and it is heartening to see so many young and passionate Chinese citizens challenging the old attitudes towards animals. The Yulin authorities would be advised to listen and shut down this event.”
Previous dog meat festivals have been shut down and some animals’ lives have been saved from this cruel fate, so there is still hope. The petition has over 2.6 million signatures already. Help them reach 3 million by signing it at Change.org.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) June 18, 2015
With a little luck and effort this practice will end in our lifetimes.