Yulin’s annual dog meat festival kicked off on June 21 with animal rights activists voicing their opposition, and locals and visitors saying celebrations are low-key this year.
But at a popular morning market, it was business as usual as vendors had dog meat on display for customers to choose.
“They are a lot, a lot of people who like (eating dog meat). It’s your habit, it’s my habit,” said Zhou, a dog meat vendor.
Many restaurants did not have the Chinese word for “dog meat” on display.
“Why won’t they (let us openly celebrate the festival)? The city government came out and told (the vendors) not to let restaurant owners sell (dog meat). The city government is always (handling this issue) this way. If there was no city government to mess with them then they of course could let the meat out,” said Ms. Min, a Yulin resident.
Animal activists were doing their best to save dogs from the pot.
“Dogs are man’s best, the most loyal friend. How could we eat our friends? You tell me,” said Yang Yuhua, an animal rights activist who flew from south-western Chongqing to purchase dogs sold at this year’s festival.
Yang spent over 1,000 yuan ($151.5) to buy two caged dogs at the market from the vendor.
A petition has been organized to ask Chinese leader Xi Jinping to stop the festival. Animal welfare NGO Humane Society International organized a petition last year against the festival which has garnered over 11 million signatures.