WARNING: This article is of a sensitive nature and contains graphic content.
The Yulin (玉林) Dog Meat Festival in China has been met with a great deal of opposition from animal rights activist and others across the world, petitioning for the festival to be banned.
It is expected that thousands of dogs will end on the chopping block during the city’s annual festivities, which have become increasingly controversial.
An animal rights activist (left) takes a picture of vendors waiting for customers to buy dogs in cages at a market in Yulin. Image credit: AFP
Criticism has been raised not only for the fact that the dogs are slaughtered, but also for the reportedly inhumane way that they are killed.
Allegations have surfaced that some meat butchers use blowtorches to burn the dogs alive; however others have argued that these claims are exaggerated in order to garner support for those trying to bring an end to the tradition.
A first hand account
We spoke to Dr Peter Li, an associate professor at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD), who was recently in Yulin where he visited a facility that slaughters and prepares the dogs for eating.
I saw the photos that show dogs being blow-torched and I can say that two of them are from Yulin. The dog slaughter is a brutal process. Typically they would use a club to bludgeon the dog and for it to lose consciousness. Sometimes this may not work.— Dr Peter Li, an associate professor at UHD
He says that they then use a knife to cut the dog’s throat. Dr Li says that it is possible that some dogs are still conscious when they are cut.
According to Li, the butchers throw the dogs into a de-hairing machine to remove their fur. They are then disembalmed, removing their insides. Li says the dogs are blow-torched to make their skin shine and more presentable.
Yang Xiaoyun who is making headlines for fundraising to rescue hundreds of dogs in Yulin. Image Credit: FACLC
Dr Li advises that the dog meat traders spend several hours a day slaughtering dogs. The dogs watch other dogs being slaughtered while they wait, which he says is inhumane.
The killing of dog’s in China is often done in front of other dogs. Other dogs will suffer enormous psychological and mental agony before they have their turn of slaughter. They watch the entire process and it is excruciating. It is cruel and insensitive.— Dr Peter Li, an associate professor at UHD
Li says that people who eat meat as a cultural norm in China make up a minority of the population. Although the group is negligible, he says there is a large outcry in the country for the manner in which the dogs are slaughtered.
For more content on the dog meat festival, visit the EWN website.
Listen to the full conversation on CapeTalk's Breakfast with Kieno Kammies: