Summer solstice on June 21st is celebrated the world over. The weirdest of these celebrations, however, is the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China.
On this day, millions of people in the city of Yulin will consume huge quantities of meat: no beef, no pork but, horribile dictu, dog and cat meat. Thousands of dogs and cats, not only strays but also farmed ones and stolen pets, will be killed or boiled alive to facilitate skinning.
Officially, the festival has been banned by the government but no action is taken. Illegal markets sell the meat irrespective of the lethal danger of contracting diseases such as rabies and trichinosis from raw or poorly cooked meat. Also, some dog catchers poison the animals.
The festival is drawing growing numbers of protesting activists from China and all over the world. The event has apparently made Yulin a tourist attraction and some butchers are said to threaten to kill animals publicly in specially cruel ways unless the activists pay ransom for freeing the poor beasts.
However, Yulin is only the top of the iceberg. Eating dogs and cats is not forbidden in China, and a estimated 20 million dogs are consumed every year. The problem also exists in Viet Nam and Korea. Only Taiwan has banned pet meat consumption.
There are several petitions to stop the Yulin festival on the Internet which are gaining social media support and can be signed, for instance here.
The Independent (U.K) reported on this year's Yulin festival. Read this report here.