Connect with us

China Food & Drinks

Tradition or Abuse? Chinese Views on the Yulin Dog Meat Festival

What is the general view on the dog meat festival within the PRC?

Manya Koetse

Published

on

The start of the annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival has made global headlines, with international celebrities and politicians condemning the event. The tradition has mainly sparked outrage outside of China, but what is the general view on the dog meat festival within the PRC?

The controversial annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival (玉林狗肉节) has started in the southwestern Chinese province of Guangxi, despite loud voices protesting its takeoff this year. The festival, that is now internationally condemned by celebrities and politicians, draws mixed reactions on Chinese social media platforms.

 

A MORAL AND LEGAL ISSUE

“Is this even legal? That’s the question.”

 

Although many dog lovers and animal welfare campaigners from around the world call on the Chinese government to stop the festival and its dog meat industry, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying recently clarified that the Yulin government has never supported or organized the festival.

The event, that is locally organized by city residents, starts from June 21st every year and has been drawing controversy since 2010. The recurring festival celebrates the summer solstice by eating lychees and dog meat. An abundance of food stalls in Yulin sell dog meat specialties throughout the event, that allegedly is a long-standing local tradition. It is estimated that around 10.000 dogs are slaughtered during the ten-day festival (Yan 2015, 46).

Is this even legal? That’s the question. China has no law that bans the eating of dogs; eating dog meat is a personal freedom. This suggests that the controversy over the Yulin event is purely moral and not legal.

But what makes the issue murky and extra troublesome for dog lovers and animal welfare campaigners is that China actually has no legal dog farms, nor legal dog slaughter houses. It is therefore not clear where the Yulin festival dogs come from. Are they stray dogs? Are they “victims of dognapping”? And if so, would this not be considered illegal (Cao 2014; Yan 2015, 46)?

It is these questions, and the persisting reports of animal cruelty during the event, that have made Yulin’s Dog Meat festival extremely controversial – not just internationally, but also within China, where more and more people are now denouncing the annual dog-meat-fest.

 

MORE RESOLUTE OPPONENTS

“62% of Chinese surveyees think the dog meat festival harms China’s international reputation”

 

Over recent years, it seems that the Yulin Dog Meat Festival has grown more resolute opponents than enthusiastic supporters within mainland China.

A recent opinion poll revealed that 64% of Chinese now oppose the festival. The survey was conducted by Beijing Horizon Key (北京零点指标信息咨询有限公司) and was held amongst 2000 people in the 16-50 age category from 1000 different cities, 500 counties and 500 villages (Jiemian 2016).

dogmeatyesorno

Image shared on Weibo: “Yulin Dog Meat Festival: should we eat dog meat?”

The survey also revealed that 62% of Chinese surveyees think the dog meat festival harms China’s international reputation, and that 51.7% of the people feel that the Chinese dog meat industry should be banned altogether. 69.5% of the surveyed claimed they had never eaten dog meat in their life.

 

HYPOCRITICAL ACTIVISTS

“Yulin’s dog meat should be made into a brand and be widely promoted.”

 

Yet there are also those who are still strongly in favor of the festival. In the Beijing Review (2015), Hu Jianbing of rednet.cn suggests that it is hypocritical to denounce the eating of dog meat when there are so many other animals that are being eaten. Why would the consumption of dog meat be more “horrific” or “disgusting”? Hu says that the festival should go on, as long as there are no illegal abductions of dogs:

“The festival should be continued and could be further developed into a big business. Yulin’s dog meat should be made into a brand and be widely promoted.”

On Sina Weibo, there are also people praising dog meat for its taste and disagreeing with the Yulin protesters. By now, the Yulin dog meat festival has become a much-discussed issue, especially in light of the international condemnation for it.

 

MIXED REACTIONS

“My family also raises dogs, and we will always kill and eat them after raising them for years.”

 

Chinese netizens vehemently discuss the dog meat festival on Weibo under the hashtags of ‘Yulin Dog Meat Festival’ (#玉林狗肉节#), ‘Who Advocates the Dog Meat Festival?’ (#谁是玉林狗肉节推手#), the popular hashtag ‘Boycott the Yulin Dog Festival’ (#抵制玉林狗肉节#), and others. The topic has received thousands of comments, with many people venting their thoughts on their own Weibo pages or commenting under Yulin-related news articles.

The discussion draws many mixed reactions, because many netizens disagree on what the focus issue actually is. Is it about whether or not people should eat dog meat? Is it about preserving local traditions? Is it about animal welfare laws in China? Or is this about Western media condemning Chinese traditions? On Chinese social media, it is about all of those things, with different people viewing the issue from different angles.

One netizen writes: “I have seen so many posts about this, here’s my two cents: my family also often raises dogs (to protect the home), and we will always kill and eat them after raising them for years, because they’ve become old and useless. It would be a pity to bury it, especially because we can’t afford to eat dog meat very often. My dad likes to eat it, I don’t really. But I would never object to my dad eating dog meat. Ever since the Dog Meat Festival, I’ve begun to detest the behavior of all those activists. At this year’s summer solstice I’ll also eat a few pieces of dog meat!”

 

THE CORE OF THE ISSUE

“Eating dog meat is okay, animal cruelty is not.”

 

Many netizens emphasize that they feel it is not right to eat dogs because of their relation to humans: “It is true that we are carnivores,” another Weibo user comments: “But since ancient times, we’ve had a special connection to dogs. Every time I see people eating dog meat or hear them justifying it, it disgusts me!”

cartoons

Yulin Dog Meat Festival opponents post campaign posters on Chinese social media.

But not all netizens understand what the fuss is about: “China is so big and powerful, and yet some little dogs draw international attention. In Africa, people are starving to death yet nobody cares. In Syria there are so many refugees that people don’t care about. The Western world..” one netizen says.

“Every year it’s the same battle and I am sick of this issue. I try to avoid all news related to it, but I can no longer stand those of you morons who say ‘well don’t you also eat pork and cows?’ – screw you! We raise dogs and take them into our homes like friends, we take care of them with medicine and injections when they are sick. Do you take your cattle into your house like friends? If not, then you have nothing to say!” one Tianjin netizen writes.

There are also many netizens who share shocking pictures and videos of dogs being cruelly killed for their meat. Virtually all netizens respond to these images in shock: “Human nature is so low, it makes my hair stand on end. Society is evil.”

In the end, the Yulin dog meat festival discussion is genuinely multifaceted. As long as eating dog meat is not banned in China, eating dogs will remain a personal and legal choice. Perhaps the question of whether or not dog meat should be allowed is not at the core of the issue, nor is the question whether or not Yulin’s dog festival is tradition or abuse. The many videos, pictures, and online documentaries show that the Yulin festival is a tradition that undeniably involves animal abuse. It is therefore both a tradition and abuse.

Most Chinese netizens seem to agree that what should be tackled first is not necessarily the tradition of eating dog meat itself, but the abuse that comes with it. As one netizen puts it: “Eating dog meat is okay, animal cruelty is not.”

– By Manya Koetse

References

Cao Yin. 2014. “Experts: Dog Meat Festival ‘Illegal’.” China Daily (June 16). Online at http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2014-06/16/content_17589087.htm [6.23.16].

Luan Xiang 栾翔. 2016. “调查显示六成民众呼吁取缔玉林狗肉节 官方称从未组织 [Poll Shows 60% of People Oppose the Yulin Dog Meat Festival – Government States They Do Not Organize It]” . Jiemian 界面 (June 20). Online at http://www.jiemian.com/article/704030.html [6.23.16].

Yan Wei. 2015. “Dog Meat Festival: Traditional Custom or Abuse?” Beijing Review (29): 46-47.

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

image_print

Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

Advertisement
35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Martha boltares

    June 24, 2016 at 12:11 am

    Red meat gives humans rectal cancer in the long run! I hope Karma gives these dog and cat eaters a lot! Torture before killing a being is evil! Do you do that to a fetus before you eat it? Do you beat up the mom to make it taste better? I’ll bet you don’t! You’re evil beings! May karma curse you!

    • Avatar

      Arun Dev

      February 17, 2019 at 2:09 pm

      if you eat red meat you will get cancer and high blood pressure and please stop this dog burning festival to make and torture the animals specially the dogs thank you.

  2. Avatar

    Rosa Aguirre-Sweet

    June 24, 2016 at 2:17 am

    well that was disappointing as hell, but glad to know that we all agree on one thing, the brutality and cruelty that is used on these dogs, Id like to see them watch how these dogs are tortured, skinned and cooked alive, then tell me how great dog meat taste….
    to mention Africa is ridicules, how does India live as vegetarians…they farm their food and grains, Africa also has access to many wild life animals for food, the wild boars are out of control all over the world, even the refugees eating the wild boars might help keep the population down and keep them out of the crops they destroy, deer population also out of control, have you ever watched “the great migration”? were talking so many wilde beast are killed, from trying to cross a couple croc infested rivers, OH WAIT, CROCS probably eat better then the africans and refugees, and crocs are edible, wilde beast are edible, anything deer related, antelope , elk, moose, and many others edible, birds are edible, and tell me again….WHY are people starving????
    during extreme droughts, fish literally die from lack of water, I understand that it would be difficult to grow crops because lack of water, what it takes to raise live stock for meat, would be more useful to utilize the grains used to feed the live stock, these grains can last much longer on a shelf then meat would… I myself have turned towards vegetarian, I also grow, can, dehydrate many of my own vegatables…the US throws away and waste more food, then necessary. ..and then the Africans poach Elephants and Rhino, wild cats to near extinction, for the Chinese of course…and leave the remains to rot in the sun, or for other animals to eat…then turn around crying their starving.

  3. Avatar

    Linda Ensing

    June 24, 2016 at 11:06 am

    This is no adition! This is animal cruelty!????

  4. Avatar

    Linda Ensing

    June 24, 2016 at 11:07 am

    This is no tradition ! This is animal cruelty!????

  5. Avatar

    Robyn Gale

    June 24, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    The Yulin Dog Festival should be banned, these people…if you want to call them that…. are barbaric they torture these animals skinning and boiling them alive, muzzling them and chopping their paws off, what do they say ” the more pain the animal is in the better the meat tastes” WELL SORRY THIS IS JUST NOT ACCEPTABLE. #StopYulinforever????????????????????????

  6. Avatar

    RSB

    June 24, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    I don’t give a flying fuck if it is culturally insensitive. I am a mental health provider and I ALWAYS have to be culturally mindful. This is NOT about attacking one’s culture. I would say the same if other countries display this type of barbaric torture towards animals. And I am sick to death of people posting “what is the difference between dogs and cows?”, it is not the kind of animal that is being eaten. It is the philosophy of inflicting severe torture to animals to “tenderize the meat” and for “strength and fertility” purposes. This kind of torture and pain that is inflicted is pure evil and wrong and simply states that this “culture” lacks compassion. It is wrong and these people need to be educated. And lastly, the bulk of the dogs and cats consumed are stolen pets with collars. This also states that these people do not care about the morality of where their meat comes from and proceeds to slaughter stolen pets instead of letting them go to return to their owners. They can complain about their moods being spoiled but what about the pain that these innocent animals endure? Therefore, my final words.. Culturally insensitive, my ass, go choke on a bone!

  7. Avatar

    Mary johnston

    June 24, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    THIS IS ANIMAL CRUELTY!!!! TAKE THESE BARBARIC PEOPLE SKIN THEM ALIVE THEN COOK THEM!!! THAT IS WHY I STOPPED EATING CHINESE FOOD I DONT WHAT I AM EATING AND I DONT BUY ANY TREATS FOR MY PETS MADE IN CHINA!!! What’s next they gonna start eating they’re own children?

  8. Avatar

    lisa goudie

    June 25, 2016 at 1:19 am

    Would you slowly torture a person if it made them taste better? How can you think this way? You are evil and you use and abuse but give nothing back. You should never be near an animal. They are too good for you. You need to feel the pain that these animals feel. You are cowards!!!!!!!!

  9. Avatar

    Cynthia

    June 25, 2016 at 5:04 am

    Yu Lin dog meat festivil is not merely personal choice or traditions, but it is an organized marketing behavior. The maority of dogs are napped and shipped to Yulin, most are pets or stay dogs. The whole procudure of the business covers criminal and illegal activities. To say this is merely traditions and personal behavior is actually escape the responsibility of bureaucracy. It is very desappointing the government made this annoucing. It is an insult the Chinese and the culture to let this inhumane “festivil” exsit and even justify for it.

  10. Avatar

    susan shawket

    June 25, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    These poor dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are brutally tortured to death. They are companion animals and just want our love and attention. The Yulin dog and cat meat eating festival is absolutely horrific. The pain and suffering these animals endure is beyond our comprehension. The torturers are SAVAGES… they even eat dogs alive. Saying that, in Iraq the Kurds eat puppies alive and rip their poor little bodies apart. It sickens me that in this day and age, billions of animals, birds, insects, sealife and reptiles are tortured to death. ROT IN HELL the lot of you SADISTIC, EVIL savages.

  11. Avatar

    Tania micallef

    June 26, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    They say that Yulin dog meat festival is a tradition.In ancient years people in the Colosseum (Rome -Italy)gladiators used to combat with wild and hungry animals.Nowadays this has stopped because people realised that this was inhumane.Torturing and killing an animal in this barbaric state is inhumane.We are human beings and we must have feelings.A man without feelings at all is a monster.We need more people like Marc Ching .He saved 1000 dogs from dog meat festival.He deserves a nobel price for doing such a thing.

  12. Avatar

    Nicole

    June 28, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    The China government is clever. On one hand, they said they have not supported nor organized the festival. (to appease foreigners) Yet at the same time, they continue letting their citizens do whatever they want in regards to holding the festival. Even when tons of complaints about dogs being stolen from home, caught from the streets and even the vast amount of cruelty/torture were involved.

    Even the current festival, Marc Ching reported that there were police officers wearing street clothes following him around.

  13. Avatar

    Michele

    June 29, 2016 at 4:49 am

    I am very disappointed in the article re: Yulin Festival. There’s hardly any discussion regarding the cruelty involved in butchering the dogs (and cats..no one ever discusses the poor cats! ) alive. Next time around…or even all year long…let’s put a camera inside these houses of horror so all those about to sit down to a doggy feast can see how their dinner was made. The tragedy is that not enough Chinese are bothered by the cruelty: the torching, boiling, skinning and mutilating a living animal is tolerated in their archaic, pagan, society. Just send a couple of Viagra shipments to China! That may end their demand for tiger penises and thirst for tiger wine. Their abuse of bear for bile…and their need for rhino horn for ‘medicinal’ purposes. They must be the horniest men on the planet.

    • Avatar

      MF

      July 2, 2016 at 8:47 am

      It would be nice if people like Michele could oppose dog meat eating without slipping into racist comments and if people like Mary Johnston would read the article before commenting. Most people in China don’t eat dog meat or condone the festival. It doesn’t make any sense to boycott restaurants in your home country run by Chinese people who have no connection to the Yulin festival.

      • Avatar

        Eddie Wood

        June 15, 2017 at 8:32 pm

        The very act of the torturing dogs and cats angers people beyond reason, these people who do this are sub-species, why comment on someone showing a distaste towards the chinese weather it is racist or not that is nowhere near as important as the torturing of these beautiful animals!!!!!!!
        If we all boycott chinese restaurants maybe then something will be done by their own people??? I see nothing wrong in doing that, what is wrong is the torturing of animals!!!!!!!!!

        • Avatar

          DingDongDoorknobs

          June 25, 2019 at 12:05 am

          What a stupid response. Maybe you should continue these nation-hating sentiments in other regions like Serbia & the Middle East. Maybe that way, you wouldn’t be a hypocrite.

      • Avatar

        Emma Hastings

        November 25, 2018 at 10:28 pm

        Basically there are no words I can think of to actually say apart from I am ashamed to be a human being and to share this world with such absolute vile disgusting horrible specimens as these idiots who think that it is ok to watch an animal die in such pain and hopefully one day they will die a horrific death let’s hope so

  14. Avatar

    SL

    August 2, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    the torture before killing these dogs/cats really breaks my heart & make me tremble… Are these even humans?

  15. Avatar

    sharon rowe

    August 25, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    You are right to say it is the torture of the animals which most offends people outside of China…and it is this savagery that makes many people look down on China for allowing this to continue in 2016. We have cruelty all around the world towards animals, but the extent and the nature of the cruetly involved in the dog meat trade is not defendable under the name of history, culture, diet, need.

  16. Avatar

    Jones Schmit

    August 31, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    I am totally against this Festival. Because in the way they celebrating it’s out of humanity. Such festival should be banned. Many animal lovers and organisations like vanderpumpdogs.org are Uprising this festival. But I am still surprised how their government could not ban such inhumanity festivals there.

  17. Avatar

    Zach

    January 2, 2017 at 10:43 am

    The dog meat torture is so extreme that most people do not ever watch it, because the videos do not get circulated. On a daily basis, i see new videos of dogs in China being boiled alive, thrashing about and screaming in agony, or dogs hanged and blow torched alive while they scream, or having their skin peeled off as they kick and scream, or have their paws chopped off and eaten while the dog is left alive to suffer. This is torture that you would find in Saw movies. To support the Yulin festival in any way makes you the scum of the Earth. The problem is NOT eating dog meat necessarily. It is TORTURING dogs. And harming peaceful protestors by dumping boiling water on them or kidnapping them. Reading this article, i expected the number of people against this to be in the 90th percentile. China is a disgusting place.

    • Avatar

      DaveQB

      June 15, 2018 at 12:21 pm

      Perfectly said Zach. I feel the article doesn’t address the main issue, rather just touching on it at the conclusion. I doubt the treat of these animals is endorsed by other cultures in the world, including Chinese culture. It seems like this is a rogue community that is carrying this out. It looks like the festival has illegal activities all over it, so that is something that the local government can use to crack down on this with. The fact it hasn’t is disappointing and raises a skeptical eye that there’s some corruption going on here. The human race has so many disappointing aspects.

  18. Avatar

    Zach

    January 2, 2017 at 10:53 am

    People will call protestors “hypocrites” for eating beef and pork while being against dog meat in China. As a vegan myself, i get to say that’s a complete false equivalency. I cannot watch a family pet, writhing in agony and screaming desperately, as it is forced down in a pot of boiling water, and think that people who eat cows are just as bad. It is no contest. Where in civilized countries, we strive to kill animals quickly and somewhat “humanely”, China strives to inflict as much pain as possible. The only time they actually kill humanely is when they are in a hurry and don’t actually have time to torture the animal.

    By the way, it has been proven that lots of leather in the US imported from China is dog leather, labeled as cow leather, and those dogs were boiled and skinned alive. Boiled, and then had their fur scraped off their tender bodies as they were fully conscious, crying out in pain. Any torture you can think of, they have done it already.

    As i mentioned, these videos do not circulate, because to share them means losing most of your friends. I lost 75% of my facebook friends for sharing the Yulin Festival and asking others to spread the word. Everyone would rather look the other way, or even become angry at the messenger, rather than at China.

    • Avatar

      Adrian Shiva

      February 28, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      You are exactly correct. I myself am a vegan, yet I always see people attempting to excuse cruelty on the grounds that anyone who protests it is a “hypocrite” – but not only is it false equivalency to liken the torture-consumption of dogs and cats to the consumption of typical livestock animals, but an appeal to hypocrisy is known as a “to quoque” logical fallacy, which says that attempting to point to supposed ‘hypocrisy’ has nothing to do with the current topic but instead points to some other fault as if that excuses the current one.

      You know what’s interesting? ‘Hypocrisy’ accusations pretty much never come up with any other cruelty. If we try to save a human life, we’re suddenly not ‘hypocrites’ if we don’t donate to starving children, or don’t adopt a child. We’re not ‘hypocrites’ if drug addicts try to tell youths to stay out of drugs. A suicidal man is not called a ‘hypocrite’ for trying to talk someone else out of jumping off a bridge. Or should he instead say “jump, you coward!” because apparently the worse crime according to these cruelty apologists is to be considered a hypocrite.

      But when it comes to animal torture/consumption, it’s really interesting that so many people are bent on excusing it. After all, the apologists are not the ones being tortured or killed, and will look for ways to excuse sadism and gluttony that targets animals.

      They are wrong to assume that they are logically or morally right to suggest that no one can condemn a cruelty if they are hypocrites, because that places an emphasis on character imperfection *and* in this case relies on false equivalency, rather than on a position or proposed argument.

      Further, another reason many people go with hypocrisy disengagements is because, by suggesting that only vegans can speak out against animal cruelty in the proposal that ‘hypocrisy’ is the worse crime, they are attempting to morally excuse themselves from taking action if they are not vegan. Interestingly, at the same time many people are keen to mock vegans for advocating for animal well-being, yet when it comes to inviting advocacy from non-vegans, many would suddenly shift to the position that “only vegans can rightly advocate for animals, otherwise I would be a hypocrite”.

      I’ve found myself having to speak up for non-vegans who want to help animals – but who are wrongly attacked by naysayers and cruelty apologists who’d rather sit around and do nothing but swirl the proverbial wineglass from where they sit comfortably as they portray the advocacy for the well-being of animals as merely ‘hypocrisy’ in their attempts to disarm people from taking compassionate action.

      • Avatar

        Adrian Shiva

        February 28, 2017 at 5:41 pm

        tu* quoque (unable to edit last comment)

    • Avatar

      DingDongDoorknobs

      June 25, 2019 at 12:22 am

      But it’s easy to call you a hypocrite, though. People like you are why a minority of those Chinese respondents hesitate before opposing the festival. You generalise an entire nation while ignoring the vast majority of people who oppose its cruelty but don’t really have the power to stop it. Your views are actually mirrored in a lot of English/Western journalism, that many Chinese tend to detest as ‘biased propaganda’. Well, no wonder…

  19. Avatar

    Giolina Maksimovic

    March 6, 2017 at 7:00 am

    These people are sick what sort of heart do you people have ..i am sick to my stomach. .stop the torture of dogs..ban any every single dog from China. .

  20. Avatar

    Melanie Arena

    August 16, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    WE domesticated dogs to be companions hundreds of years ago. Every single dog breed came from a wolf, we domesticated them and now these barbarians with severe mental illness, to thank them for their loyalty, boil them alive and skin them alive. This is not normal behavior, and it sickens me to the core. How can you watch a screaming animal die and go about your day in celebration, shame on you, I sincerely hope karma finds each and every one of you……….disgusting.

  21. Avatar

    Steve

    November 24, 2017 at 9:24 am

    I am filled with such rage reading about what they do to dogs and cats that it’s been on my mind day in and day out. I can’t do a damn thing about it and it’s killing me inside! I live in an area where there are many Koreans Chinese and Japanese I have such hatred towards them now they may not be involved but just looking at them makes me sick to my stomach I swear one of them was to mess with me it will be the sorriest day that they could ever possibly have. These rotten sadistic evil bastards that do these things to these cats and dogs should have the same things done to them and die of slow agony and torture the government needs to get off their fucking ass and other countries need to get involved! I say boycott everything that’s connected to these countries .The world has to see that action is taking place And the world is watching. I rescue cats in my spare time I also volunteered for a few years at a rescue organization so my connection to these animals is extremely strong! I don’t even want to wear a piece of clothing from China or anything else that is made in the country or any country that tortures animals.

  22. Avatar

    Tasneem Sayanvala

    May 29, 2018 at 4:51 am

    Sick on every level.

    Every being deserves to be treated well.

    Why torture???

    Just sick.

  23. Avatar

    Hollie Lintz

    June 4, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    This is complete barbaric torture and needs to stop. What makes these horrible people think this is right. We have to standup for all of the fur babies and save their lives. China is wrong how would they like it if they were tortured in this manner.

  24. Avatar

    victoria

    June 13, 2018 at 7:18 am

    i read the article and one person from china who eat dogs said that they raise dogs and after sometime they eat because they are useless it that so horrible how can even u say these people have no feelings so cruel.. if this is the thing so that guy should cut abuse his parents and eat them aswell because human after getting old they get useless…i will pray god that you should be treated in same way the way u do to dogs torturing them and killing them for you insane festival

    • Avatar

      Christina DeGreef

      January 26, 2019 at 9:43 am

      What about pigs and cows? So dogs are more like humans than pigs. Pigs are smarter than dogs…

  25. Avatar

    sharon Gracia

    May 29, 2019 at 4:02 am

    What ever the meat you eat. Is your own affair. The problem lies in the method of slaughter. If the animal is tortured or stressed adrenaline eats up the lactic acid in the meat. causing it to be tough, tasteless, and it will be pale in color and sometimes crumbly.Also it will spoil more quickly. Each year the pork industry loses $275 Million due to pre slaughter stress. No there is no great way to slaughter. But taking a blow torch and burning an animal alive… Or skinning an animal alive… Or breaking the legs of an animal and throwing them into a pot of boiling water… So torture is OK.. I come from Native American Ancestry. We say thank you to the animals we eat. We do not drag them screaming. beat them break bones set fire to their eyes.. So It is not meat it is method.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Backgrounder

“Opposing Dog Meat Consumption Is Hypocritical” – Weibo Discussions on Anti-Dog Meat Protests

Eating dog meat is a personal choice, many commenters argue.

Manya Koetse

Published

on

Man eating dog meat during anti-dog meat protest; image via https://udn.com/news/story/6812/3928149

Last week’s anti-dog meat protests in South Korea have triggered discussions on Chinese social media on the status quo of the dog meat industry in China. An overview of the sentiments on social media and the background of dog eating in the PRC.

South Korea’s dog meat industry made headlines on Friday after protesters in Seoul, joined by actress Kim Basinger, called for an end to the decade-old dog meat trade in the country.

Not far from the protesters were farmers who raise dogs that are sold to restaurants. They brought steamed dog meat and ate it with kimchi (featured image).

In China, where the eating of dog meat has a long history, the Seoul protests triggered some discussions on social media.

The hashtags “Hundred People Gather in South Korea to Stop the Eating of Dog Meat” (#韩国百人集会呼吁停食狗肉#) and “Big Protest in South Korea against Eating of Dog Meat” (#韩国大规模抗议吃狗肉#) received over 83 million views.

In South Korea, the overall demand for dog meat has plummeted over the years. Earlier this month, one of the largest dog meat markets in the country, the Gupo dog meat market, was shut down. In November of 2018, Seongnam city already demolished South Korea’s largest dog slaughterhouse.

Friday’s protesters hope to shut down dog meat trade in the country completely. The latest protests have put the thorny issue of the dog meat industry back in the limelight.

 

HYPOCRITICAL PROTESTS?

“I don’t eat dog meat, but I don’t oppose it.”

 

On Chinese social media site Weibo, hundreds of netizens expressed their opinion on the matter, that has been a hot topic in China for years.

According to polls from the past and present, the topic of dog meat in China is clearly a divisive one.

But over the past few days a seeming majority of commenters on Weibo spoke out about the issue in a remarkably similar way, with thousands of netizens highlighting one issue in the matter: hypocrisy.

“I won’t oppose to the eating of dog meat,” one person writes: “Because if I support the anti-dog meat movement today, then tomorrow it will turn against the eating of cows, then the eating of pigs, and then the eating of fish..”

Many people on social media agree with this point of view, arguing that no matter one’s personal ideas about dog meat, condemning the dog meat practice in specific would be hypocritical: “Pigs are so cute, why do we eat pigs then?” many say, with others arguing: “Aren’t cows also spiritual animals?”

Dog meat restaurant in Jilin.

“I also raise dogs, I also love dogs,” another commenter says: “But I think that if they legally breed dogs for the dog meat [industry], then we have no right to prevent them from doing so.”

“I don’t eat dog meat, but I don’t oppose it, as long as it’s legal it’s ok,” with others writing: “I am opposed to the eating of any living creature.”

“Eating dog is not illegal, why all this sentimental nonsense? Why don’t you also defend chickens, ducks, geese, pigs, sheep, and cows?!”

“As long as they’re not abused, I don’t see a problem with it.”

“Dog meat is tasty,” one commenter from Zhejiang writes: “I like it, although I rarely eat it. I don’t see a problem with it, it’s a personal choice.”

 

SHORT OVERVIEW OF DOG EATING IN CHINA

“To them, dog meat was just like any other meat.”

 

The tradition of dog eating in China can be traced back as far as the Shang Dynasty (ca. 1558 to 1046 BC), when dog meat was considered a delicacy for the upper class.

Later on in Chinese history, during the Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD), it became more and more common until the practice saw a general decline, especially in northern China, during and after the tenth century (Li et al 2017, 513-514).

Despite the rising and declining popularity of dog meat throughout China’s history, the practice of eating dog has never completely disappeared, particularly in southern China.

In a book on China from 1878 by John Henry Gray, the author notes the popularity of restaurants serving dog and cat meat in ‘Canton’ (Guangzhou):

I do not think (..) that I exaggerate in saying that there are no fewer than twenty such places in Canton. Each restaurant contains only one public apartment. The approach to this dining-room is generally through the kitchen, where cooks may be seen standing in front of slow fires over which the flesh of cats and dogs is being cooked. The flesh is cut into small pieces and fried with water chestnuts and garlic in oil. In the windows of the restaurant dogs’ carcasses are suspended, for the purpose, I suppose, of attracting the attention of passengers” (75).

He further writes:

The flesh of black dogs and cats is generally preferred because it is supposed to possess more nutriment than that of cats and dogs of any other color. At Ying-tong, a suburban district of Canton, a fair is held at which dogs are sold for food; and in one of the streets dogs and cats are daily exposed for sale. The dogs are put to death by strangling, stabbing, or felling with clubs” (76).

Something that has not changed since the days described in Gray’s book is the belief in the medicinal benefits of dog meat.

Dog meat dish, via Sohu.com.

Especially in summer, dog’s flesh is believed to serve as an antidote against summer heat, and to be nutritious and beneficial as a source to enhance male virility or to boost the liver. Even at present, Chinese media promote the eating of dog meat to boost the immune system and help stimulate better blood circulation.

It should be noted that although China has a long history of dog meat consumption, it also has a long history of dog domestication and dog-human comradery. Dogs were pets, guarded the house, used in hunting, and also used in rituals of sacrifice.

Ceramic crouching dog, excavated from Henan burial site, dating from Han Dynasty, 206BC-220AD, Henan Museum.

Most of the 20th century (1900-1978) was a tough time for people in mainland China, and it was a tough time for dogs too. In many times, there was barely enough food to eat, and under Mao’s rule, dogs were considered “parasites” and were outlawed as pets (Coren 2018; Li et al 2017, 514).

Those who kept pets were seen as part of the ‘bourgeoisie,’ and during the Cultural Revolution, pet dogs were reportedly seized and beaten to death in front of their owners (Coren 2008, ch. 21).

Much has changed since those days. Although (stray) dogs, as carriers of diseases and potentially aggressive, are often still considered a drain on society, having a dog as a pet has become much more commonplace in China since the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Eating dog meat has become less popular, especially among young people in China, who have grown up very differently from their parents and have different perceptions of dogs.

Chinese writer Bang Xiao looks back on the first time his mother served him dog meat during Chinese New Year, writing:

For them, dog meat was just like any of the other meats, and coming from a generation who lived through famine and the Cultural Revolution, I was told I should be grateful. For me though, it meant I was eating my own pet Duo Duo. I cried.”

Later on, he writes about his parents:

They weren’t “dog eaters”. They were just people that happened to have a different history that led to different animals being on the menu.

 

THE YULIN DOG MEAT FESTIVAL

“Don’t go, don’t eat it, don’t pay attention to it.”

 

Despite the general unpopularity of dog meat in China, there is one time of the year when the discussions on the practice of dog eating flare up again, and that is during the Yulin Lychee & Dog Meat Festival, an annual event that’s been held over the past decade in the Chinese city of Yulin intended to generate income from tourism (Brown 2018).

Some 10,000 to 15,000 dogs and cats are slaughtered during the 10-day event that starts on June 21st every year. The event attracts hundreds of people every day. There is a restaurant strip and a market where dozens of vendors cook various dog meat dishes in large woks and where live dogs are sold and slaughtered.

Yulin, image via 轉角國際udn Global

Although the voices of those people protesting the festival seem to grow louder year on year, the dog meat festival continues. It is not illegal, and its economic benefits have become of crucial importance for many in the city of Yulin.

Vendor selling dog meat at the Yulin festival.

A 2016 media survey held among 2000 people from various ages and places in China found that 64% of the people opposed to the festival, 52% thinks that dog meat should be banned in China, and 70% said they had never had dog meat themselves.

“Don’t go, don’t eat it, don’t pay attention to it. When there’s no business, the killing will stop,” one Weibo commenter suggests.

 

A MURKY MARKET

“There does not seem to be a Chinese dog meat market that is both cruel-free and completely legal.”

 

Apart from Yulin, the eating of dog meat is barely a celebrated tradition in China anymore.

For a What’s on Weibo article from 2015, we could still find 122 restaurants listed as ‘dog meat’ specialty restaurants in the city of Beijing on restaurant site Dianping. But at present, Dianping no longer publicly lists any restaurants when searching for ‘dog meat’ specialty places (note that there still are restaurants serving dog meat, but they might not be listed due to controversy or for fear for activists).

China’s biggest e-commerce websites sell different herb mixes for dog stews or dog meat hotpots (see tweet below), but the market could hardly be called thriving.

Yet, despite all those people on Chinese social media saying that eating dog meat should not be a problem for those who still want to eat it, China’s dog meat market does actually have a problem.

China has no law that bans the eating of dogs; eating dog meat is a personal freedom. But what makes the issue murky and troublesome is that China actually has no large-scale legal dog farms, nor legal dog slaughterhouses.

The very few dog farms in existence in China would never be adequate to provide the meat for the industry in southern China, let alone for the estimated 10,000+ dogs slaughtered in Yulin every year.

It is therefore not clear where the dogs that are used for their meat in China come from. Are they stray dogs? Are they stolen from the streets? And if so, would this not be considered illegal (Brown 2018; Cao 2014; Yan 2015, 46)?

Every now and then scandals appear in the media of restaurants slaughtering and killing dogs that were actually people’s pets (for example, this scandal in Jilin in 2018 or in Chengdu this year).

Another issue making the dog meat market a problematic one is the cruel treatment of the dogs.

China has seen countless of food scandals over the years, and some of them involve the selling of poisoned dog meat. As a result, many people have a general distrust in (frozen) meat products and want to make sure they are consuming good quality meat.

Dog meat markets such as Yulin, therefore, often sell living dogs. They are virtually like ‘wet markets’ for dogs, where those who want to eat dog meat can do so with the assurance that the meat they are eating is fresh and safe. The dogs are slaughtered at the spot or are sold alive for home consumption (Brown 2018).

Image via BBC.com.

The process of being transported, being displayed in tiny cases in the summer heat, and being killed in often cruel ways all add to the enormous stress and pain the animals at the live dog market are suffering.

China currently has no laws from the perspective of animal welfare to minimize the pain and suffering during transport, the selling, or at the point of slaughter (Brown 2018).

For the aforementioned reasons and more, festivals such as the Yulin Dog Meat one are getting more controversial year on year, with more and more Chinese calling for a boycott and a ban.

 

DISTORTED DISCUSSIONS

“If you eat dog meat of unknown origin, you might be participating in the killing of someone else’s pet.”

 

As the discussions on dog meat in China are ongoing following the South Korea protests, one blogger posted a survey asking netizens if they support the eating of dog meat.

Despite the many commenters who also defend the practice of dog eating, a majority of 67% percent among the 32.000 participants said they do not support it as “dogs are our friends.”

A recurring sentiment expressed on Chinese social media on the issue is that there essentially is nothing wrong with eating dog meat – and that it would be hypocritical to only oppose to eating dog without also opposing eating sheep, cows, chickens, and so on – as long as it is legal, and as long as the dogs are not stolen, poisoned, or abused.

But that’s the whole issue at hand: all those things are in fact happening in the dog meat industry today. It is difficult to discuss the eating of dogs based on the hypothetical assumption that these things are not occurring.

Consumers are not buying (frozen) meat from legal dog farms and certified dog slaughterhouses, they are mostly buying living dogs or dog meat from unknown origins, and the process of selling and slaughtering often goes hand in hand with cruel treatment.

“I don’t oppose to eating dog, but I hate the dog trafficking market,” one person says. Another commenter agrees, writing: “I don’t oppose to the eating [of dogs] that are bred for it, but I do oppose to those who steal other people’s dogs. Most of the dog meat I’ve seen comes from unknown origins. (..) If you eat dog meat that you don’t know the origin of, you might be participating in the killing of someone else’s pet.”

For now, China and South Korea are very different when it comes to their dog meat industries and their (legal) changes. The countries do seem to have one thing in common, which is that the practice of eating dog meat is no longer popular among the younger generations.

This might suggest that as sales are dropping, the dog meat market will shrink and might eventually disappear altogether if there is no interest in it.

“Don’t hype the dog meat festival,” one Weibo commenter writes: “It’s the hype that made it big and that led to more dogs being killed.

This basically reiterates the advice of one of the aforementioned commenters: don’t go, don’t eat it, don’t pay attention to it, and the business will, eventually, die out.

Want to read more? Also see:

20 Facts About Dogs & Dog-Eating in China
The Yulin Dog Meat Festival: 10 Views From Chinese Netizens
Tradition or Abuse? Chinese Views on the Yulin Dog Meat Festival

By Manya Koetse

Want to see more articles such as these? Please donate to keep What’s on Weibo going.

References

Brown. Hannah. 2018. “Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat Festival: A Shift in Focus.” In: Tourism Experiences and Animal Consumption: Contested Values, Morality and Ethics, Carol Kline (eds), Chapter 15. London: Routledge.

Cao Yin. 2014. “Experts: Dog Meat Festival ‘Illegal’.” China Daily (June 16). Online at http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2014-06/16/content_17589087.htm [6.23.16].

Coren, Stanley. 2008. The Modern Dog: A Joyful Exploration of How We Live with Dogs Today. New York: Free Press.

–. 2018. “What Is China’s Current Attitude Concerning Dogs?” Psychology Today, Feb 21 https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/canine-corner/201802/what-is-chinas-current-attitude-concerning-dogs [7.15.19].

Gray, John Henry. 1878. China: A History of the Laws, Manners, and Customs of the People (Volume II). London: MacMillan & Co.

Li, P. J., Sun, J., & Yu, D. 2017. “Dog “Meat” Consumption in China: A Survey of the Controversial Eating Habit in Two Cities.” Society and Animals, 25(6), 513–532. http://doi.org/10.1163/15685306-12341471

Xiao, Bang. 2018. “Chinese New Year: Remembering how I first ate dog meat, and how differences bring us together.” ABC, February 17 https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-17/chinese-dog-meat-eating-linked-to-history-of-famine/9454394 [7.15.19].

Yan Wei. 2015. “Dog Meat Festival: Traditional Custom or Abuse?” Beijing Review (29): 46-47.

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

image_print
Continue Reading

China Food & Drinks

Coca Cola Chicken Wings Are Here! McDonald’s China Introduces Cola Chicken on Its Menu

Add cola, add chicken, and it’s a recipe for success.

Manya Koetse

Published

on

Coca-Cola Chicken wings are so popular in China that McDonald’s China, in collaboration with Coca Cola, has now added them to their menu.

It is one of those dishes everyone in China will know of, yet its origins are somewhat murky: Cola Chicken.

Cola Chicken (可乐鸡) is a sweet and sour cooking dish using cola, chicken, ginger, soy sauce, cooking wine, and Sichuan pepper as its main ingredients (the Chinese way).

Braised Coca-Cola Chicken wings are especially popular in China, combining Chinese style braising and Coca-Cola to create juicy and savory BBQ style wings (see recipe).

According to some, Cola Chicken comes from Jinan, Shandong, where a cook in a restaurant accidentally tipped over a can of Coca Cola into a chicken dish, after which he discovered the taste of the soda matched the simmering chicken.

Image via 食尚小米, Sina Blog

Others allege two Chinese Coca Cola salespersons thought of the recipe first.

Another explanation states that ‘Cola Chicken’ was already made in Western countries, using tomato sauce as one of its main ingredients. The dish then became popular in Taiwan, where the tomato sauce was replaced by soy sauce.

Whatever its origins are: Cola Chicken is hugely popular in China. So popular, in fact, that McDonald’s China announced on Weibo this week that it would add ‘traditional cola chicken wings’ to its menu.

The latest addition to the McDonald’s China menu is a special collaboration between the Coca Cola brand and McDonald’s.

“I love Mcdonald’s, I love Coca Cola, I wanna try!”,  commenters on Weibo say: “I absolutely love Cola Chicken wings.”

Although social media responses to McDonald’s Cola Chicken have been very positive, some who have actually tried it out are less enthusiastic.

“I had them, but.. I actually didn’t taste any cola flavor. Are we supposed to soak them in our coke first?” one disappointed netizen wonders.

Others also expressed similar sentiments, writing: “I am confused by how it tastes” and: “I think it tastes really weird, but I can taste the Cola in it!”

But others who tried it are very happy: “I loved them! While chewing, the skin of the chicken bursts open, giving you that feeling of a carbonated drink. And the chicken is slightly sour and sweet, with that hint of Coca Cola.”

The Cola Chicken wings are not the only special additions to the McDonald’s China menu, which also offers “Sichuan Spicy Double Chicken Burger,” “Jumbo Milk Tea,” “Taro Pie,” and “Corn cups.”

Earlier this year, Mcdonald’s China also introduced a Japanese beef rice bowl to its main menu selections.

Many introductions to China’s McDonald’s menu have come and gone over the past few years. Whether Cola Chicken will be one of the items on the McDonald’s menu that’s here to stay is yet to be seen.

Also read: McDonald’s Celebrates 26th Birthday in China
Also read: China’s First Fast Food Restaurant
Also read: Coca Cola in China: “Not a Single Bottle of Coke Should Be Sold to Chinese”

Talking about Cola Chicken, a recommendation: the touching and funny short documentary (25 min) ‘Cola Chicken’ tells the story of the Chinese Chen Chen, who works as a tour guide in Spain, and dreams of opening up his own Cola Chicken restaurant one day:

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

image_print
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Support What’s on Weibo

If you enjoy What’s on Weibo and support the way we report the latest trends in China, you could consider becoming a What's on Weibo patron:
Donate

Facebook

Instagram

Advertisement

Contribute

Got any tips? Suggestions? Or want to become a contributor? Email us as at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Popular Reads