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The Yulin Dog Meat Festival: 10 Views From Chinese Netizens

These are ten different Chinese perspectives on the controversial Yulin Dog Meat Festival.

Manya Koetse

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The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is an annual event that has become more and more controversial, both in China as well as internationally. What are the main views on the controversial dog-eating festival on Chinese social media? Here are 10 opinions and comments from Weibo users.

The annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival (玉林狗肉节) is taking place again this year, starting from June 21. 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 already clarified in 2016 that the Yulin government has never supported nor organized the festival.

The annual event, that celebrates the summer solstice by eating lychees and dog meat, has been drawing controversy since 2010. It is a ten-day festival that is organized by locals. Since China has no law that bans the eating of dogs, the festival itself is not illegal.

Its legal status, however, does not stop the controversy. It is estimated that around 10.000 dogs are slaughtered during the ten-day festival, and Chinese welfare groups gather in Yulin to protest the tradition. In previous years, there have been altercations between stall owners and activists trying to rescue dogs.

This year, it is likely that more clashes will occur. One activist in Yulin told BBC she was prevented by police from entering the market where live dogs presumably were on sale. The night before the festival, China-based Dutch journalist Marcel Vink said on Twitter that he was put out of his Yulin hotel: “Wow, kicked out of my hotel in the night, suddenly no foreigner acceptance, after hours. And all hotels in town suddenly full.”

What do people on Weibo have to say about the festival amidst all the contention? Here are ten different views and comments on the Dog Meat Festival controversy, from ten different Weibo netizens.

 

1. “I oppose the dog meat festival!”

 

Many people on Chinese social media deem the eating of dog meat immoral due to the relationship between humans and dogs, and the role of dogs in human lives.

One message that was copy-pasted and shared by dozens of netizens on Weibo today says:

“I oppose the dog meat festival! I don’t eat dog meat! I would dread eating the dog that has guarded and protected his family for the most part of his life. I would dread eating the playmate of a young child. I would dread eating a retired police dog. I would dread eating the eyes of a blind man.”

Overall, many netizens on Weibo express this sentiment. A young woman from Xinjiang responds:

“Every time I say that I am against eating dog meat, there is always a group of people who will say: ‘Chickens, ducks, fish, and cows are all living animals too, then you shouldn’t eat them either!’ Well, have you ever seen a duck guiding the blind, or a chicken tracking down narcotics? Will a fish come and welcome you when you come home? After an earthquake, whose paws are it that will drag you from underneath the ground? What cow will stay by your side in times of danger? Resist the dog meat festival! It’s okay not to love dogs, but don’t hurt them.”

 

2. “Just a Chinese tradition.”

 

One person writes:

“I find this all [all the controversy] very strange, the Dog Meat Festival is just a tradition. We can’t do this anymore, we can’t do that anymore – what’s actually left of Chinese traditions with thousands of years of history? (..) Look at yourself before judging another.”

This is a sentiment that is expressed by many other people on Weibo. A typical comment says: “I don’t eat dog meat myself, but I do respect other people’s right to eat dog meat.”

 

3. “You’re giving China a hard time.”

 

There are also people who think the protestors do not reflect well on China.

One man from Nanning, Guangxi, writes:

“Even if there is no Dog Meat Festival, there are still dog meat traders. All you pure leftists should stop your useless actions. Those of you scolding Yulin should know that Yulin is a part of Guangxi, and Guangxi is a part of China. If you’re giving Yulin a hard time, you’re giving Guangxi a hard time, you’re giving China a hard time.”

 

4. “What else should we do with unsold dogs on the dog market?”

 

Weibo netizen @sven_shi points out the alleged hypocrisy of the anti-Yulin campaigners when he says:

“If you run into people who want to rescue dogs, you can ask them one thing and they’ll look foolish. What should we do with the dogs on the dog breeding [pet] market that still aren’t sold after six months? The answer, in fact, is really clear: they will be sold for slaughter. The market can’t provide for the dogs that aren’t sold. The Tibetan mastiffs that aren’t sold will go into a dog stew. If the real dog lovers ideally don’t want any dogs to be killed, they should block the door to the dog market, and take home all the dogs that are left over. Because the reason that dogs are killed is in the dog market.”

 

5. “Don’t rob people of their livelihood because of your love for dogs.”

 

A popular blogger from Beijing holds a similar view when he says:

“Since you are animal activists, you should go and buy all living dogs and pay the price for which their meat is sold.”

They continue:

“Those people there make a living by selling dog meat. Does your love for dogs mean that you should rob other people of their livihood? In any way, I won’t go there and buy dog meat, but you also won’t allow other people to buy it. Then go and buy it all yourself!”

 

6. “You shouldn’t blame all Yulin people for this.”

 

Some people who come from Yulin (a city of 6.9 million people) also respond on Weibo. This girl writes:

“As a person from Yulin, I feel innocent. Firstly, because I don’t eat dog meat. Second, because I don’t kill. Third, I am just one small citizen. It’s enough for you to curse the dog meat festival – you shouldn’t curse all people of Yulin. Some of you keyboard warriors are just too vulgar. You are the ones with a problem, even more so than those who eat dog meat!”

 

7. “Don’t force your moral point of view on other people.”

 

Another person from Yulin also comments on Weibo, and says that loving dogs and eating dogs can go together.

“When it comes to the Dog Meat Festival, loving dogs and eating dogs are two separate things. To the dog activists I would like to say: don’t force your moral point of view on other people. I am from Yulin, and I’m also a dog lover. I’ve raised dogs. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like eating dog meat. Mao Zedong said: ‘Only when you eat dog meat will you know how tasty it is.'”

One woman from Guangdong takes a similar stance, but points out that the abuse that often comes with the dog meat market is unacceptable. She says:

“These days on Weibo I’ve seen so many ‘oppose the dog meat festival’ posts. Actually I also love cats, dogs, and animals a lot. But to be honest, I don’t really oppose it. Many people like to eat dog meat and it’s part of the food chain. I can understand it. But I do oppose the stealing of dogs, the abuse of dogs, and other illegal and immoral actions. I despise this behaviour.”

 

8. “I’m going, but I won’t touch any dog meat.”

 

There are also people who say they will visit the festival but not eat dog meat. The Lychee and Dog Meat Festival celebrates the Summer Solstice.

“Today is the Summer Solstice, and the Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat Festival. I am meeting up with some friends. We’ll go out to eat some lychees. I won’t touch any dog meat.”

 

9. “Turning this into a special treat day for dogs.”

 

For other people, the Yulin festival is another reason to treat their own dog to snacks today. A female netizen by the name of ‘Flying Lolita‘ writes:

“Since the Yulin dog meat festival has started, I can’t help but notice how fat our own little Harry has become! Haha. I love him. And I just hope you all won’t eat dog meat.”

Many other people also post pictures of them cuddling their own dogs or cats on this day, turning the dog meat festival into a dog-loving day.

 

10. “The festival has become world famous.”

 

Ironically enough, there are also people who think the growing controversy and international attention for the festival is a positive thing. The dog meat festival hardly received any attention before the previous few years. The national focus on Yulin bring many outsiders to the city – some come to eat dog meat, others come to protest it.

As one young netizen from Guangxi says:

“The Lychee & Dog Meat Festival is here. Yesterday on the train, I heard people say: ‘Even foreigners are now coming to Yulin for the dog meat! Never in my life would I’ve imagined that the traditional feast I grew up with would at one time become so world-famous!”

As the ‘world-famous’ Yulin festival has started, so has the turmoil surrounding it. On June 21st around 18.00 Beijing time, some netizens post photos of cars driving around the festival with ‘dog activists belong to an evil cult’ signs, and other photos of people holding up signs to condemn the festival. Despite all the disagreements and different views, one thing is certain: as long as the Yulin festival continues, so will the controversy.

“Resist the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. Respect life. Care for animals.”

“Dog activists [dog-loving-people] are an evil cult.”

By Manya Koetse

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the founder and editor-in-chief of whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer, public speaker, and researcher (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends, digital developments, and new media in an ever-changing China, with a focus on Chinese society, pop culture, and gender issues. She shares her love for hotpot on hotpotambassador.com. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Eddie wood

    June 22, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    How in the name of God can anyone accept the brutal torture of the dogs and cats that are killed in the most heinous manner, SKINNED ALIVE, BOILED ALIVE, DISMEMBERING OF THEIR LIMBS WHILE ALIVE, BLUDGEON UNTILL THEY ARE SEMI CONSCIOUS AND ALL THIS IS DONE IN FRONT OF OTHER DOGS TO IN STILL ‘SHEER TERROR!’
    How can anyone say this is ok? they are NOT KILLING THEM TO EAT, THEY ARE TORTURING THESE ANIMALS FOR THEIR OWN GRATIFICATION. Thousands of dogs and cats are killed and no way are thousands of people eating them!!! All animals have a nervous system and to know that they are skinned alive is utterly horrific, a dog or cat only wants to give and receive LOVE, AND THESE PEOPLE KILL THEM THIS WAY??? WHY?????

    • Avatar

      Lisa

      January 8, 2019 at 9:04 pm

      It’s not so much the killing and eating moreso than the torture. We kill and eat animals and it’s not up to me what culture likes whatever particular meat they like. That’s not the problem. My problem is the way it’s done. Skinning them alive, holding them in small cages, throwing them in boiling water ALIVE, ignorantly believing that if they’re afraid before death, the meat is more tender. That is FALSE. When an animal is afraid, they release hormones that toughen muscles not soften them, and either way it would not be consistent enough to change the taste or texture of the meat. It is savage. I have nothing against eating the meat. I oppose the torture. No torture of a living thing with feelings and nerve endings should me allowed in the WORLD! It’s called empathy. If we don’t have empathy, we are not human beings!, we are animals! Picture yourself as that dog and what he’s feeling. Have some MERCY

  2. Avatar

    Anna

    June 23, 2017 at 6:05 am

    Ban the torture of cats and dogs! I hope the ones that eat them live to suffer bad luck and contract the worst disease contained within their own chain of relations!

    • Avatar

      tu suying

      June 26, 2017 at 7:41 am

      Hypocrisy:

      I have watched PETA videos of cows and pigs getting slaughters in the US and being torn apart while still being alive, male chicks ground to death, lobsters boiled alive (no from PETA video). Why love one and eat another.

      Bullshit argument from Hypocrites:
      1. Dogs and Cats are more intelligent – Research shows that pigs are as intelligent as dogs.
      2. some are meant for meat and some are for companionship – Hindus consider eating cows as barbaric and yet they are slaughters in millions especially in the west.

      Please don’t shove your morality over others.

      Thank you.

      • Avatar

        nikki

        June 27, 2017 at 10:34 pm

        Okay, but have you ever seen a cow guide the blind? Or heard of a chicken rescue someone from the wreck after a natural disaster? Or a pig fight and help men in war? No I didn’t think so. Everyone knows the meat insutry as a whole is often cruel and horrible. But that does NOT JUSTIFY this cruelty to a species which has saved lives and have ALWAYS been there for humans through good and bad. Why extend the list of animals getting tortured? Shouldn’t we start stopping the cruelty? Then why not start with this? It’s merely a step towards a kinder world.

        • Avatar

          Dan

          July 4, 2018 at 10:47 am

          Stupid comments. “Oh but have you seen a cow guide the blind” … Eye roll. Does if matter?! If you eat cows but oppose dog meat and will condemn dog meat eaters you are a hypocrite and the reason evil thrives.

      • Avatar

        Yulin Is Pure Evil

        April 2, 2018 at 11:25 am

        They’re all evil, cruel and disgusting, you stupid Chinese idiot.

  3. Avatar

    TigerClaw

    June 23, 2017 at 10:36 am

    This is sick …It’s gross I could never eat my pet …Dogs and cats are house animals they are a part of family…This needs to “Stop ” Stop making excuses of how this is a tradition in culture. Dogs are like humans they feel and think like us ….We live in a future here were not living the old ages !!! I respect every culture but not when it comes to eating a dog or cat or brutally killing them it’s disgusting. These people have no souls they have no feelings …They need education .

  4. Avatar

    TigerClaw

    June 23, 2017 at 10:55 am

    We all come from different cultures and we all have a tradition…But there’s a limit to everything …Some animals are not ment to be eaten, chicken and fish is not a dog or a cat …These animals are a lovable pets specially dogs they are very loyal to their human companions , they love you til the day you die…How dare you hear the cries of these sweet animals how can you bare it listening to their cries when they are being tortured alive…This is barbaric it’s disturbing. I read these articles and I can’t stop balling my eyes out . THIS NEEDS TO END NOW “STOP” KILLING DOGS AND CAT FOR GODDESS SAKE.!!!????????????????????

    • Avatar

      Dan

      July 4, 2018 at 10:53 am

      “Some animals are not meant to be eaten” I hope you realize one day that you are the reason this happens. That mentality of well some are okay to eat but some aren’t. Don’t you realize you are part of a whole group that eats animals, whether it is a dog or cat or chicken, it is wrong. And the Chinese will NEVER stop eating dogs until you stop eating chickens.

  5. Avatar

    Kelly Schadt-Kelly

    June 23, 2017 at 11:55 am

    I cannot understand the killing of dogs for the purpose of eating. I love my pet dog and could never sell her or have her slaughtered for meat. However, I do not oppose the act of consuming any animal for food. From what I understand, some cultures value cows, but I love beef hamburgers and steaks. I don’t see them picketing my local grocery for selling beef flank steaks! Still, the abuse of any animal before slaughter is horrendous! Why torture? In front of other animals? If it is truly for meat, the release of adrenaline ruins the taste of meat! Dumbass slaughters! No animal should be tortured, stolen, and brutalized before death for the pleasure of a crowd!

  6. Avatar

    Nikki

    June 27, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    To the people who say: “But you all probably eat other animals, that are also killed horribly, why is that okay? Blah, blah” I’m sure everyone knows that other animals are also killed. Yes, we know farm animals are often treated like shit. And yes many people do eat meat and still oppose dog meat. Why? Because dogs are NOT farm animals! “But everyone has different cultures and we eat animals that other cultures consdier saint”. Yea, but who says I agree with the meat industry as a whole? I myself don’t eat much meat, and try to buy from companies which have shown video footage of better care for their livestock. Besides, dogs have been a COMPANION animal for humans since the beginning of time. Look at all they’ve done for us! Guide the visually impaired, search and rescue, police work (locating drugs and bombs and helping officers catch criminals), therapy dogs who help patients with anxiety/depression or other disorders, helping men in war, protecting our homes, herding livestock or simply being SOMEONE’S BEST FRIEND. Have you ever seen a sheep or a cow do all that? No. I’m not saying I agree with how the meat industry treats them. But don’t use their suffering to justify this horrible cruelty. Why extend the number of animals getting toruted? Why not work towards kindness? And dogs sure as hell deserve better than this.

    • Avatar

      Yulin Is Pure Evil

      April 2, 2018 at 11:18 am

      They are ALL vile. Any cruelty to animals is wrong. You can’t say farm animals deserve it slightly more because they’re less intelligent, you’re being almost as bad as the Chinese. Think about it.

  7. Avatar

    lola

    July 23, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    For me it’s totally fine to kill dogs and eat them since everyone kills the cows/chicken and fish in a PAINFUL way and NO ONE CARES, Kill them all so people can stop being such HYPOCRITE

    • Avatar

      Yulin Is Pure Evil

      April 2, 2018 at 11:22 am

      Wow, you would let innocent animals suffer when they have NOTHING to do with the barbaric practises that go on world wide to other animals just to make a point. You obviously don’t care about animals at all and are like these evil people. You are disgusting.

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China and Covid19

Fresh Off the Boat, Xiamen Fish Are Tested for Covid-19

Catch of the day! These fish in Xiamen can’t escape their daily Covid test.

Manya Koetse

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It does not matter if you’re old or young, shrimp or fish – you can’t escape China’s zero-covid policy.

In the Jimei district of the coastal city of Xiamen, some fish and shrimp also had to do a nucleic acid test this week, leading to some banter on Chinese social media.

In the area, fishermen returning from a day of work have to undergo nucleic acid tests together with some of the fish that they caught during the day.

After the fishermen themselves have done the Covid test, they reportedly have to grab a few fresh fish from their catch of the day for the anti-epidemic workers to test. They open the mouth of the fish so that the fish can be tested with the cotton swab.

Chinese media outlet Sohu (搜狐新闻) posted a video about the issue on its Weibo account on August 17th, receiving over 90,000 likes and more than 8000 shares.

“I thought fish didn’t any lungs?” a popular comment said, with other commenters suggesting that this news made it clear that Covid “doesn’t affect the lungs but the brain instead.”

Another commenter suggested that if this matter concerned authorities, they should also start testing mosquitos.

Some also felt bad for the fish: “They still have to undergo this before getting killed.”

“The fish should be grateful for receiving a Covid test for free,” others wrote, while there were also people who wondered if parts of the sea would go into lockdown mode if some fish would test positive for Covid.

There were also critical commenters wondering about any scientific reasoning behind testing fish, asking who was getting paid to test them – suggesting commercial benefits outweigh scientific basis in this case.

“You can’t get Covid if you don’t have lungs, let alone if you live in the sea,” one Weibo user wrote, another person asking: “Have we all gone mad?”

By Manya Koetse
With contributions by Miranda Barnes

 

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China Animals

‘Welcome Home, Molly’ – Chinese Zoo Elephant Returns to Kunming after Online Protest

One small step for animal protection in China, one giant leap for Molly the elephant.

Manya Koetse

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Following online protest and the efforts of animal activists, Molly has returned to the Kunming Zoo where she was born and where mother elephant Mopo is.

The little elephant named Molly is a big topic of discussion on Chinese social media recently.

The popular Asian elephant, born in the Kunming Zoo in 2016, was separated from her mother at the age of two in April of 2018. Molly was then transferred from Kunming Zoo to Qinyang, Jiaozuo (Henan), in exchange for another elephant. Over the past few years, fans of Molly started voicing their concerns online as the elephant was trained to do tricks and performances and to carry around tourists on her back at the Qinyang Swan Lake Ecological Garden (沁阳天鹅湖生态园), the Qinyang Hesheng Forest Zoo (沁阳和生森林动物园), the Jiaozuo Forestry Zoo (焦作森林动物园), and the Zhoukou Safari Park (周口野生动物世界).

Since the summer of 2021, more people started speaking out for Molly’s welfare when they spotted the elephant chained up and seemingly unhappy, forced to do handstands or play harmonica, with Molly’s handlers using iron hooks to coerce her into performing.

Earlier this month, Molly became a big topic on Chinese social media again due to various big accounts on Xiaohongshu and Weibo posting about the ‘Save Molly’ campaign and calling for an elephant performance ban in China (read more).

Although zookeepers denied any animal abuse and previously stated that the elephant is kept in good living conditions and that animal performances are no longer taking place, Molly’s story saw an unexpected turn this week. Thanks to the efforts of online netizens, Molly fans, and animal welfare activists, Molly was removed from Qinyang.

A popular edited image of Molly that has been shared a lot online.

On May 15, the Henan Forestry Bureau – which regulates the holding of all exotic species, including those in city zoos – announced that Molly would return to Kunming in order to provide “better living circumstances” for the elephant. A day later, on Monday, Molly left Qinyang and returned to the Kunming Zoo where she was born. In Kunming, Molly will first receive a thorough health check during the observation period.

Official announcement regarding Molly by the Henan Forestry Administration.

Many online commenters were happy to see Molly returning home. “Finally! This is great news,” many wrote, with others saying: “Please be good to her” and “Finally, after four years of hardship, Molly will be reunited with her mother.”

Besides regular Weibo accounts celebrating Molly’s return to Kunming, various Chinese state media accounts and official accounts (e.g. the Liaocheng Communist Youth League) also posted about Molly’s case and wished her a warm welcome and good wishes. One Weibo post on the matter by China News received over 76,000 likes on Monday.

Although many view the effective online ‘Save Molly’ campaign as an important milestone for animal welfare in China, some animal activists remind others that there are still other elephants in Chinese zoos who need help and better wildlife protection laws. Among them are the elephant Kamuli (卡目里) and two others who are still left in Qinyang.

For years, animal welfare activists in China and in other countries have been calling for Chinese animal protection laws. China does have wildlife protection laws, but they are often conflicting and do not apply to pets and there is no clear anti-animal abuse law.

“I’ll continue to follow this. What are the next arrangements? What is the plan for Molly and the other elephants? How will you guarantee a safe and proper living environment?”

Another Weibo user writes: “This is just a first step, there is much more to be done.”

To follow more updates regarding Molly, check out Twitter user ‘Diving Paddler’ here. We thank them for their contributions to this article.

To read more about zoos and wildlife parks causing online commotion in China, check our articles here.

By Manya Koetse

References (other sources linked to within text)

Arcus Foundation (Ed.). 2021. State of the Apes: Killing, Capture, Trade and Ape Conservation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

China Daily. 2012. “Animal Rights Groups Seek Performance Ban.” China Daily, April 16 http://www.china.org.cn/environment/2012-04/16/content_25152066.htm [Accessed May 1 2022].

Li, Peter J. 2021. Animal Welfare in China: Culture, Politics and Crisis. Sydney: Sydney University Press.

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©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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