The Yulin Festival takes place every year in China, and this year the country is poised to ban the traditional sale of dog meat.


Thousands of dogs and cats are killed for their meat every year at this controversial festival. People have been calling to end the festival for years, and the government has finally taken action. A temporary ban of selling cat and dog meat will come into effect on June 15, and will affect street vendors, restaurants, and market traders. Fines of up to 100,000 yuan ($14,508) will be imposed for violations, and anyone caught selling dog meat could be arrested.

The Human Society International (HSI) received confirmation of the ban from activists, traders, and the Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project. It is assumed the ban has been brought forth by the Yulin government’s new Party Secretary Mo Gong Ming.

HSI’s China policy specialist Peter Li released a statement on this year’s festival: “The Yulin dog meat festival is not over just yet, but if this news is true as we hope, it is a really big nail in the coffin for a gruesome event that has come to symbolise China’s crime-fuelled dog meat trade. Millions of dogs and cats are stolen each year, including pets, and driven thousands of miles across China to be bludgeoned to death in front of each other. As opposition to this trade has grown within China and across the world, much focus has been placed on the Yulin festival and so it is significant politically that the authorities are taking the outrage to curb this cruelty seriously. At last year’s Yulin festival there were roadblocks set up to deter dog trucks coming in, and now this ban signals further progress.”

There has been photo and video evidence of traders hacking up the animals while they are still alive, and some killed in front of other animals. The dogs are kept in cramped cages seeped with blood from previous inhabitants. Few hygienic practices are upheld with the meat, and reports of dog and cat theft rises around the time, leading to the suspicion that traders steal family pets to kill and sell.

But with this ban, Andrea Gung of Duo Duo has high hopes for the future of the dog meat trade. “Even if this is a temporary ban, we hope this will have a domino effect, leading to the collapse of the dog meat trade,” she said. “I hope this will turn out to be the beginning of the end of the dog eating habit in China.”