It is unimaginable to see that one of the most cruel human practices is still allowed in China and even "celebrated" under the guise of a festival.
The infamous annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival is now under way in the southern Chinese province of Guangxi, which is little more than 400km from Hong Kong. Even more unbelievable is that this abhorrent festival is now into its 10th year.
The current one, which began on June 21, will last for 10 horrifying days, during which up to 100,000 dogs, and sometimes cats, will be tortured and eaten. It is time to confront the realities of this cruel yearly custom, once more.
First, the brutal facts. It is estimated that around 25 to 30 million dogs are tortured and eaten every year in Asia. A large percentage of these animals are pets stolen from their owners. Some are abandoned pets that are sold to butchers while most are captured strays.
However, a piece of heart-warming news emerged ahead of this year's festival; just a few days before it opened, animal activists in mainland China managed to rescue 62 sick and malnourished canines from a Yulin backstreet slaughterhouse.
Not long after that, on the other side of the world, a petition with 1.5 million signatures organised by the Humane Society International and Care2 was delivered to the Chinese Embassy in London calling for a ban of the Yulin festival.
Most encouragingly, more supporting data has emerged to indicate that contrary to popular belief, dog meat consumption is not widely supported in China. Some opinion polls conducted across the country have indicated that most Chinese citizens are against the practice.
In 2016, the What's on Weibo website reported that 64 per cent of 2,000 respondents are against the Yulin Dog Festival. The survey interviewed people aged between 16 and 50 from 1,000 cities across China.
The same survey also concluded that 62 per cent of respondents felt that the festival is a detriment to China's international reputation, while around 51 per cent said the Chinese dog meat trade should be banned.
Sadly, even though it is not a cultural or common culinary practice, in desperate times, man's best friend would be sacrificed. For example, during the Cultural Revolution, when food was scarce families were told to either surrender their dogs to the authorities or eat them to save on feeding the pets as well as providing a food source.
It goes to show that there needs to be a fundamental mindset change, both on an individual and societal levels, to treat dogs as companion animals and classify them as such by law.
By elevating and legalising their status from pets to companion animals, it will hopefully give them better protection. It could also shift the general perception to see dogs not just as pets or property, but legitimate family members protected by law.
One factor that could lend significant support in this area of the fight is that dogs are now highly favoured as companion animals in many Chinese households. There are 75 million pet owners in China, of whom nearly half are dog owners. Therefore, legalising their status as companion animals would not see much resistance and would have society's support.
There is no doubt that the festival is perpetuated by the greed of dog meat traders. Some critics have even accused the Yulin government of using the festival to boost the local economy.
The world, as well as most Chinese citizens, have spoken out against this horrendous practice. The Chinese government can no longer afford to turn the other way or use the cultural aspect as an excuse. It is not an ancient cultural festival, therefore banning it is not an attack on Chinese traditions.
For those who want to see an end to the practice, they must apply pressure strategically. They need to appeal to not only the hearts and minds of the populace, but of the government to take decisive action such as categorising our four-legged friends as companion animals to give them full protection.
Dog lovers everywhere must stand up against this cruelty and stop dog meat traders from killing our "family members" with impunity.
Luisa Tam is a correspondent at the Post
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