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Earlier this year, animal advocates — including celebrities like Lisa Vanderpump — celebrated the banning of dog meat sales at China’s Yulin Festival, an event infamous for slaughtering and selling thousands of pets each year.
Humane Society International shared the welcomed news, reporting that a ban on dog meat sales was in the works ahead of this year’s festival, which is scheduled to begin this week, with fines of 100,000 yuan for those who violate the ban.
Unfortunately, Animals Asia is now reporting that this initial news is wrong. According to the animal welfare organization, Yulin authorities are denying a ban on dog meat sales will be placed on the festival.
The city officials shared this upsetting announcement with The Beijing News on June 15, the date the rumored ban was scheduled to start. Staff of the Yulin Publicity Department told the paper there would be no ban, because the Yulin festival is not an authorized event, so the government doesn’t have the power to call it off, reports Animals Asia.
A celebration of the summer solstice, the Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat Festival was at one time supported by the local government to boost the city’s economy, but the government has since distanced itself from the festival due to the controversy surrounding the event.
The festival has continued as an informal event since 2014, and unfortunately, it looks like this year will be no different.
“It seems likely there will not be an overt ban on dog meat sales in the city of Yulin during this year’s summer solstice. However, we do believe that the government has had enough and wants to end the global association of Yulin city with the minority practice of eating dog meat. The will may be there – but as long as dog meat eating is legal in China it is difficult for any one locality to issue its own ban,” Animals Asia’s Cat and Dog Welfare Director Irene Feng said in a statement. “It’s possible that this year the Yulin government did indeed try to implement a soft ban and issued it verbally, but due to the leak their intentions to be discrete were made more difficult.”
Feng goes on to say that she hopes this set back with the Yulin festival encourages animal advocates to work on banning dog meat sales as a whole throughout the world, not just in one location.
“That is the real issue and it requires a consistent and holistic approach – it can’t be solved in a week,” she said.