In a monumental move, the infamous dog meat-eating festival in Yulin, south China, has reportedly been banned from selling dog meat to visitors. The controversial event has been at the forefront of several scandals for – you guess it – administering dog meat to festival-goers for decades.
Despite years of backlash from animal rights protesters, it appears that this June's Lychee and Dog Meat Festival will be the first celebration where no dog meat will be dished up.
National Geographic reports that the Humane Society International and the advocacy group Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project, said in a May 17 press release, that the festival is positioned "to prohibit restaurants, street vendors and market traders from selling dog meat at the event."
Although facing international opposition and widespread criticism, the sale, preparation and consumption of dog and cat meat is a tradition in the China region. The Yulin festival itself is a fairly new phenomenon, however – it was founded in 2010.
Rumor has it that the dogs sold at the festival are stolen from their owners and some still wear collars. Animal rights advocates argue that the way animals are killed at Yulin is unparalleled to animal cruelty elsewhere in the world.
However, contrary to media myths, not everybody in China is thrilled about the dog meat trade. In fact, young people in the country, in particular, are highly opposed to the consumption of dog meat.
Andrea Gung, executive director of Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project commented on the prospective ban:
"Even if this is a temporary ban, we hope this will have a domino effect, leading to the collapse of the dog meat trade.
This ban is consistent with my experience that Yulin and the rest of the country is changing for the better."
However, Yulin officials did not confirm the ban when questioned by the press, according to National Geographic. And yet, animal rights advocates who hope the ban is legit say that the ban would be a "nail in the coffin" for the eating of dog meat in the country.
Back in 2014, a Change.org petition garnered nearly 4.5 million supporters of ending the tradition, including animal loving celebrities Ricky Gervais, Leona Lewis and Richard Marx.
While eating dog meat is still legal in China – as it is in multiple U.S. states – it is an illegal act to steal it. Hopefully, if the ban does go ahead for years to come, we can carve a future where neither is a reality.