Earlier this week, the southern Chinese city of Yulin played host to the much despised annual dog meat festival. The festival, that celebrates the beginning of the summer solstice, sees as many as 10,000 dogs slaughtered in the name of good luck and prosperity.
The dogs, usually consumed with lychees, have been a point of contention for animal rights activists around the world since the early 1990’s when Yulin first began to harvest the animals for its ‘festival’.
Unsurprisingly, the event has seen a global reaction, with a Change.org petition asking the Yulin government to cancel the festival, receiving more than 1.4million signatures.
Yang Xiaoyun, a 65-year-old retired school teacher was disgusted by the atrocities and decided to travel to the city to save as many dogs as possible.
She travelled over 2,500 kilometres and spent her savings of $1100 to purchase more than 100 dogs with the hope of sparing at least a few of the animals, who were set to meet a tragic death.
Yang has been an animal activist since 1995, when she began taking in stray dogs and cats and giving them shelter and food. At the moment, she counts 1,500 dogs and 200 cats as her own – where they all live at her “Common Home For All”. The farm, which she owns on the outskirts of the northeastern city of Tianjin, is the result of having to move over ten times, after going into debt trying to save her beloved animals.
“I don’t have a home now, where the dogs go my home is,” she said in an interview with the Times.
Despite the protests from international communities and governments, as well outcry from internal media, the festival went ahead as planned and will unfortunately continue for many years to come unless drastic change occurs with the mentality of traditionalists.