Cities across the world celebrate different holidays. One of these holidays that is celebrated is Summer Solstice. Summer Solstice celebrates the onset of summer while bringing in the longest day of the year. It typically occurs around June 21st for countries in the northern hemisphere and around December 22 for countries in the southern hemisphere. There are celebrations throughout the world including the United States, South Africa, Colombia, and more. But one of these celebrations is creating a huge uproar, and for good reason. That celebration is the Chinese Dog-Eating Festival. While eating dog meat in China is not illegal, they are trying to pass laws to make it illegal. Back in 2009, there was a law proposed that would punish animal abusers 6000 yuan (over $900) and also give them two weeks of detention when caught. And if an organization is found guilty of selling dog or cat meat, they would also be fined between 10,000 – 500,000 yuan, which equals about $1600 – $80,000. The problem with this law, is that it has never been signed. Often times, dogs are either stolen, abducted, or raised on dog farms, so it’s difficult to determine what the use of these dogs is actually for. That’s where 65-year-old retired teacher Yang Xiaoyum comes into play. Here is her story along with what she’s doing to stop this festival, if possible.
Yang Xiaoyun is a retired school teacher who is determined to stop the dog slaughter all together, but especially during the Chinese Dog-Eating Festival.
During this festival, over 10,000 dogs are eaten.
The dogs are cooked, then eaten by people attending this festival.
Rather than sitting back and letting them do whatever they’d like with these dogs, Xiaoyun decided she needed to step up to protect these dogs.
She decided to travel 1500 miles to the city of Yulin, and then spent 7000 yuan ($1100) of her own money to rescue 100 dogs.
She purchased a lot of the dogs from dog-meat dealers, which is definitely a controversial occupation in Yulin.
She took these rescued dogs back to her shelter, which she calls Common Home. She currently has 1,000 dogs that she is taking care of.
Oftentimes, the rescued dogs need a lot of medical attention. Xiaoyun provides that as well.
Currently her shelter is very dependent on volunteers, along with donations to continue the operations and rescue missions.
To feed the dogs she has at the shelter, she makes steamed corn bread two times a day.
While it may not seem like much, it’s all she can afford and all that she can do at this time.
Xiaoyun and her volunteers go around checking on all of the dogs, feeding them, and making sure they are as healthy as possible.
When the volunteers arrive, the dogs are very excited about the extra attention.
Xiaoyun tries to provide the animals with treats on the weekends, if the funds are available.
The reason they eat dog meat in China is because they believe dog meat will stimulate internal heat, which means it’ll help keep the common cold away. During the festival, they believe it’ll bring good luck and health.
This year, it’s believed that they started the festival a week early because there were so many protestors. Even street vendors and restaurants who were rumored to be selling dog meat, covered up the Chinese character for dog in hopes of avoiding the controversy.
Chinese authorities have banned dog-eating festivals in the past. In 2011, they banned the Jinhua Hutou Dog Meat Festival after they received a lot of criticism through social media.
The Jinhua Hutou Dog Meat Festival was held every year in honor of the 14th century battle victory. It started because a rebel leader ordered that all the dogs in Jinhua be slaughtered because their barking had alerted the city of his army’s approach.
When the city of Yulin was contacted, the Yulin Municipal People’s Government issued a statement saying that while there have been small gatherings where people have eaten dog meat, a widespread festival has never existed.
“The so-called summer solstice lychee dog meat festival does not exist. Neither Yulin government nor social organizers have ever held such activities,” according the Yulin Municipal People’s Government.
Xiaoyun is currently taking donations to help her shelter and her cause. You can donate through a direct bank wire transfer to her bank. As always, please double-check the cause you are donating to in order to ensure the safety of your funds and how they are used.
While eating cat and dog meat may be common in China, the attitude towards this tradition is changing. People are slowly lessening the amount of cat and dog meat in their diets. By protesting such festivals, they are gaining global attention and will eventually be forced to change their ways.