Despite rumours of being banned by the authorities, the highly controversial dog meat festival in China began on June 21, 2017. Animal rights groups claimed that the festival which took place during the summer solstice was banned and later went on to claim that a limit of two dogs per stay was imposed.According to reports by BBC, vendors deny having received any such communication from the authorities and according to reports, in Dongkou market, the biggest in the city, hundreds of dogs were butchered and cooked in broad daylight.
Although the festival is only ten years old , the tradition of dog meat consumption is over 400 years old and is believed to aid in beating the summer heat.
The Dogs are allegedly transported in crammed cages from all over China ahead of the festival and are often subjected to acts of extreme cruelty as it is believed that fear enhances the taste of the meat. Animal welfare activists also argue that many of the dogs that are butchered are stolen pets. Activists have however noted that there is a significant decrease in the number of animals that lose their lives to this cruel practice. People’s stand on the consumption of dog meat has changed with a substantial increase in the number of pet dogs with as many as 62 million registered dog companions.
In a report to the Times of India, Liu, a Yulin resident in his 40s and an owner of seven dogs said, “They just won’t sell it to people they don’t know well. It’s just a bit more under wraps”.
The Yulin government’s response to the matter was that since the festival was not officially organised by them and also since the consumption of dog meat was not illegal in China, they could not prohibit it.
image1-Dog carcasses on display in the market
image2-Dog meat stew being served at the fest
image courtesy-AFP/getty images
Sources-The Times of India, BBC
The protests over People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ (PETA) stand on Jallikattu that have taken over the State of of Tamil Nadu have stretched its arms to Pune, with supporters flocking to the city’s streets on Saturday. The Chakan area saw several hundred protesters expressing their displeasure of PETA’s interference in the traditional practice.
Focusing on the importance of cultural sensitivity in such issues and expressing displeasure over the government’s decision, the leader of the protest at Chakan, Ramkrishna Takalkar of Takalkarwadi said to the Indian Express, “We love our animals. We can’t think of treating them cruelly. We take great care of them. But PETA, which is an American organisation, is charging us with ill-informed allegations. They don’t know our culture.” Takalkar, who owns bulls that participate in races, added that this decision could directly affect the lives of farmers.
Jalikkattu brings opportunities for small farmers from the dry regions of Maan in Satara and Jat, Khanapur in Sangli districts who rear Khilar breed of bulls. These bulls are sold to the owners of racing carts. The price may range between Rs 20,000 and Rs one lakh, based on the quality of animals. Income from this serves as an additional economic leverage to several families of the arid regions.
In Pune especially, special care is taken so as to not harm the animals. In an effort to ensure that the animals are not victims of any form of physical abuse, no person is allowed to ride on the carts. The bulls are given a free run, reflects Takalkar.