Stolen. Captured. Caged. Skinned. Cooked. Eaten.
This is a dog’s unfortunate fate at the annual Lychee and Dog Meat Festival in Yulin, China during the summer solstice — a celebration that some believe helps to repel summer heat and bring good luck. Thankfully, a ban is reportedly imminent in efforts to discontinue the infamous and inhumane mass slaughtering of animals.
Dogs are not the only meal spotted on the menu at the festival that started in 2010. Cats are killed and eaten, too. However, according to National Geographic, Chinese activists are unsure if the ban will cover cats.
Thousands of cats and dogs are brutally beaten to death during the festival’s 10-day run. Many of these animals are stolen pets, while others are strays. The uproar from advocacy groups to eschew the butchering of these animals has been growing.
Last year, a petition with 11 million signatures was presented to the Yulin government on behalf of several animal welfare organizations worldwide.
The ban is reportedly supported by Yulin’s new Party Secretary, Mo Gong Ming, and will go into effect June 15, a week before the festival’s commencement. Violators of the ban could suffer fines up to 100,000 in Chinese Yuan, or $14,500 in U.S. currency.
Peter Li, a Chinese policy specialist at Humane Society International, seems hopeful for the change but also questions the legitimacy of the ban due to a lack of written corroborating documentation from Yulin’s government.
“The Yulin dog meat festival is not over just yet, but if this news is true as we hope, it is a really big nail in the coffin for a gruesome event that has come to symbolize China’s crime-fueled dog meat trade,” said Li in a recent press release.
Sadly, thousands of domestic cats may still be subjected to the cruelty of the festival if not covered by the ban. Hopefully this outcry for change will also encourage others to advocate for felines.