Chinese and international animal campaigners gathered outside the Yulin government office in Beijing to present the largest ever petition to end China’s annual Yulin dog meat festival. Humane Society International, VShine and Beijing Mothers Against Animal Cruelty submitted the more than 11 million-signature petition which also included signatures from Canadian group RaiseURPaw, U.S.-based Duo Duo Project, Care2 and Avaaz.

More than 10 million dogs are killed every year across China for their meat, with thousands set to die for the annual dog meat festival in Yulin on June 21st. Most of the dogs are stolen pets and strays grabbed from the streets, still wearing their collars when they reach the slaughterhouse where they are typically beaten to death. Most people in China don’t eat dogs, and there have been numerous violent clashes between pet owners and dog thieves.

Chinese animal campaigners who vehemently oppose the Yulin dog meat festival, and who initiate protests and dog rescues all year round, warmly welcomed the 11 million-signature petition. In the last few weeks alone, some 500 dogs have been rescued from trucks headed for slaughter by activists from China Animal Protection Power set up with the help of HSI. Many of the dogs were pure breeds such as golden retriever and huskies who were still wearing their pet collars.

From Beijing, HSI’s China policy specialist Peter Li, Ph.D, will head to Yulin to shine a global spotlight on the suffering and to rescue dogs wherever possible.

Five facts about the Yulin dog meat festival

1.    It’s not a traditional festival, it was only invented in 2010 by dog traders to boost profits
2.    Before the festival started, Yulin had no history of mass dog slaughter and consumption
3.    Thirty million dogs a year are killed across Asia for their meat, some 10-20million in China alone, and thousands die just for Yulin
4.    The World Health Organisation warns that the dog trade spreads rabies and increases the risk of cholera 20-fold
5.    Dog meat is only eaten infrequently by less than 20 per cent of the Chinese population

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