Feature China/Barcroft Media/Getty
May 17, 2017 03:31 PM

China’s Yulin Festival, infamous for brutally killing thousands of dogs and cats each year in order to sell their meat, is set to ban the sale of dog meat just weeks ahead of the 2017 event.

According to Humane Society International, animal campaigners have received reports from fellow activists in China that the Yulin government is set to prohibit festival vendors and traders from selling dog meat. These reports have also been confirmed by three traders from one of Yulin’s biggest dog meat markets.

HSI believes it is Yulin’s new Party Secretary, Mr. Mo Gong Ming, who is pushing the ban forward and that the new restrictions will be put into effect on June 15, just one week before the Yulin festival starts, with up to 100,000 yuan fines for those who violate the ban. 

After fighting for years to end the cruel practices behind the Yulin festival, HSI and other animal rights organizations are cautiously celebrating this news. The ban would not put an end to Yulin’s large year-round dog meat trade, but this move would be a huge victory for the campaign working to end the practice of slaughtering dogs and cats for their meat for good.

“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. Millions of dogs and cats are stolen each year, including pets, and driven thousands of miles across China to be bludgeoned to death in front of each other. As opposition to this trade has grown within China and across the world, much focus has been placed on the Yulin festival and so it is significant politically that the authorities are taking the outrage to curb this cruelty seriously,” Peter Li, China Policy specialist at Humane Society International, said in a statement. 

The next step for the HSI is working with Yulin authorities to make this ban permanent and continue to educate others about the atrocities committed to get dog meat. Not only are thousands of animal brutally killed each year, many of these victims are pets stolen from China’s pet owners.

These reports are welcome news to animal lovers across the globe, including many celebrities like Lisa Vanderpump, Ricky Gervais and the late Carrie Fisher.

“There is so much animal suffering in the world, and much of it you feel helpless to end. But stopping the Yulin dog meat festival and ending all that suffering is easy. All the Chinese authorities need to do is declare it shut down, and the killing stops. These poor dogs need us to fight for them. Every single one of them is as precious as my dear Gary, every one of them is someone’s best friend,” Fisher said last year at an event to petition the Yulin festival held outside the Chinese Embassy in London. 

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