The annual dog-meat festival in China took-off today. Activists, however, are hoping that this would be the last edition of the festival that lasts for ten days.
On April 10, China removed dogs and bats along with other animals from the list of animals that cannot be consumed for meat. However, China's notorious dog meat festival has opened in defiance of a government campaign to improve animal welfare and reduce risks to health highlighted by the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to a Reuters report.
The annual festival in the city of Yulin usually attracts thousands of visitors, but, this year the footfall has lowered. Visitors buy dogs, who are on display in cramped cages for the pot.
Peter Li, China policy specialist with the Humane Society International, an animal rights group said, "Allowing mass gatherings to trade in and consume dog meat in crowded markets and restaurants in the name of a festival poses a significant public health risk."
After international outrage on China’s meat consumption culture, which seemed to have been the case of the coronavirus, authorities moved to ban trade and consumption of wildlife animals.
Zhang Qianqian, an animal rights activist said it was only a matter of time before the dog-meat festival was banned.
“From what we understand from our conversations with meat sellers, leaders have said the consumption of dog meat won't be allowed in future,” she said.
According to Humane Society International, more than 30 million dogs are butchered in Asia each year for their meat.