The Yulin Dog Meat Festival has been traumatizing dog lovers ever since the horrific tradition started back in 2010. The cruelty that takes place at this festival is unparalleled anywhere else in the world. Anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 dogs, many stolen from owners and still wearing collars, are rounded up, stuffed into tiny cages, and then bludgeoned, electrocuted or stabbed to death.

Animals Asia

The festival, officially known as the Yulin lychee and dog meat festival, originated in 2010 to mark the summer solstice and help dog meat traders increase profits. At its peak popularity, it is said that 10,000 to 15,000 dogs were slaughtered. These numbers have since dropped between 1,000 and 3,000 dogs. Cats are often killed too.

The Yulin festival is about to take place again, but there’s a new ban in town this year that’ll hopefully complicate things. The new ban goes into effect on June 15, just one week before the festival is scheduled to start. The ban prohibits street vendors, markets and restaurants from selling dog meat. Anyone caught selling dog meat will be fined up to 100,000 yuan ($15,000) and placed under arrest.

“Even if this is a temporary ban, we hope this will have a domino effect, leading to the collapse of the dog meat trade,” said Andrea Guang, the executive director of Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project, an anti-dog and cat meat activist group. “This ban is consistent with my experience that Yulin and the rest of the country is changing for the better.”

This is the first time the festival has faced government regulations, and some people are doubtful that the rules will stick. Ms. Tan, the owner of Three-Six Delicious Meat Restaurant in Yulin, told TIME, “Eating dog has been Yullin people's tradition for quite a long time. I haven’t heard our government will stop the festival, or stop the selling of dog meat."

Eating dog meat dates back pretty far in China’s history, but that doesn’t mean it must stay that way. Many claim that China’s urban culture is changing, as more people become dog owners and dog lovers.

According to Peter Li, a China Policy specialist at Humane Society International, “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.”

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