According to a report by China Commercial Information Research, around 10 million to 20 million dogs are abused and killed every year across China for their meat. Most of these animals are stolen pets and strays grabbed from the streets, still wearing their collars when they reach the slaughterhouses where they are typically beaten to death in front of each other. Most people in China don’t eat dogs, and Chinese opposition to this cruel and largely illegal trade is mounting.
The stars and their canine companions are backing the #StopYulin campaign by animal charity Humane Society International, and calling on the public to sign and share their petition urging Chinese President Xi Jinping to halt the Yulin festival and spare thousands of dogs and cats expected to be killed for this brutal event.
The two minute video, filmed for HSI by The Media Trust on location at the dog-friendly Blacks Club Soho, shows Alesha with her cocker spaniels Rosie and Prince, Will with his border terrier Esme and standard dachshund Nelly, and Professor Green with old tyme bulldog, Arthur.
Alesha Dixon says: “I am absolutely horrified by the Yulin festival so I’m proud to support HSI’s #StopYulin campaign and their work all year round to end the dog meat trade. How anyone can call the barbaric slaughter of thousands of helpless dogs and cats a festival is beyond me. Many of these poor animals are stolen pets, who must be utterly bewildered and terrified by their ordeal, and their owners must be frantic knowing what a dreadful fate awaits their beloved companions. There are no animal protection laws in China whatsoever, so these animals need the world to speak out for them and implore the Chinese government to end this appalling spectacle of cruelty. Please join me in signing Humane Society International’s #StopYulin petition.”
Far from being a traditional event, the Yulin festival was launched as recently as 2010 for commercial rather than cultural reasons. Previous to that, and much like the rest of China, dog meat was rarely eaten in Yulin. The festival was invented by dog meat traders to boost flagging sales, and endorsed by local authorities in the hope of attracting tourism – a gamble that has spectacularly backfired as Yulin has become infamous globally as symbolic of China’s gruesome dog meat trade.
Will Young says: “Esme and Nelly mean the world to me, so when Humane Society International asked me to support #StopYulin, I said yes straight away. The thought of them being stolen, crammed onto the back of a truck in a tiny cage, and ending up terrified in a Yulin slaughterhouse, is heart-breaking. HSI works in partnership with Chinese campaigners representing the millions of Chinese citizens who want this awful trade to end too. They have my support, please give them yours too.”
HSI has travelled to Yulin many times to shine a global spotlight on the plight of animals who end up there as part of the illegal dog and cat meat trade, and to rescue animals wherever possible. They will return to China to present the #StopYulin petition, and travel to Yulin in seven weeks’ time when this year’s festival begins.
Professor Green says: “I don’t understand the mentality of people who treat animals so cruelly, and I really admire Humane Society International and their Chinese activists for stopping illegal dog meat trucks and rescuing the animals. It’s all too easy to look away and say it’s culture, but the truth is most people in China don’t eat dogs and the Yulin festival is out of step with a new generation of Chinese people who want a new culture of compassion.”
As part of its campaign to end the dog meat trade, HSI helped to set up China Animal Protection Power, a team of Chinese activists dedicated to rescuing dogs from illegal dog meat trucks carrying mostly stolen pets headed to slaughter, and assisting the network of animal shelters across China that take in the rescued dogs and cats. Regular adoption days see many of them rehomed inside China, while HSI has flown others to find new loving homes in the United States.
Xing Hai, a Chinese activist working with HSI, said: “I’m ashamed of China’s Yulin dog meat festival — it stains our reputation around the world and it doesn’t represent the modern China that my generation wants to see. The dogs and cats who end up in this trade endure an unimaginable amount of suffering, including deliberate pain in the misguided belief that the more they suffer, the better their meat will taste. These old fashioned ways of treating animals need to end, which is why we are so happy that people all over the world are supporting our efforts. It means a lot to us.”
You can support the #StopYulin campaign in these two simple ways:
• Sign and share the #StopYulin petition at www.hsi.org/stopyulin
• Text WOOF03 £3 (or any other amount) to 70070 to donate to help HSI save dogs.