Made in Chelsea’s Lucy Watson, Emmerdale’s Gemma Atkinson, comedian Ricky Gervais, actors Brian Blessed and Jenny Seagrove, TV vet Marc Abraham, singers Sandi Thom and Rumer, and naturalist Chris Packham, are the latest celebrities to tweet a ‘dog selfie’ in support of Humane Society International's #StopYulin campaign to end China’s annual Yulin dog meat festival on June 21st.
The stars are urging their fans to sign HSI’s online petition to Chinese President Xi Jinping to halt the Yulin festival where as many as 10,000 dogs are expected to be killed and eaten. Between them, the celebrities have generated hundreds of RTs and petition shares.
Lucy Watson and her German Spitz Klein, Digby, added their selfie on Twitter and Instagram. Lucy said: “No animal deserves to be abused and mutilated the way the dogs in the meat festival are and to think that could be my dog/best friend, Digby, is unbearable. Something needs to be done, we cannot sit back and watch this cruelty continue.”
More than 10 million dogs are killed every year across China for their meat. Most of them are stolen pets and strays grabbed from the streets, still wearing their collars when they reach the slaughterhouses where they are beaten to death in front of each other.
Singer Sandi Thom said that her Labrador-beagle mix Laddie inspired her to support HSI’s efforts to end China’s dog meat trade: “I feel so passionate about this issue. Laddie trusts me 100 per cent to treat him with respect and kindness because thank goodness that’s all he’s ever known. But once these poor dogs fall into the hands of the meat traders, they have absolutely no-one but us to speak up for them. How can we be silent in the face of such blatant cruelty?”
Most people in China don’t eat dogs, and as the Yulin festival approaches, protests and candlelit vigils are expected to take place across the country. On 14 May in China’s city of Dalian, 100,000 people protested against the Yulin festival. Dog lovers in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Dalian are increasingly angered by dog thieves who steal their pets for the meat trade.
Chris Packham, who posed with his poodles Itchy & Scratchy for his #StopYulin selfie, said: “It’s completely wrong to think that people in China don’t care about their dogs like we do. Millions of people across China want the cruel dog meat trade to end, and they are incredibly angry and upset to have their much-loved pets stolen by dog thieves. The annual Yulin dog slaughter is a hideous event, deliberate cruelty to animals in the name of a festival. I hope the Chinese authorities shut it down for good.”
The celebrity dog selfies are the latest phase in HSI’s awareness raising #StopYulin campaign that launched earlier this month with a thought-provoking video featuring Alesha Dixon, Will Young and Professor Green. The two minute video, in which the stars are accompanied by their beloved dogs, shows a pet dog being dragged into a van by thieves, dogs packed tightly into small wire cages on trucks, and Yulin market stalls where dog carcasses are hung for sale.
Claire Bass, executive director of HSI/UK, said: “We hope to gather millions of signatures against the grisly Yulin festival. Across the world, people are uniting to urge Xi Jingping to direct resources to end the cruel and largely illegal dog meat trade. Our call for action will only get stronger, as we stand united with our Chinese partner groups in saying we must #StopYulin.”
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.