The northern city of Yulin in China has become the center of merchants for the Yulin dog meat festival as they offer up animal meat to potential buyers. The animals are transported alive inside confined cages.

According to Express UK, the festival is not a cultural event as the country only started celebrating it in 2009.

Butchered alive

Countless videos have surfaced since then, showing the apparent brutality of the event where rows of dogs are strung up before being blowtorched alive.

The Humane Society International stated on Friday that its activists in the Chinese nation observed carcasses of dogs lined up on tables and being butchered. The actions defy a statement by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture last month that banned the consumption of dog meat for humans.

China's government announced last month that they considered dogs as companions and not food which suggested a ban on consumption of dog meat was coming soon.

The cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai became the first in the country to officially make the dog meat festival an illegal activity in April.

The ministry of agriculture added that they classified dogs as pets and not livestock, whose effect remains to be seen on the Yulin trade market.

The society, however, revealed that compared to last year, they saw less activity within the festival this year.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned that the event increases the possibility of spreading rabies and a heightened risk of cholera as reported by Independent UK.

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In China, on the other hand, eating dog meat has historical foundations that go back four centuries. Recently, however, the consumption of the animals has resulted in criticisms from activists, celebrities, and other Chinese citizens.

The festival could not be stopped as it is not an official event, said the Yulin Municipal Government.

Against the festival

In a 2017 survey, it could be seen that nearly 75% of Yulin residents do not eat dog meat frequently despite the continuous marketing of merchants. A study in 2016 also showed that 64% of Chinese citizens supported the shutting down of the festival, and 69.5% have never had dog meat in their lives.

Reuters reports that a specialist with the Humane Society International, Peter Li, said he hopes for the removal of the festival not only for the animals' sake but also to ensure the safety and health of the citizens.

The lower activity of this year's festival, however, could be linked to the recent coronavirus outbreak and the resulting lockdown restrictions implemented.

UK director of Humane Society International, Claire Bass, told reporters that the city of Yulin is only a small example of a much larger issue that activists are trying to stop.

Bass added that contrary to what people in the West believe, the majority of Chinese citizens do not consume dog meat and are actually horrified by the event that takes man's best friend as a delicacy.

An online petition is calling for the end of the horrific festival which has acquired the signatures of more than 1.5 million people.

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