*Graphic warning* Oktoberfest-like dog meat festival called off due to public aversion
Organized dog meat consumption, a 600-year-old tradition in the city of Jinhua, Zhejiang province, was met with strong criticism after gruesome pictures of mass slaughter of dogs on the street for previous events put off most netizens and antagonized animal protection organizations. The city government eventually announced that the annual festival will fold for good.
It is said that the dog meat festival dates back to the end of Yuan Dynasty. This year, it is scheduled from October 18 to 20.
(All pictures have been resized on purpose to minimize their impact. Click to enlarge.)
A net user who goes by the name “wo dandan de shang,” (“My slight pain”) published a post on Tianya, one of China’s most popular and thriving discussion forum, in which pictures of the dog meat festival are featured. “October is coming again, Qianxi county of Jinhua holds a dog meat festival on the 22nd day of the ninth month in the lunar calendar each year. Every time I think about this day, I feel anxious and scared.” The net user wrote.
“My slight pain” went on, “I remember that poor doggies were gathered together and waited to be slaughtered. After they were bludgeoned to death, some were roasted, some boiled. I keep trembling at the mere thought of it.”
“Tears flowed from eyes of some doggies when they were faced with batons of the vendors. I truly hope that people will no longer eat dog meat, and no more dog meat festival,” the user wrote.
The post, together with its disturbing pictures, has generated immense repercussions on the web. It has been reposted and shared on different Chinese social media and discussion forums. In Sina Weibo, over 34,000 users forwarded the microblog post.
Li Ying, deputy director of the local propaganda department, explained that the so-called dog meat festival has always been unofficial. “The government has never undertaken this festival,” Li said.
“Many of the dogs came from animal farms in the neighboring Jiangxi province. Besides, we can rule out the possibility that a small number of them were stolen,” Li Ying.
According to the local government, the dog meat festival is never an independent festival. It is a byproduct of a trade fair. The trade fair morphed from a temple fair adjacent to a temple where the first emperor and empress of Ming Dynasty are enshrined. The folklore says that when the emperor was still a rebel against the ruling Yuan Dynasty, he rewarded his troops with dog meat after victory of a war, which took place in the city of Jinhua. Since then, dog meat has remained a local specialty.
However, after meat of poisoned dogs was brought to light, many businesses began to kill dogs in the full blaze of publicity to tout their freshly killed dog.
A survey of residents in the county conducted by the government in the wake of the controversy found that a majority are opposed to slaughtering dogs on the street. Some of them even find the trade fair has lost its meaning in an era when commodities are well circulated.
However, some netizens also frowned upon the decision to cancel the festival. “There are many dog meat festivals in Guangdong and Guangxi provinces, which shows the trend of dog meat is far from weak. You can call it a tradition or a custom. It’s just eating dog, which has nothing to do with moral ethics,” said net user “Ton-Gogo.” Net user “Jiang Xiaoguang” asked the rhetorical question, “They both are animals. Why cattle, mild and docile as they are, deserve to be slaughtered? The dog meat festival is cruel. So pork festival, beef festival, lamb festival and seafood festival are not?”
“If things go on like this, donkey meat can’t be eat. And when chicken meat and pork can’t be eaten, (you) will find rice and wheat have life too. I think it is a paradox. So from now on, rat poison and fly swatters cannot be sold?” net user “Tell you the future” said, “It’s not that I have no compassion. But the festival is a thing of multiple generations, and seems to pose no threat to the biodiversity.”