NYC protests call for end to dog-eating festival in China

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MANHATTAN — Protesters gathered in Chinatown Friday to call for an end to a dog-meat festival in China.

For the past six years in Yulin, China, thousands of dogs have been sold and killed then eaten at the Lychee and Dog Festival. In Yulin, dogs are sold for about $60 each to butchers who can then double their money by selling the animal’s meat.

In New York City, animal rights activists are putting pressure on the Chinese government to end the festival. A group called Global Strays along with the Suffolk County SPCA wrapped dogs in purple ribbons to send a message and raise awareness.

In an interview with the New York Times in 2015, a Yulin resident said the dish is normal to them, even if Americans know dogs solely as companion creatures.

“I understand the other point of view,” Tang Chenfei told the Times. “Many people feel a special bond with dogs. But we grew up around dog meat. For us, it’s normal.”

Dog meat is not widely consumed in China, the Times reported, but is eaten in parts of the far south and north.

In a statement to TIME Magazine in 2014, a Yulin government spokesperson said: “The so-called summer solstice lychee dog meat festival does not exist. … Neither Yulin government nor social organization have ever held such activities.”

For more information on the Humane Society International’s protest against the festival, click here.