Animal Rights in China

It seems there is a common misconception that Chinese people don’t treat animals well. When people mention animals in China, images like this one often pop up.

This picture taken on June 17, 2015 shows a woman selling dogs and cats by a street in Yulin, in southern China’s Guangxi province. People from Yulin traditionally celebrate the solstice during midsummer on the longest day of the year by eating dog meat and lychee fruit, which draws criticism from animal rights activists. (Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s true that in some cases, there is animal cruelty in China. For example, the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, an event that has garnered widespread negative attention from all over the world. And it’s true that understanding cultural relativity is part of accepting what people believe is normal. But it’s a whole other story if the dog meat being eaten is someone else’s stolen pet, or if the dog is being tortured before being killed, or both.

In fact, some people believe that if a dog experiences pain before being killed, the blood will circulate around its body, making it taste better. That must break some kind of law, right?

Fortunately, a lot of people in China have become more active in fighting for animal rights. Protests are on the rise.

Feline “Da Zai” sits upon his master’s shoulders as they attend a pro-animal rights rally in Hong Kong on January 13, 2013. The rally, organised on social media site Facebook, attracted around 1000 supporters who rallied for the police to take stronger action against the abuse of animals and to protect the rights of animals. (Photo by ANTONY DICKSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Actually, protesters have had success before. In 2011, the Jinhua Hutou Dog Meat Festival in Zhejiang province was banned. Public outcry forced the Chinese authorities’ hand; they eventually stopped the festival, which dated back six centuries in commemoration of some legendary battle.

Although the Yulin Dog Meat Festival has not been banned, it seems that things are looking up, as animal rights are becoming increasingly prominent, and the fight against animal cruelty is becoming more vocal and widespread.

In 2015, 65-year-old Yang Xiaoyun travelled 1,652 miles to rescue 100 dogs from the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. Her efforts, alongside those of many other activists, show the true affection for animals in China, and unveil a silver lining to the future of animal rights.

This picture taken on June 20, 2015 shows animal-loving Yang Xiaoyun (C) going around buying some 100 dogs at a market in Yulin, in southern China’s Guangxi province. Yang has paid more than 1,000 USD to prevent around 100 canines from being eaten ahead of a dog meat festival which has provoked outrage worldwide. (Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images)

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