Selling dog meat for human consumption is legal in China, with an estimated 10 million dogs killed for human consumption every year.
The Yulin event is a source of pride for many locals, with many restaurants serving dog dishes and people travelling to the city to join in. But it attracts widespread and growing criticism each year.
A poll published this week in state news agency Xinhua showed that 64% of people aged 16 to 50 would support a permanent end to the festival.
Another 51.7%, including Yulin residents, wanted the dog meat trade banned completely, with 69.5% claiming to have never eaten dog meat.
“It’s embarrassing to us that the world wrongly believes that the brutally cruel Yulin festival is part of Chinese culture,” said Qin Xiaona, director of the Capital Animal Welfare Association charity, one of many groups that commissioned the survey. “It isn’t.”
Many activist groups, like Humane Society International (HSI) are also working to rescue dogs from local slaughterhouses. The HSI rescued 20 dogs from a slaughterhouse just a day ahead of the festival.
“It’s shocking to think that if we had not been there, all these animals would have been beaten to death and eaten,” said Peter Li, HSI’s China policy specialist.
On China’s Sina Weibo social network, the majority of netizens have voiced disapproval, with one user saying his dog was “family, not food”.
Please note that the video is very graphic and might not be suited for the weak hearted.