Dogs as Pets, Not Meals

Tom Salyer/Alamy Stock Photo

Dog meat is considered a delicacy in parts of China, but there’s growing opposition to it. This year, amid pressure from animal rights groups and the rising number of Chinese who keep dogs as pets, the government issued a one-week ban on the sale of dog meat in Yulin, a city in southern China. The ban came in June, a week before Yulin’s annual dog meat festival, where about 10,000 dogs—most of them stolen pets—are inhumanely killed. Though dogs were banned as pets during China’s brutal Cultural Revolution (1966-76), China now ranks third in the world in dog ownership (behind Brazil and the U.S.). The brief ban on the sale of dog meat in Yulin is a start, but Western and Chinese animal rights activists are pressing for wider change. “The dog meat industry is an affront to young people in China,” says Peter Li of the Humane Society International. “Many [of them] have grown up with dogs in their homes.”