The annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival is fast approaching and it’s causing a huge stir on social media.
Hundreds of thousands of people from all around the world have been taking to Twitter and Facebook to show their adamant disapproval of the annual festival held in Guangxi, China. Since May, almost a quarter of a million tweets have been posted using the hashtag #StopYulin2015. A petition on change.org from Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project voicing strong opposition to what they call a “barbaric festival,” has received more than almost 1.5 million signatures. Their YouTube video for the campaign has been viewed more than 130,000 times.
Anti-dog meat chatter is also really active on Facebook. The #StopYulin2015 Social Media Group, based in Michigan, is a community of over 16,000 that is helping to raise awareness. Christine Snow, founder of the group, says their main goal is to stop the festival using “e-Activism.” Her team of 11 is spread out over five continents and their messages are translated into 8-9 languages.
No To Dog Meat (NTDM), based in the UK, is a campaign arm of the UK Registered World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade and has more than has 11,000 likes on Facebook.
“Every year we work on social media, mainstream media and political campaigns to help publicize and ban Yulin Dog Eating Festival. Most importantly, though, we support Chinese activists and lawyers with paperwork and documents they take to the Chinese National People’s Congress,” says Volunteer Admin Ali Dolloso.
So far, NTDM has had two Tweet storms with #StopYulin The most recent one, Dolloso says, was very effective and helped gain media attention in the political arena.
The government of Yulin city has denied that it supports or sponsors the festival. Last year in June, in an effort to address widespread complaints, the government asked restaurants to cover over signage advertising dog meat for sale. Additionally, doctors and food safety staff were advised not to eat dog meat that month.
The food festival began as a promotion by Guangxi Media in 2010 and Crispy Dog was eaten with lychee wine for the Summer Solstice. According to the #StopYulin2015 Social Media Group, 10,000 dogs and 4,000 cats were eaten during the festival per week.
Although the government across the pond is playing dumb, the people definitely are not. Earlier this year, a ban on dog and cat slaughter for meat was proposed in China and nearly two million citizens expressed their support. The ban proposal was delivered to the National People’s Congress by the NPC deputy, Zheng Ziaohe and has received support from a reported 30 other NPC representatives. A formal reply is expected in the next few months.
If you’re as rattled as we are, have no fear– there are ways to help. Snow says the best thing people can do is to continue putting pressure on the Chinese government.
“They need to know the truth– that people are frightened to visit Yulin when they see the violence that innocent cats and dogs are subjected to,” she says.
You can also join their Facebook page and join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #StopYulin2015.
Feel free to enter your email below for a petition we’re hoping to send to the Chinese government. The more emails we get, the better.