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Vendors, activists face off at China dog meat festival

Animal lovers provoked an angry backlash from residents of a Chinese city after protesting a controversial festival on Saturday.

During the festival, locals celebrate the summer solstice by eating dog meat, witnesses and media said.

The event has been dubbed the “dog meat festival”.

Activists have flocked for weeks to Yulin, in the southwestern region of Guangxi, to protest the local custom of eating dog – particularly on the summer solstice, which fell on Saturday.  

But their efforts have backfired. 

A local resident (right) attempts to beat an animal protection activist (centre on a street in Yulin on Saturday.

A local resident (right) attempts to beat an animal protection activist (centre) on a street in Yulin on Saturday.

A 50-year-old animal rights advocate visiting Yulin told AFP by phone: “A lot of people have said, ‘I don’t eat dog meat, but just because of these idiots, I will go buy dog meat to eat and to give to my friends to eat'.”

The activist, who asked not to be named due to sensitivities around the issue, added that outside criticism had “created a sense of confrontation”. 

“These outsiders coming in as dog lovers are just troublemakers coming to Yulin to create unrest,” he cited locals as saying.

A dog seller (right) counts money as dogs in a cage wait to be sold in a market in Yulin

A dog seller (right) counts money as dogs in a cage wait to be sold in a market in Yulin

Yulin residents traditionally buy live dogs on the morning of the solstice, then gather for dinner to eat the dog meat, the activist, from the southern city of Shenzhen, said.

He said he had seen a few dozen other activists show up in Yulin to discourage the practice, sometimes by handing out fliers and holding banners. 

But despite their efforts, more vendors than normal could be seen selling dog meat on Saturday.

Deliveries came in mini-buses rather than by motorbike as usual, only to disappear quickly, local media reported. 

Source: AFP

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