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Dog meat festival axed after complaints circulate on web
( zhejiang weekly )
Updated: 2011-10-07


Netizens on China’s popular social media sites, like Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, have helped stop a centuries-old dog meat festival set to take place in Jinhua in Zhejiang province in late October.

The festival originated sometime during either the Yuan (1271-1368) or Ming (1368-1644) dynasty. In recent decades, the Jinhua Hutou Dog Meat Festival has been prosperous, attracting tens of thousands of spectators each year.

The festival was cancelled permanently after graphic pictures of previous festivals began circulating on the Internet, sparking outcries from netizens and animal protection organizations.

The photos and posts online generated a huge response, with many netizens saying they thought the festival was bloody and cruel. Some questioned the source of the dogs and expressed concern about public health.

People in animal protection organizations began to take action, calling for the festival to be cancelled.

Aside from the changing opinions about eating dog meat, officials also worry about the deregulation of the festival.

A woman surnamed Chen from the Inspection and Quarantine Bureau and who also is a member of the board of Hangzhou Animal Love Rescue Organization said that dog meat, like pork, can only be eaten after inspection.

“Relevant departments stipulate that dogs should be inoculated. Considering food security, these dogs can not be eaten,” she said.

Li Ying, administrative deputy director of publicity department in Wucheng District, said that the festival is organized by a private organization, not the government. “These dogs come from fleshy dog farms in Jiangxi province, but maybe some are stolen,” he said.

Facing huge pressure, the local government decided to cancel the festival, Li said, adding that the outcry from netizens and organizations played a significant part of the decision.

After the exposure of dog meat festival, local government surveyed local residents’ opinions about the festival, finding that most villagers objected to killing dogs in the streets and thought that it was meaningless to hold the event.

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