Typically, thousands of animals are sacrificed at the end of June in Yulin, a small town in southern China famous for its ” Feast of dog meat.” But this year, the coronavirus could have saved a few.
The epidemic, which has claimed more than 460 000 deaths in humans, appeared in late 2019 in a market of Wuhan (central China), which were sold on live animals. Since then, the country has strengthened its legislation on the trade of animals.
Always it took for Jeffrey Bari, an American whose refuge welcomes near Beijing, some 200 dogs off with the dismal fate that awaited thousands of kilometres to the south.
The festival in Yulin is ” inhuman and barbaric “, says that friend of the animals, which strives to find families for its residents.
The activists of the cause of animal rescue each year, hundreds of dogs during raids in the slaughterhouses or the interception of trucks heading to the south of the country, where it survives as the consumption of canines.
They accuse the traffickers of not only the capture of the dogs lost, but also to steal pets to sell for their meat.
“It was a feeling of success when one has come to change the fate of a dog “, welcomes Miss Ling, a volunteer who works at the shelter called “No Dog Left Behind” (No abandoned dog).
Reduction in consumption
Even before the appearance of the COVID-19, the fuel consumption was in sharp decline in China, or even anecdotal, so that more and more urban dwellers are raising a dog as a companion, not as a main course.
But in some areas, dog meat is regarded as good for health.
With the shock of the epidemic, the chinese authorities has passed a law prohibiting the trade and consumption of wild animals.
The act does not specifically apply to canines, but the ministry of Agriculture has at the same time reclassified in the spring of the dogs as pets, removing them from the list of edible animals.
If the consumption of the dog is not always explicitly forbidden, two southern metropolises, Shenzhen and Zhuhai, were taken in April, arrested in this sense. They are the first Chinese cities to do so.
“Shame the world “
At Yulin, where the yearly festival started on Sunday with the summer solstice for a week of gastronomy canine, dozens of dogs are piled up in narrow cages, according to video seen by AFP. Carcasses pile up as each year the stalls of the butchers.
But restaurateurs contacted by telephone from Beijing entrust the business beat of the wing.
“Customers are much less numerous,” said to AFP a employee by the name of Chen, referring to the obsession with food security which has engulfed the country in the wake of the COVID-19 .
On social networks, many are calling for the prohibition of the festivities, including the new name of the “Feast of the summer solstice” does not mislead anyone.
“It is not enough that (this party) is a shame of global reach? When will we finally meet the food security? Close the party immediately “, calls a user of the network Weibo.
In his restaurant, Mr. Chen explained that the authorities have not been asked to stop selling dog meat in spite of the recent administrative measures.
For Deborah Cao, an expert in the law of the animal at Griffith University in Australia, the festival of Yulin is tolerated by the public authorities.
“Most of the activities related to the trade of dog meat are in contravention of the existing regulations in the field of food safety,” notes-t-it.
Anyway, in China, these rules “are not generally applied” and “nobody has to be accountable,” she summarizes.