Animal welfare charity urges British Ambassador to China to save estimated 10,000 dogs from slaughter

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is calling on the British Ambassador in China to intervene and help ban the horrific annual mass consumption of dog meat in Yulin City.

The event in Guangxi Province takes place around the summer solstice on 21 June and it is estimated around 10,000 dogs could be butchered and eaten.

In the weeks before, many thousands of dogs are reportedly transported huge distances in cramped cages, without food and water, to await their gruesome fate.

A big proportion of the thousands of dogs consumed are in fact reportedly stolen pets, and the theft of dogs by criminal gangs to supply the demand for dog meat is an ever-increasing problem in China.

In previous years, local investigators and the media reported brutal handling and slaughter of dogs, including beatings and live-skinning, all apparently in public view and in front of other dogs awaiting their own slaughter.

The annual mass consumption of dog meat in Yulin is a modern tradition rather than a long-held cultural practice, dating back only a few years. Whilst some defend this event as a local ‘folk custom’, it is profit-driven.

Grace Ge Gabriel, IFAW’s Asia Regional Director, said: “From within China, an enlightened public from pop stars to ordinary citizens have taken to social media to voice their opposition to the annual mass consumption of dog meat in Yulin.

“Animal lovers from China and beyond have protested the cruel practice of slaughtering dogs for consumption for years, while organisers and supporters have stood fast.

“Those who condemn it for animal welfare reasons have new allies in the fight, as health authorities and legal experts are now warning that consumption of dog meat poses both health and legal risks.”

In addition to the horrifying animal cruelty, the mass transport of unquarantined dogs in unhealthy conditions over long distances increases the risk of outbreaks of rabies and other communicable diseases, threatening the health and safety of people.

Vets say dog meat is not properly quarantined and inspected, which creates additional safety risks in the processing and eating of dog meat, including a genuine risk that people could consume poisoned dog meat.

Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of IFAW, said: “Dog lovers will be horrified at the needless and cruel transportation, slaughter and consumption of thousands of dogs. Some of those dogs may well be someone’s pet that has been stolen.

“This horrific annual eating of dog meat is deeply distressing for the majority of the British public, so many of whom have dogs as part of their family. It is also a cause of shame for many enlightened people within China, where there is an emerging movement for animal protection within the country.

“I implore the British Ambassador to China to take the lead and work with the Chinese authorities to put an end to this gruesome dog meat event, and be commended worldwide for taking strong and decisive action on this appalling activity.”

IFAW is an active member of the Asia for Animals coalition of animal welfare organisations, which is urging Yulin authorities to ban the event. In 2011 a dog meat festival in China, the Jinhua Hutou Dog Meat Festival, was banned completely following similar worldwide condemnation.

IFAW has teamed up with Duffy, the Grammy and multi Brit Award-winning singer/songwriter for this campaign.

Duffy said: "Each year, around the 21st June, up to 10,000 dogs are slaughtered in a city called Yulin in China, for human consumption. For the love of dogs, I ask China to please #StopYulin.

“I beg the Chinese government to listen to the growing movement of concerned Chinese citizens and animal welfare ambassadors, and the international community, to end this inhumane and outdated event and instead to focus on celebrating man's best friends who have been beside us, loyally, for centuries.

“Please take this moment to sign IFAW’s petition letter, share the #StopYulin message and help us to stop the killing and eating of dogs at Yulin.”

IFAW is urging people to add their names to a petition for the British Ambassador to China, Barbara Woodward, which can be found here:


For further information, please contact Ally MacDonald, IFAW Communications Officer, at:
Phone: 0207 587 6725