The protests are based on objections to the practice of eating dog meat in some areas of China and they have led to the formation of a number of Facebook groups and petitions aimed at the FCI, the Chinese government and the organisers of the so called Yulin Dog Meat Festival.
Protestors have called for the FCI to revoke the decision of its General Assembly which voted in favour of staging the world dog show in Shanghai in 2019 At the same time, members of the China Kennel Union (CKU) and other senior members of Far East countries who form the Asia Pacific group of Kennel Clubs, have also been online explaining the rationale behind the decision which they see as giving them a huge opportunity to represent dog ownership in its highest form and to educate people to respect the life of dogs.
Gopi Krishnan, Vice President of the Malaysian Kennel Association, posted the official video presentation from the CKU on his Facebook page which then led to a series of comments both for and against the 2019 event. (See letters page) The CKU in the video acknowledged that the eating of dog meat was an issue for them to deal with and in subsequent communications with OUR DOGS they have underlined that they see the honour of staging the world show as a catalyst for change.
But many dog lovers and exhibitors in the Far East expressed disappointment that people within the world of dogs were apparently against them by wanting to take the show away from China which would then undermine their efforts to seek the total ban of trading in dog meat.
In the meantime, the FCI issued the following statement specifically about the so called Yulin Dog meat festival: ‘The FCI strongly condemns the Yulin Dog Meat Festival as it is a threat to dog's welfare in The People's Republic of China.
The FCI will work closely with the China Kennel Union to educate the people of China to keep improving dog’s welfare in their country.’ Then in an additional statement, FCI President Mr. Rafael de Santiago addressed both the issue of the world show, plus a separate move to realign what are commonly known as the Tibetan Breeds to be under the auspices of China. ‘Always attentive to the opinion of the breeders worldwide, we took note of the uproar concerning the attribution of the 2019 World Dog Show to China and to the decision regarding the country of origin of the following breeds: Do-Khyi (230), Tibetan Terrier (209), Tibetan Spaniel (231), Lhasa Apso (227) And Shih Tzu (208).
Whilst we understand the concern expressed by the breeders worldwide about both situations, the FCI wishes to inform that the decision to grant the organization of the WDS 2019 to China was taken by a decision of our General Assembly where 68 countries were present or represented and by a large majority of votes, in total transparency and according to the principles of democracy internationally recognised and accepted. That decision was made on basis of a very open and complete presentation made by our Chinese member, CKU, during which our Chinese member delegation has clearly mentioned the cultural differences between China and most of the other countries in the world.
The FCI sees it as an excellent opportunity to raise awareness among the Chinese population that the dog, our beloved friend, is a member of our families, a living entity and most of all Man's best Friend. May we add that China won the right to organise this WDS over several other countries, namely Spain, Germany and Croatia, in a clear victory. ‘In addition, we find it important to clarify that our Chinese member, CKU, is an FCI full member.
As such, CKU has the right to ask to be the country of origin of the breeds indicated above. It is important to know that any change in a breed standard can be implemented worldwide if and only if the FCI General Committee, following recommendations of the FCI Standards and Scientific Commissions, approves it. ‘Nowadays, the FCI is more than ever committed to the betterment and safeguard of the Dog and to promoting its welfare, love and respect in the four corners of the world.’ The dilemma for exhibitors is that both sides have made good points in this increasingly world wide debate. On the protestors side there are people who see this event as a ‘reward’ for a country that still tolerates eating dog meat, although others suggest this is now a practice of a minority in China.
Beate Kedzior is based in London and is the organiser of one of the protest Facebook groups. She told OUR DOGS ‘I know about the story, ‘the dream’ CKU together with APAC presented to the FCI that they want to improve how dogs are seen in many other countries but as long as the Chinese government will not sort own country issues with horrible abuse towards dogs & cats I truly believe (now as well with over 5000 people online who agree with it) that Dog Show World 2019 should be held in other country.’ She went on to say ‘We don't believe CKU could use WDS to persuade changes in the government or mentality/beliefs of many people.
The tradition of eating dog meat goes back centuries in Asia, Yulin is the most known as perhaps is one of the biggest festivals. Growing popularity of keeping pets, food and grooming industry connected with it mostly applies to middle and high classes citizens but the true picture in my view is more brutal.’ Others took a different standpoint such as https://www.facebook.com/cchayoung?fref=ufi Christine Cha Young who said, ‘I love world dog shows and I also have hope; therefore I am always positive until proven otherwise. But even with failure I will not judge the whole country for it as I have not done with other countries.
The will is there .I know how hard my fellow local activists and family work to make a difference.’ One commentator told OUR DOGS “As far as we can see, all the dog people in the Far East, not just China, are working together on this project and are hoping to bring extra pressure to bear on the Yulin people, and the Chinese government. They were very enthusiastic to use this opportunity to bring about big changes.
However, the negative reaction from other dog people in these Facebook campaigns is now making this opportunity actually harder for them to follow through.”
Jason Hoke, an exhibitor speaking from the USA addressed purebred dog lovers and dog lovers of any kind and said, ‘The World Dog Show is to be held in China in 2019.
There are many people speaking out against holding the show of shows in this country due to the fact that in some very small pockets dogs are consumed for food and treated terribly. So here is some food for thought. ‘Think of the greater good this event is going to accomplish. This show held over many days is going to be the largest gathering of purebred dogs China has ever seen. Thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people will attend the event.
There will be such positive education to the public regarding purebred dogs. Imagine the impact this show will have to increase the knowledge and betterment of our sport and dogs we love. ‘Slowly China has banned the sale and consumption of dogs as food. This idea that it is a nation of canine consumers is a prejudiced and biased ideal held by those whom have never been.
I have travelled throughout China and this ideal is not supported by the masses. Please realize that while it still does occur in some areas this is not the case throughout the entire country. ‘The FCI and the CKU will certainly work together to further diminish the support of any such acts. It's my hope that everyone reading this supports this great decision to hold one of the worlds greatest shows in China and foster a sense of community and educate not only the people in China about purebred dogs but also to begin to dispel the belief that China as a whole supports an old tradition that hopefully will soon be made illegal through out the entire country as it is now many areas. ‘This is one of the most important venues in which our sport can be made visible to make a great impact on a global scale.
China has 1.3 billion people. It's the largest country in the world by population. To foster our community of pure bred dogs to such a mass audience is an opportunity we must embrace.’
Yulin so called ‘festival’
Activists have descended on the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China buoyed by the support of the nation's growing ranks of dog lovers who want the cruel trade brought to an end. The festival, which was held recently in Guangxi near the border with Vietnam, has caused domestic as well as international outrage. Celebrities such as Ricky Gervais have also been involved with the campaign to stop the annual event by posting messages on Twitter.
Chinese actor Fan Bingbing has added his support to the campaign appearing in a video holding signs that say “Dogs are our friends, please don't hurt them.” It is claimed that the festival is generations old but in fact it only started in 2009 although the region does have a history of eating dogs. This tradition is fading away as China becomes more prosperous and millions of Chinese are starting to keep dogs as pets rather than eating them.
There are 30 million households in the communist state with dogs as pets and these people are supporting the animal rights movement as they try to make the Chinese government act and bring an end to the dog meat festival. They also want the government to make it illegal to eat dog meat in the country. Animal rights activists in China have formed a powerful network on social media at home and abroad to put pressure on the government to take action. One user on the Chinese social networking site Weibo wrote, ‘If there is no one willing to eat dog meat, then the industry would not exist.
When the buying stops, the killing can too. ‘The Yulin city government has distanced itself from the event insisting that they have never officially organised a dog meat festival. According to the Yulin city's press office, ‘Some residents of Yulin have the habit of coming together to eat lychees and dog meat during the summer solstice. ‘The 'summer solstice lychee and dog meat festival' is a commercial term, the city has never (officially) organised a 'dog meat festival'.’
Hong Kong based charity Animals Asia has said that the majority of ‘meat dogs’ in China are stolen pets and strays.
Because these dogs are so cheap for the traders to buy it means that the breeding of dogs for meat is unprofitable. They have also found that eating dog is rare in most parts of the country. Some Chinese people are putting their hands in their own pockets to save dogs. A Chinese woman, Yang Xiaoyun, paid over £700 to save 100 dogs from being eaten.
She plans to re-house the dogs at her own home. In the meantime, an unprecedented global social media campaign has taken off in the last few weeks: the Twitter hashtag #stopyulin2015 has been used hundreds of thousands of times this year and a Facebook group, Stop Yulin Dog & Cat Meat Festival 2015, has more than 17,000 likes. A Change.org petition against the event by the US animal rights group Duo Duo closed after attracting more than 200,000 signatures.
Many of the world’s press have also turned their attention to the calls for backing, with most of the UK tabloid and broadsheets giving plenty of space to the story. Still others have ironically come forward to point out that just last month 1.9m animals were slaughtered in a barbaric practice that has existed for hundreds of years.
The animals are were beaten, electrocuted, hit with bolts from stun guns or even gassed to near-unconsciousness. Other types of animals are packed into huge crates, wheeled into a chamber and gassed to death...and all this is all taking place in the British meat industry.
It’s certainly food for thought if you pardon the pun! OUR DOGS will continue to monitor and report on this ongoing debate and will continue to contact the authorities in China to bring even more pressure to bear to close down the abhorrent trade in dog meat.