A truck carrying 386 dogs to be slaughtered at the dog-meat eating festival in Yulin was intercepted by Chinese police after receiving a complaint that they could be carrying diseases. The Chinese activists who liberated the dogs used epidemic prevention legislation to secure their release from the traders. These dogs’ lives have now been spared as they were sent to be quarantined, and later handed over to Beijing’s Capital Animal Welfare Association. Unfortunately, not that many pigs have been rescued in the West from similar festivals.
Lin Xiong, one of the activists, said to the Guardian, “It was horrifying to see so many dogs in such an appalling state, it was like a truck from hell for these poor animals … The dog meat slaughter brings shame on our country and so we will keep fighting until we see an end to this suffering.” Peter Li, China policy specialist at Humane Society International, said that “Dog meat consumption is supply-driven, driven by the traders, not consumer-driven. The dog slaughter in Yulin is commercial in nature, not cultural.” It seems, then, that we find in China the same problem we see in the USA or Europe, where pig and cow meat consumption is also driven by the animal agriculture industry. In 2020, China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said dogs are not “livestock” for eating, but rather companion animals. Equivalent ministers from western countries may have said the same, but perhaps adding that pigs, cows and chickens are “livestock” for eating. Whether we are talking about a horse, a bull, a dog, a pig, a cat, or a chicken, none of these are “livestock” but individuals who should not be treated as commodities or food. Complaining that one country allows one to be eaten but ignoring that another country allows another to be eaten is a sign of speciesism, which, like racism, is something we vegans should avoid.