**WARNING UPSETTING CONTENT**
The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is set to be bigger than ever, after footage was obtained by brave NoToDogMeat activists showing dogs being prepared for live slaughter.
The Chinese authorities claim that live slaughter at the festival has been outlawed, but it appears that now that pandemic restrictions have been lifted the festival is back in full swing.
Though officially billed to start on the 21st of June, the grisly summer solstice event is already drawing hundreds of people to the main markets of Dongkou and Qianonan. And images captured by NoToDogMeat charity activists this weekend, dogs, puppies and even cats can be seen lining the streets, or crammed into tiny crates.
The street is abuzz with activity as dogs are moved around, and in one stall tiny puppies are clearly being sold. Men on motorbikes wind around the action, some of which are bringing terrified crated dogs on the back of their vehicles for sale at the festival.
Activist Qin Xi Zhao, who took the footage and runs NoToDogMeat’s shelter in Hebei, said: “This footage exposes the lie that live slaughter is banned at Yulin, the authorities actively encourage the spectacle because it brings money to the area.
“The festival has not even started yet, but it is busier, and I have seen westerners too coming to witness it.
“Despite everything that the authorities say, Yulin is still busy and it’s going to be worse than ever. No authorities are doing anything to stop this.”
Puppies at the event are being sold for £33 each, and Mr Zhao says that at one breeding farm outside the city he was told that if he bought a ‘big bag’ he would be shown larger dogs.
After enduring a horrific public death, the dogs are then made into stews and soups and are served to locals and tourists as a kind of health tonic. However, aside from the animal cruelty of the event, eating dogs and cats poses a substantial public health risk, as many of the animals are strays and former pets.
The NoToDogMeat charity was founded in 2009 by London lawyer Julia de Cadenet, and empowers people in China who want to make a difference.
The charity runs two shelters in Hebei and Beijing, and also advises the United Nations on the issue of the dog and cat meat trade.
Intelligence gathered at this year’s Yulin by the charity will form a report as part of NoToDogMeat’s United Nations Special Consultative Status.
Julia said: “Brave Mr Zhao and his team are working hard to expose what we knew would happen, that Yulin is bigger than ever, and the authorities are doing nothing to stop it.
“They said that there would be no live slaughter, they said that there are no dog farms, but since we have been there we have seen both on a wide scale.
“Now that travel restrictions have been lifted it also opens the doors to sick disaster tourists from the west who want their YOLO moment. It breaks our hearts and is so traumatic but the fight must continue.”
The Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat Festival began in 2009, as a way to encourage tourism to the city. Far from being a backwater, Yulin boasts a university and the Guangxi Yulin High School, a high level educational establishment.
Julia added: “We have already rescued a number of dogs from this terrible fate, but our broader diplomatic work is important, as it will help more dogs and cats in the future.”
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