Chinese province bans dog meat festival

Authorities in a Chinese province were forced to call off and ban a dog meat festival following public protests over the event, the Global Times reported.

The eighth Dog Meat Festival in Zhejiang province will not be happening after local officials folded under public pressure and banned the event, the Jinhua Daily reported on its microblog.

Dog meat has been part of the traditional Chinese diet. However, in recent years, some people have begun to believe that dogs are close friends of humans and shouldn't be eaten.

"The Jinhua government told me that they wanted to cancel the festival too," Lu Di, the head of the China Small Animal Protection Association (CSAPA), said Monday. "But they are hesitant to do so because the festival has been around for a long time."

The festival stems from an old story. During the autumn of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), a Ming emperor's general Hu Dahai failed to win a battle in Jinhua because his army disturbed local dogs whose barking exposed their presence.

Hu killed all the dogs in Jinhua and later won the battle. To celebrate the success, emperor Zhu Yuanzhang arranged a dog meat banquet in Jinhua for Hu.

The festival has been held for eight years as a government-sponsored activity.

About 5,000 to 10,000 dogs were slaughtered during the festival. Many of them were stolen pet dogs or dogs that had been poisoned, said insiders.

A web user launched an online campaign Monday on to protest the festival. By the end of the day, his call had been forwarded over 18,000 times.

The web user maintained that one can eat dog meat at home or other places. But if the personal activity has been turned into a group action and people kill dogs in a brutal way, that is disrespectful to life, he contended.

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