It's business as usual at China dog meat festival, despite ban

Beijing: Despite a week-old law banning the sale of canine meat, the Chinese city of Yulin held its annual dog meat festival on Wednesday -- though on a lower scale.The Humane Society International (HSI), a non-profit organisation battling dog meat trade in China, told Efe news that several dog meat stalls in Yulin were closed down following a police order on Tuesday, an incident recorded in a video clip by the activists.Police inspections were carried out as part of an implementation of a law banning the sale of dog meat in restaurants, markets and other commercial establishments, that came into effect across China on June 15.The measure was introduced six days ahead of the start of China's largest annual dog meat festival in Yulin.However, according to HSI, dog meat vendors -- mostly in Nanqiao market -- protested over the new law, leading to a "last-minute" compromise deal authorities reached with them that limits the sale to a maximum of two dogs per stall."It is encouraging to see the Yulin authorities enforcing the compromise ban that they themselves struck with Yulin officials. It shows that while the restricted sales order is by no means perfect, it is absolutely having an impact," Dr Peter Li, HSI's China policy specialist, said.According to HSI, several Chinese activists who stood guard on June 15 at the popular Dongkou market, reported the volume of meat on sale was much lower than in previous years, when an estimated 3,000 canines were slaughtered.The Yulin Dog Meat Festival, held annually on the start of the summer solstice, is not -- contrary to popular belief -- a traditional Chinese practice, but was begun only in 2010 by dog meat vendors to boost dipping sales.According to HSI, 10-20 million dogs are slaughtered each year in China for human consumption.IANS