Dogs are slaughtered and skinned in public during an ancient festival in the streets of Qianxi township. However, China has now banned the dog-eating festival that dates back more than 600 years after a Chinese internet uproar.
The festival initially marked a victory of the Ming dynasty, in which dogs in Qianxi were killed so they would not bark and alert the enemy. In the feast that followed the victory, the meat of the dogs who had previously been killed was served. Ever since then, for 600 years, local Chinese ave eaten dog meat at temple fairs held during traditional Chinese holidays. Even though many things have changed in terms of celebration, dog eating remained its central part.
“The ancient fair was replaced by a modern commodity fair in the 1980s, but dog eating has been kept as a tradition,” Xinhua says.
However, things became even more gruesome in recent years.
“However, vendors began to butcher dogs in public a few years ago to show their dog meat is fresh and safe, as a way to ease buyers’ worry that the meat may be refrigerator-preserved or even contaminated.”
But even with the major internet censorship going on China, tens of thousands of people openly criticized the dog-eating festival on social networking sites, and called for the local Qianxi government to intervene. Surprisingly enough… the government intervened. Personally, I find that quite a laudable quick reaction, something from which officials from the Western countries should learn.
“The government’s quick response should be encouraged. I hope eating dogs will not be a custom there anymore. It’s not a carnival, but a massacre,” wrote an internet user named “Junchangzai” on a Chinese micro-blogging website, in a post that was “re-tweeted” 100,000 times, Xinhua says.
Dogs in China is a very touchy subject. Many people still see them as food, and traditions such as this one often go down for hundreds of years; on the otherhand, especially the urban youth are very vocal against practices like this. Dog ownership is also very strange in China – it was banned during the Cultural Revolution as a bourgeois habit, but now, with the 1 child limit per family, it’s become increasingly popular with middle class families.
What do you think? Is this just a cultural difference, and eating dogs is perfectly normal, or is it a decadent practice, that doesn’t have anything to do in the 21st century ?