China city kicks off summer solstice with dog-eating celebration

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Summer solstice is gearing up in China — and for residents in one southern city, that means time to eat the dogs.

Residents of Yulin have kicked their dog-cooking activities into high gear, hoping to beat animal rights campaigners’ protests, the Daily Mail reported. Photographs show dozens of city residents chopping and selling untold numbers of dog carcasses, skinned and cooked, that are spread across an open market table.

Other photographs show Yulin residents pulling up to tables set with plates of dog meat and vegetables, preparing to eat, the Daily Mail said.

The city of Yulin has practiced the dog-eating tradition for years. Residents believe that eating dogs and drinking liquor on the solstice will keep them healthy during the winter months, the Daily Mail reported.

Animal rights groups have ratcheted up their opposition to the annual practice in recent times, however. The activists managed to put a stop to a dog meat event in 2011 in eastern Zhejiang province, where such festivities have been held for hundreds of years.

“Negative coverage is growing — dog theft, criminal activities, food hygiene issues and rabies fears — not to mention the division in society between those for and against the festival — together these have brought significantly more negative publicity to Yulin than economic benefits,” said Deng Yidan, an activist with Animals Asia, in a statement reported by the Daily Mail.

Meanwhile, the government of Yulin has distanced itself and said it doesn’t endorse the event.

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