Yulin, China. Its time for DOGFEST 2017 in China. If you think that means cute pet photos and dogs doing tricks, this may not be the story for you….

The yearly dog meat festival has begun in the Chinese city of Yulin, the Lychee and Dog Meat festival takes place annually in Guangxi province.Earlier this year, US campaigners claimed that vendors had been told by authorities not to sell dog meat. But stall holders had told News Front they had heard nothing about this from officials.

This morning, reports from Yulin said dead dogs could be seen hanging from meat hooks at stalls in Dongkou market, the biggest in the city. There were also reports of a heavy police presence on the streets in case of foreign trouble.

An animal rights activist in the city told News Front she was prevented by police from entering the Dashichang market where she believed live dogs were on sale. In years past, there have been scuffles between stall owners and activists trying to rescue the dogs headed to slaughter. Activists allege many of the dogs are stolen pets.

Eating of dog and cat is not illegal in China but the festival draws international and domestic opposition each year. Residents and vendors say the animals are killed in a humane way, but critics say the animals are transported from other cities in small, cramped cages ahead of the festival and then brutally killed, often skinned alive, with the animal crys being acute and easily heard for blocks.

Yulin’s government has repeatedly said that it does not officially organise the festival so cannot prohibit it. But last year, they banned the slaughter of dogs in public in anticipation of protests. This year, reports said there was less public slaughtering taking place, though the scale of the event was not immediately clear.

Animal rights activists estimate that in peak years, about 10,000 dogs and cats were killed and eaten during the 10-day festival. In Chinese culture dog meat is said to be beneficial to eat during the hot summer months. The meat is said to enhance verility, blood circulation flow, treat gout and enhance stimulation of nerves in the anus area.

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