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In Photos: Feasting on Dog Meat at China’s Infamous Summer Solstice Festival

As many as 10,000 dogs will be killed and eaten during a controversial annual festival in Yulin, China, part of a tradition that stretches back generations.

by VICE News
Jun 21 2015, 6:35pm

Photo via EPA/Stringer

Thousands of dogs both small and large could be seen in packed in cages in the streets of the Chinese city of Yulin in recent days. The animals were for sale — but not as pets. Locals and tourists in Yulin celebrate the summer solstice by eating copious amounts of dog meat.

As many as 10,000 dogs will be killed and eaten during this year's festival on June 22, according to the Washington Post, part of a tradition that stretches back generations. Some Chinese people believe that consuming dog meat brings good health and luck.

Eating dog meat is not totally taboo in China, but festivals celebrating canine consumption have come under harsh criticism in recent years. Some activists have labeled the Yulin event a " festival of cruelty," and cited concerns about public health and animal welfare.

Related: Thousands of Dogs Will Be Eaten in China to Celebrate the Summer Solstice

Activists have alleged that some slaughtered dogs are actually stolen pets that were not raised for consumption as required by law. Will Kaku, from Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project, an animal rights organization based in the US, told VICE News that eating dog meat is a Chinese "sub-culture" that is relatively uncommon, and that the Yulin festival shouldn't be allowed to continue just because it's a tradition.

"Culture is very malleable. It changes over time," Kaku said in an earlier interview. "Just like foot-binding was a tradition in China that was stopped, in [the US] with the civil rights movement or our attitudes around LGBT equality… It's proven over time that that's not true."

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW

A chef fries dogs to sell for meat in Yulin in southern China's Guangxi province on June 21, 2015. (Photo via EPA/Stringer)

Dogs in cages in a Yulin market on June 20, 2015. (Photo via EPA/Stringer)

Vendors wait for people to buy dogs in a market in Yulin on June 20, 2015. (Photo via EPA/Stringer)

Vendors stand beside butchered dogs for sale in Yulin on June 20, 2015. (Photo via EPA/Stringer)

A vendor selling dog meat to a consumer in Yulin on June 19, 2015. (Photo via EPA/Stringer)

An animal rights activist buys a dog from a Yulin vendor during the festival last year. The vendor was reportedly threatening to beat the animals if they weren't bought. The conflicts between activists and dog vendors have escalated in recent years. (Photo by Li Ke/EPA)

A dog vendor waits for customers at a market in Yulin at the festival last year. (Photo by Li Ke/EPA)

A boy looks at a bowl of dog meat carried by a waiter at a restaurant in Yulin on June 21, 2015. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

Customers drink over dog meat dishes and lychees in celebration of the festival in Yulin on June 21, 2015. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

A woman eats dog meat at a gathering with friends in Yulin on June 21, 2015. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

Related: Dog Days of Yulin - Full Length

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Health
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animal cruelty
Yulin
Dog meat
Dog Meat festival
summer solstice