#stopyulin2015 // My Thoughts on China's Dog Meat Festival

A photo of Mulan's dog, Little Brother
(Little Brother, Mulan's dog)

I'm glad that I follow cruelty-free bloggers who brought the Yulin festival to my attention. As a Chinese person myself, and a vegetarian/animal rights activist, I have a lot of feels regarding this controversy.

It doesn't surprise me that this festival exists. 
Ever since I became vegetarian, I can't look at Chinese culture the same way anymore. I can no longer handle the thought of live chickens being sold for butchering, or boxes of turtles and frogs cramped amongst bloodied fish, or the prominence of animal heads on my family's dinner table. Chinese cuisine is quite macabre, now that I think about it. These are memories that I have as a child, but all I want to see now are fields of bok choy and tofu.

I was never allowed to own a dog. Pet fish were beautiful, but dogs were an unnecessary nuisance. A lot of other Chinese/Asian families must have had this view too, because I was rarely in a house that had a dog or cat. So the "man's best friend" phrase was definitely not a part of my upbringing. I'm recalling these parts of myself because I know it's important to recognize the very American/Western lens I am now viewing this issue from. However, being a tradition should not shield something from attack. Should human slavery have been shielded because it was a tradition? No.

Man is not superior to woman. Human is not superior to animal.
I am against Yulin because I believe in equality of all animals - whether they be cows, bees, or dogs. What drives my passion for animal equality is because I believe in human equality. My friends laughed when I told them "I'm a vegetarian because I'm a feminist" but it's true. I think that any form of believing something is superior to another leads down a dangerous path of oppression and violence (I formed this view after reading Carol Adams in school). The world would be a more peaceful place if we stopped focusing on differences.

I am not against Yulin because eating chicken is ok, but eating dogs is "too far."
It's great that the internet is taking a stand for dog rights, but I can't help but wonder how many of these people are actually vegetarians/vegans. I don't feel any comfort seeing people who post photos hugging their dogs with the caption #stopyulin2015, if they're meat-eaters. It only reinforces the view that some animals are better than others.

"What if this were a crab eating festival?"
My boyfriend, who is not into animal rights, asked. No one would have cared. Yet, it's the same issue. A ridiculous amount of crabs would be prepared and eaten for this festival, caged, boiled alive. But dogs are seen as smart, affectionate, and lovable, while crabs don't get that privilege. Is eating dogs extreme because it's one step closer to eating a human?

There are so many facets to this controversy, that I'm not sure what is upsetting people. Is it the stealing of the dogs, the cruel cooking and preparation methods, the fact that it's a pet, or what? Dogs may have been stolen from their owners, but people steal animals from their families to eat them too, or to display them at Seaworld, etc. The boiling them alive bit happens at factory farms. And if you only care about dogs because they're cute and cuddly, then that's very narrow minded of you. I saw an image of a dog that said "I sit for you, will you stand for me?" and while that's clever, I don't think that's the right message. You shouldn't want to protect an animal because it's a pet, you should protect it because all animals are worthy of protection.

It's easy to point fingers at the Chinese for being inhumane and barbaric, but what about Americans?

Voice your concern about Yulin, but also think about how you condone violence toward other animals in the way you are speaking about it and in your lifestyle.

Instagram: @rosegoldpanda

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