Please Shut Down The Yulin Dog Meat "Festival"
This petition had 126,688 supporters
We write to urge you and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region government to cancel the “Dog-Meat Festival” to be held on June 21 in Yulin. As foreigners who have great respect for the Chinese people and Chinese civilization, we are saddened to learn that the Yulin “Dog-Meat Festival” still exists in a rapidly modernizing society. We believe that this event has no place in century. We oppose to the “festival” for the following five reasons:
First, China is the country with the second largest number of rabies cases in the world.
Yulin government itself admitted in 2007 that the city was one of the hardest hit by rabies outbreaks. According to a news report, 338 rabies cases were reported in Yulin between 2002 and 2006. All the infected people died from this disease. The annual economic cost to Yulin amounted to 6.67 million Yuan. Based on the toll the disease is taking on the health of the city’s residents, the authorities in Yulin should be doing everything they can to prevent rabies. Dogs transported for days in crowded conditions to Yulin and with compromised immunity system are known to be vulnerable to the spread of illnesses. Allowing the “Dog-Meat Festival” to continue is a sign of a lack of vigilance at the very least. Given the national government’s policy on rabies prevention and control, it might even be construed as wanton contempt and total negligence. In the interest of public health, disease prevention, and enforcing the national government’s policies, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region government should put an end to the event.
Second, the “Dog-Meat Festival” can potentially undermine social stability, aggravate existing social conflicts, and sabotage the Central Government’s efforts to build a harmonious society.
A significant number of the dogs sold on the market, according to Chinese activist investigations, are stolen household pets or the watch dogs of the rural families. The recent lynching of dog thieves by victims of the dog theft indicates the potentially explosive nature of confrontations between dog owners and the dog-meat industry. Frankly, the action by the villagers in Guangxi was a reaction to the fact that local law enforcement had long failed to protect the interest of the dog owners. Allowing the “Dog-Meat Festival” to continue is like endorsing dog theft, which supplies the dog-meat industry. It could seriously damage the authority of the government and the credibility of state laws. If dog theft continues, confrontations between dog owners and animal lovers and the dog-meat industry could intensify, potentially leading to mass unrest. For Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region government, a way to prevent such a situation from developing is to end the Yulin “Dog-Meat Festival.”
Third, the Yulin “Dog-Meat Festival” is a food safety danger.
Dogs sold on the market are sick and dying animals. They suffer from horrendous conditions during trans-provincial long-distance journeys. China does NOT have dog farms. There are no national or local standards to ensure the safety of dog-meat since dogs are not raised for food. Sick dogs can pass illnesses to humans in the course of transport, slaughter and food preparations. Contaminated dog-meat can also make the eaters sick. For sale in the market, there is also reportedly meat from poisoned dogs. Food safety is no small matter that the government can ignore. It is therefore imperative for Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region government to shut down the “Dog-Meat Festival” and prevent the onset of a SARS-like disease and mass deaths.
Fourth, the Yulin “Dog-Meat Festival” exposes young people to violence.
During the festival, the streets of Yulin flow with dog blood, since dogs are often slaughtered in public. Have the dog-meat dealers ever considered the reaction of the people who walk by? Have they ever considered the feelings of the young children who witness the brutality on their way to school? The wanton imposition of bloody scenes on the public can cause severe mental distress and psychological trauma to people, particularly school children. Studies have long shown that exposure to violence can desensitise youth and cause them to later commit acts of cruelty and abuse. Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region government and its official Women Federation are obligated to stand up and to protect the young people from being forced to witness this brutal spectacle.
Fifth, although the “Dog-Meat Festival” has been promoted as a local “folk custom,” it is not really a local culinary culture.
It is a commercial activity masquerading as a regional tradition. We have no interest in questioning an individual’s eating habit or food choices. But the promotion of a food that is illegally sourced and poses food safety concerns is not an issue of individual choice or individual rights. It is still less a matter of a local culinary culture. No culture or local custom is a defense of a practice that runs counter to human progress. Despite strong resistance, foot-binding, opium-smoking, and arranged marriage, the so-called Chinese traditional practices, were ended without jeopardising the Chinese culture. In fact, Chinese civilisation has since experienced a spirited rejuvenation. And, China’s pace of progress has not been slowed one bit. To glorify Chinese culture, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region government must eliminate outdated practices that represent forces of the past and that damage the reputation of the mainstream Chinese culture.
Finally, Guangxi has breathtaking natural beauty that attracts millions of domestic and international tourists.
The Yulin “Dog-Meat Festival” does not belong in this region.
In June 2013, the “festival” was condemned by more than 40,000 people around the world within a short span of a few days. The event has already tarnished the reputation of Guangxi and can possibly cause a negative repercussion in the tourism industry of the Autonomous Region. We appeal to you to act in the interest of public health, food safety, child welfare, and the reputation of Guangxi and China. Yulin “Dog-Meat Festival” is no regional “folk custom.” It is a business operation that undermines the national and public interest. Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region government is at a historical juncture.
The “Dog-Meat Festival” must end!
广西玉林的“狗肉节”以及其他任何地方的“狗肉节”为什么必须取缔？ 首先， “狗肉节”可能导致广西甚至全国狂犬病防控努力的失败。
狗肉节期间，上万只活狗从各地长途运输到玉林，徒然增加了狂犬病和其他疫病传染的机会。玉林市政府自己就曾承认，该市是全国狂犬病高发的重灾区（见记者张爱林2007年的报道）。 2002年到2006年间就有338例狂犬病的发生，受感染者全部死亡。因为狂犬病的发生，玉林每年的直接经济损失高达667万元。 有这样狂犬病肆虐的经历，本应该让当地政府有比其他地区当政者更高的狂犬病防控意识才对。玉林市政府坐视“狗肉节”大操大办，从轻说是放松了狂犬病防控警觉性，从重说来是轻视国民健康、抗拒中央政府严防重大疫情发生的政策指示。本着老百姓的健康、疫病的防控、以及贯彻中央疾病防控政策路线，广西壮族自治区政府有必要责成玉林市政府立即宣布永远取消狗肉节。
活狗交易中狗的来源不明，早已遭到社会各界的批评。从广西地区活狗交易的调查中发现，有相当一部分的活狗是他人的宠物或农村的看家犬，而且是偷来的。最近在广西发生的村民暴打盗狗贼的事件说明，这类违法犯罪活动已经到了激起民愤、甚至是群体民愤的程度。被害村民所以群起自发捍卫自己的权利、痛打盗狗贼，不就是广西地方执法部门长期不作为的结果吗？ 狗肉市场的存在、助长了盗狗这类藐视他人权利的偷盗行为。如果“狗肉节”得以继续办下去，偷狗的非法行为就会继续；政府对偷狗盗狗不作为，必然迫使被害人捍卫自己的权利。另外，狗肉产业滋生诸如开具假票证、假防疫证件种种非法犯罪行为，直接挑战国家法律。坐视这个产业和与它有关的偷盗行为而不作为，那么政府的公信力、政府的权威和法律的尊严就会受到极大的打击。所以说，“狗肉节”鼓励偷盗，激发被害者自发维护自己的权利，双方矛盾的上升只会大大妨碍和谐社会的建设， 甚至可能导致重大群体事件的爆发。因此，为了社会和谐、公权力的尊严、人民生命财产的安全，广西壮族自治区政府有责任终止玉林“狗肉节”。
在“狗肉节”期间，玉林的街头就成了血流满地的屠宰场。此类当街屠宰，因为其对环境的破坏和对社会风尚的贻害，早已被其他国家用法律的形式禁止。玉林的狗肉商铺，什么时候体惜过行人、体恤过上下学的小朋友的心理感受？这种将血淋淋和野蛮的场面强加给路人、甚至强加给上下学的小朋友的心理暴力行为，政府怎么可以听任其存在？心理学研究早就指出，将残酷呈现到年幼的孩子面前，会打掉他们对他人的同情心。我们谴责广东路人对小悦悦的冷漠、我们不理解为什么老人跌倒了没有人扶， 这些谴责都没有错。但是，我们更要谴责那些制造冷漠的行为。玉林“狗肉节”以其当街杀狗、光天化日下炫耀暴力， 就是在制造冷漠。广西自治区政府和自治区妇联作为青少年的保护者，有责任站出来，终止玉林“狗肉节”这个制造冷漠、对青少年进行精神迫害的“节日”。
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