Do The Chinese Really Eat Dogs?? The Most Comprehensive Answer

the yulin dog meat festival- Do the chinese really eat dogs

On June 21st, The infamous Yulin Dog Meat Festival will take place in Yulin, Guangxi, China. In this yearly festival, thousands of Chinese will gather to celebrate the ancient tradition of eating dogs !!!

It is an annual celebration in which thousands of dogs are killed and tortured for the festival.

The Yulin dog meat festival started in 2009. It spans about ten days during which, it is estimated that 10,000–15,000 dogs are consumed and eaten by festival goers.

Many Dog lovers and animal rights supporters all over the world have cried out against the event; many of them came to Yulin to protest against the practice of eating dog meat. On the other hand, Yulin locals resent these demonstrations and stand up for their legal right to eat dog meat.

protesters holding signs against the yulin dog festival in which thousands of Chinese do eat dogs
credit: BBC

This is a sensitive subject. As we should not make the fault of stereotyping all Chinese people as dog eaters and engaging in that awful act.

The question Do Chinese eat dogs? can sometimes be used as a racial slur towards innocents who have nothing to do with this subject

But also with the festival closing down on us within only three weeks from now, Certain questions should be asked, facts should be clarified, and more importantly, actions should be taken

So It’s Time to list some facts about dogs and dog eating in China.

Do Chinese eat dogs? The answering Facts

It is estimated that 13 to 16 million dogs are eaten in Asia on a yearly basis. It’s not strange to go into a restaurant in North-Korea, South-Korea, Vietnam or China and find Dog flesh on the menu


In China, The practice of dog eating is an ancient tradition as it dates back to around 1700 B.C., Starting in the north

an old portrait of ancient travelling Chinese nomads. do the Chinese eat dog meat?
credit: ancient

By the 6th century, The dog-eating tradition was brought to the south after being an exclusive northern tradition for hundreds of years. This was due to the travelings of the northern nomadic groups to the south, bringing all kinds of customs with them – including dogs and their meat

In ancient China, monks and clerks considered Dogs and dog meat as sacred offerings. It was common to bury the dog of the deceased together with him to accompany him to the other world. This is Similar to what the ancient Egyptians did with their cats.

In ancient temples, Dogs were dealt as sacrifices for the gods as they were considered food for them. This clearly shows how deep in the Chinese culture to consider dogs as both a foodstuff and a friend.

The Chinese scripture shows evidence of the importance of dogs in the rituals of sacrifice. As you can notice, The Chinese character for ‘offer’ (献, Xian) incorporates the character for ‘dog’ (犬, Quan)


Around the 10th century, The Chinese eating dogs habits decreased rapidly. Mainly because they no longer perceived dogs as food. The popularization of Buddhism played a major role in this change in attitude. Buddhism as a religion does not advocate the killing of any animals but particularly rejects slaughtering dogs for their meat.

a Buddhist monk with a dog
credit: weibo

Killing a dog is now widely considered by many practicing Buddhists as bad karma. This is mainly due to the dog’s general traits, such as loyalty to its owner

In Manchu culture, Eating dog is considered taboo. At the era of the Manchu rule of China from the 17th century, dog meat eating was labeled ‘barbarian’ and the practice was banned. However, the residents of the Southern parts of China continued eating dog flesh

As a form of political opposition, The followers of the Kuomintang (‘China’s National People’s Party’) would symbolically start their meetings by cooking dog meat because they were very much anti-Manchu

In ancient China, a dog was destined to serve three different functions within a household: Being a watchdog (to guard the farmhouse), a hunting dog, or slaughtered to be eaten

One of China’s twelve zodiac signs is the dog. Certain traits can describe People who are born in the year of the dog such as loyalty, faithfulness, and unselfishness. They can also be pessimistic, anxious, and doubtful about many things in life.

It’s worth noting that not long ago, Dog flesh was also eaten in some parts of America, Africa, and Europe. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that dog meat was eaten In Germany, and in 1996 it was still served in some areas in Switzerland. In the Philippines, no law was banning eating dog meat until 1998

The Yulin Dog Meat Festival

The festival is actually very recent, starting in Summer of 2010.

Despite Yulin hosting this event, even their local government “denies any official involvement or endorsement of the festival itself, and describes the event as a local custom observed by “a small percentage” of Yulin’s residents”

The stereotype of “all Chinese eating dogs” mainly exists because of this event that highly scrutinized by mainstream media worldwide.

dog in a cage in the yulin dog meat festival where the Chinese do eat dogs
credit: evening standard

To be fair, Most Chinese adore dogs just like many western households do.

However, we should say the belief that dog meat is tasty and good for health is etched into Chinese culture.

One famous Chinese saying goes: “Dragon meat in heaven, dog meat on earth”

What Do The Chinese Think about The Yulin Festival and Dog Eating?

The China Animal Welfare Association has commissioned Horizon to conduct a poll regarding Chinese residents attitude towards Yulin.

The results were to give a clear vision of the general stance in China for consuming dog meat

Do The Chinese Really Eat Dogs?? The Most Comprehensive Answer |
credit: LTL

The poll decisively shows that 64% of Chinese people support the end of the infamous festival Immediately. This can actually put an end to the stereotype that all Chinese eat dog meat.

Most Chinese nationals on a personal level have the same beliefs as many Europeans or Americans.

Through no fault of its own, Yulin, as a city, brings shame on China according to 62% of Chinese people.

How can you help?

Ending the Yulin festival won’t end dog meat eating, but ending dog meat eating will end Yulin. The focus now must be on the dog eating act and the year-round trade in dog meat.

Do your research, find groups which are working responsibly on the ground to stop the trade all year round, all over the country and help them achieve their goals.

Donate, fundraise, raise awareness, volunteer, join a support group, sign petitions. Do what you can because it all makes a difference.

With your help, change is possible.

protesting the chinese dog meat festival
credit: the independent

I hope this article gave you a clear understanding of the Yulin festival issue to help bring an end to this monstrosity.

Please share it as much as you can on all your social media outlets. So the whole world can be aware of this monstrosity taking place soon on June 21.

I will be happy to hear your thoughts on this issue in the comments

For more details on The Yulin Dog Meat Festival

As always if you like what you read here and you wanna read more. Feel free to check my other articles on Dog Grooming and How to get dog hair Out of blankets.

Have a nice day and Read you next time

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