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Beijing (AFP) — Volunteers at a Beijing dog shelter hand out treats to dozens of rescued animals which had been bound for a controversial dog meat festival under way this week in southern China.

The annual event in Yulin city always provokes outrage from animal rights activists, but this year they hope the coronavirus epidemic will be the death knell of a tradition they see as cruel.

Activists save hundreds of dogs every year by raiding slaughterhouses and intercepting trucks. They say traders steal pets and strays and transport them long distances, mostly to the country’s south.

Dog meat is traditionally believed to be good for the health in certain parts of China, but the habit has been in steady decline as more and more affluent urban dwellers choose to keep the animals as pets.

Amid growing concerns about hygiene, China fast-tracked laws banning the consumption and trade of wildlife.

While the law does not apply to dog meat, Shenzhen and Zhuhai — southern cities not far from Yulin — banned the consumption of dogs in April, becoming the first cities in China to do so.

And last month the agriculture ministry reclassified dogs as companion animals, not livestock, though it did not explicitly prohibit eating them.

(Excerpt) Read more at:

https://www.france24.com/en/20200623-china-dog-meat-festival-goes-ahead-but-virus-takes-a-toll

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