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Tears Flow for the Yulin Dog Meat Festival

Posted in: Blog by amy on June 23, 2015

On Sunday morning, I woke up to several texts from my 11-year-old daughter Danielle. “Mom, I’m crying so much right now.” I worried as I wondered what could have happened to make my youngest daughter so sad. Her next text explained: “Do you know what Yulin Festival is??? It’s where people from China steal or take dogs and put them in tiny cages for weeks then kick them when they are sleeping and take them out of their cages. And, it’s tradition and they boil them or burn them or light them on fire or hit them with a stick!” She went on and on, allowing her passion for the poor, innocent creatures to pour out of her fingertips as she continued to text me asking what we could do. I explained how there are evil people in the world and advised her to focus on all of the good people who are doing things daily to save innocent dogs. I also suggested that she stop looking at all of the upsetting pictures. She wanted to know what we could do. I said, “Maybe I can blog about it and bring awareness to this horrible festival.”

The next day, Danielle came home from camp and immediately asked: “Did you blog about Yulin today, Mom?” I was proud. I was pleased. And, I was motivated. My young daughter reminded me how important it is to have a cause, to fight for a cause, to allow your tears to flow for all of the world’s wrongs.

It is so easy to simply turn away, to not look at the pictures, as I initially suggested to Danielle. But, the truth is: We need to look. We need to cry. We need to care. We need to write about it or sign our names on petitions. We need to believe that we can make a change.

And, I warn you that you will feel sickened when you read the following excerpt from an article in The New York Times, Asia Pacific section on July 23, 2015. But, remember, the fact that your stomach is turning and your eyes are filling with tears is the reason why you MUST continue to read:

“A rusty metal cage was tossed from the shop, clanging to a halt near a pile of cages that had been unloaded from a large truck. In one of the cages, four golden-haired dogs were crammed in like Tetris blocks. The dogs crouched silently as they waited to be emptied into a holding pen inside the shop.

Through an open door, a man in a white T-shirt could be seen working silently in dim fluorescent light. With a small club he bludgeoned dog after dog, pausing periodically to move the dazed animals with tongs clamped around their necks. 

In the back alley behind the slaughterhouse, five men, some shirtless, worked with boiling vats of water and blowtorches to prepare the carcasses for Yulin’s specialty, crispy skin dog meat.”

And, now, I give you a moment to pause. To breathe. To absorb what you just read. Just by reading and feeling, you are already doing something. You are already a piece of the future of change.

While this Yulin Festival has garnered much media attention, scrutiny and criticism, it also has sparked a dialogue about tradition and about hypocrisy. For the dog meat lovers, they wonder why we are so disgusted by their actions when we eat cows, which are considered sacred in India, for example. It is a valid argument. However, the fact that these dogs are brutally tortured is what is causing such a stir. I like to believe that the days of U.S. factory farms where cows and chickens and other animals are treated inhumanely will eventually be a part of our past. And, I like to believe that many of us care about where our meat came from and how it made its way to our plate. Hopefully, more and more people are eating grass-fed meat; more and more people are eliminating certain animals from their diet altogether; more and more people are partaking in Meatless Monday; more and more people are caring. That is what I like to believe.

But, I’m not going to just live in a fantasy world. I’m not going to just hope. I’m going to do my part. I’m going to continue my seven-year-long boycott of eating any birds. My goal is to eventually become a Pescatarian. Until then, I’ll consume less. I’ll make wise decisions. I’ll buy organic, grass-fed meat. I’ll talk to my children and encourage their passions and sense of purpose. And, I’ll continue to watch videos, read articles and look at pictures, even when I’m tempted to look away.


He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals. — Immanuel Kant



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