Beijing: The infamous Chinese dog meat festival opened on Wednesday with butchers hacking slabs of cannines and cooks frying the flesh and torching the hair off carcasses, despite rumours that authorities would ban on the fest this year.
After initial reports that authorities would prohibit the meat at the summer solstice event in the southern town of Yulin, animal rights groups said vendors and officials reached a compromise setting a limit of two dogs displayed per stall.
Though the animal welfate groups claim that sales have appeared to be down this year, sources claim that festivalgoers have thronged and even braved the rain to stand in queue outside popular restaurants.
Alart from butchered dogs, others sold cow tongues and pork hocks. But even they sold some dog parts, including dogs’ liver.
Others offered poultry, vegetables and fruit, including big bundles of lychees, which are eaten alongside dog dishes.
One of a AFP reporter, who clicked few photographs at the marker was yelled upon by a stall owner, who warned against taking photos and demanding that they be deleted.
Residents said dog meat was just part of their tradition.
Wu San, 40, used a blowtorch to burn the hair off a dead dog on the floor of a house.
It was given by a friend who had used it as a guard dog but no longer wanted it because “it would only wag its tail, it wouldn`t bark anymore,” Wu said.
“We`ll eat it tonight with friends,” Wu said. “Small dogs don`t taste good. Dogs that are too fat don`t taste good either.”Thousands of dogs have traditionally been killed during the festival in conditions activists describe as brutal, with dogs beaten and boiled alive in the belief that the more terrified they are, the tastier the meat.
The tradition dates back centuries to the Ming Dynasty, with people eating dog and lychees in the belief that it gives them strength, according to Xinhua news agency.
Between 10 million and 20 million dogs are killed for food annually in China, where consumption is legal, according to the Humane Society International (HSI).
But animal rights groups have sought to stop the sale at the annual festival.