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Tag: protests

China’s dog meat festival opens to protests

The annual dog meat festival in the Southern China city of Yulin opened yesterday — despite what was probably the heaviest barrage of criticism and protest in its history.

As vendors slaughtered dogs and cooked their meat in dozens of restaurants across the city, animal welfare activists attempted to disrupt the opening of the 10-day festival.

Some bought dogs from dealers to save them from being slaughtered. Others argued with local residents, and police were intervening to prevent physical confrontations, according to news reports.

“We came to Yulin to tell people here dogs are our friends. They should not kill dogs in such a cruel way and many of the dogs they killed are pet dogs,” said Yang Yuhua, a volunteer from the central city of Chongqing.

While most of the meat used at the festival comes from farm dogs raised for that purpose, critics say strays and stolen pet dogs often end up in the mix.

One day into the festival, local residents were complaining that outsiders were ruining the tradition.

“It’s been a tradition for years for us to celebrate the festival. We can’t change it simply because they (animal lovers) love dogs,” a local resident told The Associated Press. “They don’t want us to eat dog meat. We eat dog meat to celebrate the festival, but since they’ve come here, they’ve ruined our mood completely.”

Promoters say eating dog meat during the summer helps ward off the heat and maintain a healthy metabolism.

More than 10,000 animals are killed each year for the summer solstice festival, which has become a focal point for those seeking to halt the tradition of eating dog in China and other Asian countries.

An estimated 10 million to 20 million dogs are killed for their meat each year in China.

This year, the list of celebrities speaking out against the practice grew.

Matt Damon, Pamela Anderson, Minnie Driver and Joaquin Phoenix were among those appearing in a video (above) produced by the Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation.

Yulin’s local government has sought to distance itself from the event, forbidding its employees from attending and limiting its size by shutting down some dog markets and slaughter houses.

“The so-called dog-meat eating festival has never been officially recognized by government or by any regulations or laws,” said an official reached by telephone at the city government’s general office.

“We hold meetings every time before the so-called festival, discussing counter measures such as deploying local police, business and sanitary authorities to inspect and deal with those who sell dogs,” he said.

Between those efforts and the international criticism that seems to increase every year, some organizations say the number of dogs killed for the event might be decreasing.

Plans for whale meat dog treats dropped

A Japanese company has canned its plan to buy the meat of endangered whales killed in the waters around Iceland and sell it in the form of luxury dog treats.

An Icelandic firm, Hvalur hf,  set to resume commercial whaling next month, had planned to kill up to 174 endangered fin whales and sell the meat to Tokyo-based Michinoku Farm, the Telegraph reported.

Protests from environmentalists prompted the Japanese company to cancel its order, but the whale hunt is still on.

“It’s outrageous,” said Claire Perry of the Environmental Investigation Agency. “It is grotesque to kill an endangered species and then ship it half way around the world in order to feed it to dogs.”

Takuma Konno, head of Michinoku, confirmed that plan has been scrapped.

“Dogs are like family members for many people in Japan,” he said. “We just wanted to supply a wide variety of food for them. We consider dogs as just as important as whales. But it’s not worth selling the product if it risks disturbing some people.”

That hasn’t changed plans for whalers in Iceland, who, after a three year break, will resume hunting for fin whales next month.

Iceland, along with Norway and Japan, refuses to abide by the moratorium on whaling.

Let us prey: Pastor wants church stray shot

A pastor in Dallas who apparently thinks that “do unto others” stuff doesn’t apply to canines is drawing criticism for how he’s handling the matter of a stray dog who has taken up residence behind the church.

For several months now, local rescuers have been trying to help the dog and animal control officials have been trying to capture it. That’s not good enough for the pastor, who reportedly says he plans to hire someone to shoot it, and who scolded a 70-year-old woman who showed up to feed it.

Let’s stop for a moment and ponder who’s acting in a more Godly manner here.

Pastor Joseph Stabile says the dog is aggressive to parishioners of the Cochran Chapel United Methodist Church, at Midway and Northwest Highway. Others dispute that, saying the dog is shy and avoids people, according to a report by Examiner.com’s animal rescue blogger Rebecca Poling in Dallas, who is also a member of the Metroplex Animal Coalition, one of the organizations raising questions about the pastor’s behavior.

Poling points out that no parishioners have come forward to back up the pastor’s claim the dog is aggressive.

Dallas Animal Services has tried to capture the dog, even using a tranquilizer gun at one point. A group of well-intentioned dog lovers have joined in the cause, trying to humanely catch the dog, known as John Wesley, but he continues to elude everyone.

The group has started a Facebook page, a Care2 petition and has written letters to church and city officials. They also plan Sunday morning protests outside the church to let parishioners know what their pastor is doing.

Update: Rebecca Polin reports that Dallas Police accompanied rescuers to the church this week. Officers spoke to the pastor by phone, and persuaded him to give the rescuers access to the property so they can continue trying to catch the dog. In return, rescuers have called off the protest.

Hawaiians protest proposed pit bull ban

Dog owners and advocates in Hawaii are rallying in protest of a proposed state law to ban pit bulls.

In the first of several protests planned on Oahu, dozens of dog owners called Sunday for state lawmakers to dismiss a bill that would ban pit bulls, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported.

Hundreds of Oahu residents signed a petition started by several community members at a rally at Magic Island  to protest the bill, as dozens of residents, wearing shirts that protest breed-specific legislation, lined Ala Moana Boulevard to draw awareness to their cause.

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Petland stores protested nationwide

Protesters turned out at about 25 Petland stores in 15 states over the weekend in a choreographed series of demonstrations against the marketing of puppy mill puppies.

Petland, after an 8-month investigation by the Humane Society of the United States, was identified by the organization as the largest retail supporter of puppy mills in the nation.

HSUS says its investigation revealed that many Petland stores across the country are marketing puppy mill puppies to unsuspecting consumers.

Petland denies the accusation.

“To encourage the company to mend its way, we’ve organized rallies at 22 Petland stores across the country this Saturday,” HSUS President Wayne Pacelle said in his blog, “A Humane Nation.”

HSUS is encouraging Petland to allow adoptions in its stores, as PETCO and PetSmart do, rather than selling puppies.

The protests took place Saturday in Maryville, Tenn.; Tampa, Fla.; Hilliard, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Pa.; and nearly a dozen other locations.

Petland says the charges are untrue and slanderous. Here’s the full text of a press release the company issued Friday:

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