Despite assurances from local government authorities that Guangxi Province’s Yulin Dog Meat Festival has been canceled, millions of netizens are taking to social media to protest the mass torture and killings of more than 10,000 cats and dogs. The festival, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, was founded in 2010 and draws on a decades-old local tradition of slaughtering cats and dogs to celebrate summer solstice. Peter Li, China Specialist at Humane Society International, claims that though “the Yulin government has declared the ‘festival’ will not happen,” the statement is “mere semantics” and thousands of dogs will be killed regardless. As of Thursday, the Facebook group Stop Yulin Dog & Cat Meat Festival 2015 has 50,000 likes and #StopYuLin2015 has been used hundreds of thousands of times on Twitter. Approximately 1.5 million people, including celebrities Sia, Carrie Fisher, and Ricky Gervais, have signed Raise UR Paw’s petition on Change.org urging the President of the People’s Republic of China “to be part of a compassionate world where we all come together to stand up and speak out for all innocent life, not just the life of humanity.” The protests, however, have also sparked controversy. “Don’t you eat beef? If you stop eating beef, then we’ll stop eating dog meat,” one dog trader shouted at protesters last year, pointing out that meat-eating foreigners protest China’s consumption of dogs but subject cows and other animals to similarly inhumane treatment and slaughter.
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