China's annual dog meat festival this year in Yulin faces more scrutiny than ever after animal rights groups sent Beijing a petition with 11 million signatures protesting the practice as barbaric and cruel. Mana Rabiee reports.
ATTENTION EDITORS. THIS STORY IS BEING REFILED WITH A CORRECTION. APOLOGIES FOR THE INCONVENIENCE. One animal welfare group calls it -- the "Festival of Cruelty". China's annual dog meat event in Yulin, where thousands of dogs are slaughtered, and turned into food. But this year the festival has come under scrutiny. Animal rights group have sent Beijing authorities a petition with 11 million signatures protesting the event, saying it's cruel. Activists like Yang Yuhua came here to save the dogs. (SOUNBITE) (Mandarin) ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVIST, YANG YUHUA, SAYING: "Dogs are man's best, the most loyal friend. How could we eat our friends? You tell me." The Yulin government has distanced itself from the festival, saying it's staged by private businesses without official backing. Still, vendors hope for good business this year. (SOUNBITE) (Mandarin) DOG MEAT VENDOR, MR. ZHOU, SAYING: "They are a lot, a lot of people who like (eating dog meat). It's your habit, it's my habit." Dog ownership in China used to be considered decadent and bourgeois. But its growing middle class increasingly sees the consumption of dog meat as barbaric, and is fighting to end the practice.