Amazing Animals

Ricky Gervais Looking To Bring An End To Chinese Festival Which Kills 10,000 Dogs Per Year‏

"They believe torturing the dog makes the meat tastier. They beat them, burn them, skin & boil them alive."

Photo: AP/Humane Society International

It’s well known that Ricky Gervais is a serious animal activist. He recently hit the front pages after slamming a hunter for posing with a dead giraffe, and a quick look at his Twitter account shows that he does a whole lot to promote the cause of animal protection.

It’s no surprise then that as the Chinese Yulin Dog Meat Festival approaches – a festival infamous for slaughtering tens of thousands of dogs – Ricky Gervais is at the forefront of the protests against it.

The ‘dog meat festival’ is the city of Yulin’s annual summer solstice festival, and is scheduled to take place on 21 and 22 June. In past years, it has been commonplace to see over 10,000 dogs and cats butchered in less than humane conditions before being served to the local customers.

As is often the case with global protests, the campaigners against the Yulin festival have taken to Twitter in their swarms to raise awareness of the controversial showcase, and have been mightily successful much thanks to their #stopyulin2015 hashtag and the help of Ricky Gervais, who boasts more than eight million followers on the site.

Around 500,000lbs of dog meat is annually consumed at the festival in question, but the Humane Society International has launched a petition to put international pressure on the event, and even named a saved dog Ricky in honour to Gervais’ contribution to the cause.

Gervais has tweeted numerous links to the HSI petition, as well as sending out disturbing pictures of the conditions the animals are kept in prior to their deaths and highlighting that it’s not about stopping the eating of animals, but the cruel way in which they are treated.

“My friends at Humane Society International are working tirelessly to end this cruel trade all over Asia, and they desperately need your help,” said Gervais, in a statement released online. “I’ve seen the footage that HSI has captured on video, and it breaks my heart. I will never forget the look of bewilderment and fear on the faces of these poor animals.

“The dogs and cats await a horrible fate. No animal deserves to be treated like this.”

Of course, there’s only so much of an effect that the positivity of this campaign can have, with Facebook and Twitter both blocked inside China, and despite rife animal activism on Weibo – China’s answer to Twitter – many believe the laissez-faire attitude of the nation’s government and disregard for the opinion of outsiders will see them turn a blind eye to the slaughter this weekend once again.

The festival has been a tradition in the area since the 1990s, though people have been eating dogs in the area for generations.

While some of the dogs killed are raised specifically for eating, others are reported to be bought or even sickeningly stolen, with pets ending up on the menu, and protests within China about the festival have risen up gradually over the past few years.

Gervais and the HSI are hoping that the latter’s images being seized from the streets of Yulin, many which have collars and clearly have owners, will open the eyes of the public and kick the campaign up another level.

Sign the petition now and who knows, you could just help put an end to the butchery.

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