More than 1,000 dogs have been saved from possible slaughter in the run-up to the Yulin dog meat festival in China’s southern Guangxi autonomous region.
The annual festival, which has been held since the late 1990s, falls on summer solstice every year. This year, it takes place on June 21, Apple Daily reports.
The local catering industry claims that based on ancient herbal medicine, eating lychee and dog meat together can help people overcome the negative effects of the hot and humid weather, ignoring calls from animal protection groups.
On Monday, a truck with more than 1,300 dogs was forced to stop at a gas station in Guangzhou by animal activists.
One of the activists was quoted as saying the truck was from Hengyang city in central Hunan province and was on its way to Yulin to deliver the dogs for slaughter.
The truck driver called helpers to the scene after he was surrounded by activists demanding quarantine and transport documents.
Police officers and staff from the local health authority arrived before both sides agreed to send the dogs to a shelter in Guangzhou’s Liwan district.
An activist said the dogs were to be slaughtered in Foshan in Guangdong and their meat was to be shipped to Yulin. She said a number of dogs in the truck were already dead.
Yulin has banned the slaughter of dogs for the festival but traffickers have skirted the regulations by slaughtering them elsewhere.
The city government was reported to have also banned restaurants and hawkers from selling cooked dog meat between June 15 and 21 or face a 100,000 yuan fine and imprisonment, according to Ming Pao Daily.
However, its propaganda department later said there was no such ban.
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