Everyone knows that the Chinese eat dogs – it’s an urban legend of sorts that happens to be true. But while most people in the US are appalled at the thought of Rover being eaten for lunch, the Chinese actually hold a dog eating festival that has been going on for 600+ years in the township of Qianxi. The festival celebrates a military victory during the Ming dynasty in the Qianxi township, where all of the dogs were killed so that they would not bark and alert the enemy.
During the festival hundreds of dogs are slaughtered alive and eaten. This year, a major push was made largely in social media, and the festival was banned for the first time. A tweet saying something to the effect of “Slaughtering live dogs is not a carnival, it’s a massacre” was retweeted 100,000 plus times. Apparently the Chinese middle class is slowly coming to the realization that owning a dog as a pet can be quite enjoyable.
So what the hell is the point of all this? I went to China for a couple of weeks in 2009, and have been asked countless times since about my impressions of the country. To sum them up, I’m not big fan of the place. I understand it’s very difficult to judge an enormous nation on the few places I visited, but from what I did see, there was enough twisted and grotesque stuff going on to leave a sour taste in my mouth (which was already laced with the sour taste of smog in my lungs). This festival to me is a good and highly publicized example of where these sentiments came from. It’s at least good to see the government listening and moving away from this sort of thing.