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Animal lovers face backlash from residents of Chinese city after protesting dog meat festival

Published on Jun 21, 2014 8:27 PM

BEIJING (AFP) - Animal lovers provoked an angry backlash from residents of a Chinese city after protesting a controversial festival on Saturday in which locals celebrate the summer solstice by eating dog meat, witnesses and the media said.

Activists have flocked for weeks to Yulin, in the south-western region of Guangxi, to protest the local custom of eating dogs - particularly on the summer solstice, which fell on Saturday, in an event dubbed the "Dog Meat Festival".

But their efforts have backfired. "A lot of people have said, 'I don't eat dog meat, but just because of these idiots, I will go buy dog meat to eat and to give to my friends to eat," a 50-year-old animal rights advocate visiting Yulin told AFP by phone.

The activist, who asked not to be named due to sensitivities around the issue, added that outside criticism had "created a sense of confrontation".

Animal activists loading a cage holding dogs that they just bought from vendors to stop them from being eaten ahead of the annual dog meat festival in Yulin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on June 20, 2014. The festival, scheduled on June 21 as in previous years to mark the summer solstice, in southern Chinese city of Yulin, has drawn fierce protests from animal welfare groups and pet owners, who urge the local government to ban the long-standing tradition. According to animal welfare activists, about 10,000 dogs will be consumed on that day, Xinhua News Agency reported. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
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