China bans dog-eating 'carnival'

2011-09-21 14:31

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Beijing - The Chinese government has banned a traditional carnival in the east of the country in which dogs are eaten after being chopped up alive in the street following a public uproar that the festival was cruel, state media reported on Wednesday.

The tradition in Qianxi in the wealthy coastal province of Zhejiang dates back 600 years to celebrate a local military victory and is normally held every October, the official Xinhua news agency said.

"The ancient fair was replaced by a modern commodity fair in the 1980s, but dog-eating has been kept as a tradition," it reported.

"However, vendors began to butcher dogs in public a few years ago to show their dog meat is fresh and safe, as a way to ease buyers' worry that the meat may be refrigerator-preserved or even contaminated."

Pictures which circulated online via popular micro-blogging sites had such an impact that the government gave into demands that the festival be banned, Xinhua said.

"The government's quick response should be encouraged. I hope eating dogs will not be a custom there anymore. It's not a carnival, but a massacre," it quoted one internet user as saying.

Despite once being banned as a bad bourgeois habit, dog ownership has become increasingly popular with China's growing middle-class in the past few years, as has online activism.

While the government has encouraged people to take to the internet to expose corruption and abuse of power, it keeps a tight rein on what can be said online, deleting comments it objects to and arresting those who criticise too much.

Read more on:    china  |  animals
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