Dining on Dogs in Yulin: VICE Reports (Full Length)


I’d say we’re about 50 meters from where
all those live dogs are being sold. And just down here you’ve got this. I’m just watching a bunch of people
roasting their dogs. Oh my God! [MUSIC] The annual dog meat festival upsets
practically everyone who isn’t taking part in it.>>[FOREIGN_LANGUAGE].>>[FOREIGN_LANGUAGE].>>Animal rights activists say the dog
meat trade is cruel, unhygienic, and poorly regulated. But stolen pets and strays make their way
to the dinner table. Despite all this, and spurred on by a
fierce backlash from across China, some Yulin locals say that this year, they’re even more set on plowing down
man’s best friend by the cageful. Yulin is a town of six million, not far
from China’s southern border of Vietnam. We arrived the day before summer solstice,
and everyone was getting ready to celebrate by
killing some dogs. So we’re just heading down to Dongkou
Shテャchヌ始g, which is one of the main meat markets here
in Yulin. It’s where a lot of people of Zei Beng buy
their meat. So I’m hoping there’ll be guys buying dogs in preparation for the
festival. Oh my god.>>[FOREIGN].>>The smell is just. I don’t know. Cuz it’s meaty. It’s like horribly, horribly meaty. And it’s kind of mixed with that familiar,
don’t eat smell. It just really turns your stomach. But, you know, I didn’t hang out at meat
markets that often. And a lot of Chinese meat markets to be
fair, are pretty explicit. So, maybe, this is normal, maybe my
stomach would be turned anyway even if I didn’t see see so many
dead dogs.>>[FOREIGN].>>[NOISE].>>Where do they come from?>>[NOISE] [FOREIGN].>>So when I just asked the guy delivering
the dogs where they came from, he said they’re from Guizhou outside of
the province. But no one seems to be able to give me an
exact answer of where these dogs are from.>>[FOREIGN]>>Everything must go into whatever
they’re cooking. Cuz there’s, they’re just, kind of,
blindly chopping. I’m really scared to open my mouth cuz I
think that there’s gonna, like, be dog meat going, so I don’t->>[FOREIGN].>>It seems like people are very much
aware of the bad name that they’re getting for eating dog, but they’re very defensive
and quite hostile towards us. On the other hand, they say that it’s
their right to eat dog because living conditions have got better
in China, they’re able to eat dog more and they’re not forcing anyone else to eat
them. [MUSIC] The butchery is bleak enough, but it’s the
downtown market where people are buying the freshest locally sourced produce, that
really messes with your head.>>So these, actually, to be fair, look more like the kind of dogs I was
expecting to be bred for eating. Apart from that guy over there who looks
simply like my bichon frise. [MUSIC]>>[FOREIGN].>>I thought I was talking to a pet. And then she said, yeah, someone wants to
buy him, I’ll sell him for food.>>[FOREIGN].>>It’s a business, they want to sell the
pets whether they’re as pets or whether they’re as meat, they just want to
sell them.>>Shandai is an activist spearheading the
anti dog festival movement. I caught her wandering around the market,
looking teary.>>So what are you doing here today?>>Well today I’m checking the markets, checking the data about the dog cat meat
trade. According to our investigation, dogs and
cats was killed in the dog meat festival. It’s over 50,000 piece.>>Wow.>>Yeah, very huge.>>Over 50,000, and so that, but that’s
dogs and cats.>>Yeah, it includes some cats, they are
about 10,000 pieces.>>So about 40,000 dogs killed.>>Yeah, yeah, yeah, uh-huh.>>So do you think the festival is bigger
than it was last year?>>I don’t think it’s bigger than last
year. I think the Yulin government has done
something, and it worked. We also can find some, it was controlled
step-by-step.>>Mm-hm.>>But however, in this dog trade markets, I just wonder because this is not a legal
trade. This volume is not so small.>>Mm-hm.>>Yeah, and I found some dogs was old and
sick. And you might get some sick. So I think you could get the most strict
control here.>>Can you just explain to us? You said they’re illegal. Can you explain that?>>The trading here is illegal because you
don’t think to any supervision here. There’s no evidence showing that this is
belonging to the trader. Do you have any demonstrations planned or
anything for today?>>I think maybe later we’ll do it, yeah. [MUSIC]>>We’re just on our way over to the city
government. We’ve heard that there are animal rights
protesters demonstrating over there. I have to say up to now their attempts
have been a little bit shambolic. So not quite sure what to expect.>>Facing a PR nightmare this year, the city government has retracted its
support of the festival. Claiming the holiday barely even exists,
and they clearly don’t want any fuss being made because before the protest
even started, the square was full of thugs who might
well have been hired to disrupt the event. In China, unsanctioned protests are still
illegal, and animal rights activists are risking arrest
simply for demonstrating. [MUSIC]>>[FOREIGN_LANGUAGE].>>So it’s a very nervous atmosphere at
the moment.>>[FOREIGN]. With no government officials showing up,
and little progress in the heated shouting
match, the protest is dissolved. [MUSIC] Ultimately, I wanted to see if a dog meat
festival is really as heartbreaking as it sounds. We’ve been invited to celebrate the
festival with a local family, who were probably a little weirded out
that their traditional party had drawn such deep condemnation from across China
and abroad. So we’ve come to a village just outside of
Yulin. It feels very relaxed compared to the
city. I feel I could just step back in time a
bit. [MUSIC] This guy here belongs to the neighbors. They brought it along just in case there
wasn’t enough meat to feed the 100 guests. [NOISE].>>[FOREIGN_LANGUAGE].>>The dogs been in this guy’s family for
the last five or six years, so he doesn’t want it to die because he quite
likes the dog. But when I asked him if he was gonna eat
dog today he’s like, yep. [LAUGH].>>[FOREIGN_LANGUAGE].>>I’m seeing four dead dogs inside boxes. [NOISE] [FOREIGN] Aw, sorry. Aw. [NOISE]
It’s really hard cause there’s a lot of family watching, so don’t want to wanna
look too rude but basically they’re cleaning the head. They’re cutting the head open and taking
the meat out of the like, cheeks of the dog’s head. [NOISE] Quite clear that nothing is going to waste
here, which I guess is a good thing. I mean if you’re gonna kill a dog you may
as well eat the entirety of it and it definitely seems like that’s happening. [NOISE]
[NOISE] Oh my god, they’re even saving the tongue. So we’ve got three different types of dog
coming along. One of them is being deep fried, this one
is being stewed. And we can go and take a look at this one. [FOREIGN] So we’ve got to add a bit of ginger. [FOREIGN] These are the spices that they use, it’s a dog spice, so specifically designed
for cooking dog meat. Inside we’ve got like dried tangerine
pill, we’ve got some bay leaf, a bit of anise and a bit of cloves. So, oh, and some spice as well. So, yeah, all sorts of flavors go in
there. Quite strong flavors, actually. They said that’s partly to disguise the
smell of like the slightly fishy fragrance that comes out of it, so for some reason
I’m not so freaked out anymore. I feel like, okay, the dogs are dead. It’s just piles and piles of meat, which I
can handle. [MUSIC] The vibe was actually nicer than you’d
imagine. Everyone was getting pissed on lychee
liquor and crates of beer. Well, thankfully, the neighbors’ dog is
spared from going in the pot. [MUSIC] Looks like maybe a quarter of the dog, I’m
just psyching myself up. I’ve got every single person’s eyes
looking at me here I feel like I’d be incredibly rude if I refused, and,
what the hell, when in Rome.>>[FOREIGN].>>Okay one at a time. [LAUGH].
>>[FOREIGN_LANGUAGE].>>yeah, I mean.>>[FOREIGN_LANGUAGE].>>Okay, oh my god, fuck it.>>[FOREIGN_LANGUAGE].>>It’s kinda, a little bit like, beef or
lamb, that kind of texture. Oh, but I have to say, it’s kind of that,.>>[FOREIGN].>>Distinct smell that is, kind of,
lurking in my mouth still.>>Alarm bells are going off in my head
saying, I just ate a dog, I just ate a dog, I just [LAUGH] ate a dog.
>>[FOREIGN].>>Obviously, squeamishness aside, eating
dog isn’t really that different from eating any other animal
with four legs and two eyes. But frankly, the idea of slaughtering dogs
that spent their last days in cages still bums me out. Which is why I’m happy that there are some
people out here who will do anything to save them. The next morning, we caught up with an activist who’s just
saved a whole bunch of them. She’s kind of the Oskar Schindler of the
dog trade.>>[FOREIGN].>>Oh my God! Do you recognize that dog? That was the dog that I saw yesterday that
was supposed to go for the chop. [FOREIGN]. [MUSIC] It’s come as no surprise that the dogs
sold in Yulin are often kept in cramped conditions and treated no better
than any other animal raised for meat. I really don’t think I’ll be eating dog
again, but it’s easy to see why the people who celebrate the festival
don’t want to give up their tradition. The thing is though, dogs are dogs. They’re Lassie and they’re Snowy, and
they’re both Lady and the Tramp. Which is why frustratingly for the dog
traders, I really can’t see the planet ever letting
this festival pass without an outrage. [MUSIC]

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