Los Angeles County Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to join a national effort to pressure both the Chinese and South Korean governments to stop the practice of slaughtering canines for consumption and trade.
The vote came after two speakers commended the board’s intention.
“Anything you can do to help us fight this … most people don’t know about it,” said Valarie Ianniello, executive director for the Sherman Oaks-based Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation. The organization was founded to raise awareness about and to help rescue dogs from farms and festivals in China, Cambodia, and South Korea where they are slaughtered. Dogs and cats can be legally slaughtered in American states as well, Ianniello added, and her organization is working with federal officials to halt the domestic practice.
Supervisor Hilda Solis introduced the motion to request that county officials craft a letter in support of a growing movement to urge China to end the dog meat trade and the annual, 10-day Yulin Dog Meat festival, held in June. In January, a resolution was introduced by Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings that asks the U.S. government to condemn the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in the Guangxi region because of extreme animal cruelty.
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“Los Angeles County does not condone the torture and abuse of any animal” Solis said in a statement. “The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is a horrifying event that has created international outrage due its cruel treatment of dogs, so much so that the majority of Chinese people feel that this practice should end. We will continue to advocate for our loving companions at every level of government.”
She added that the motion is not cultural in nature, adding that most people in China and South Korea do not participate nor condone the practice.
A reportedly 10,000 dogs are skinned alive during the Yulin festival, which begins on June 21. The animals, some of them pets that have been stolen, are then butchered and eaten as a way to mark the summer solstice, according to reports to Solis’ motion.
The efforts of activists to raise awareness about the dog meat festivals, farms, and trade has sparked a global backlash against China and other countries. But while China and South Korea are consuming less dog meat, other countries continue to increase the practice. Solis’ motion also mentions the dog meat trade in South Korea, where reportedly more than 2 million animals are slaughtered and eaten each year.