People in southern China’s Yulin City are this week preparing for the dog days of summer, but not in terms of the weather.
Residents in this Guangxi province city can on Monday see street vendors in local markets holding metal cages containing hounds for sale for Tuesday’s dog meat festival, an journalist on the scene reports.
Many cages hold one dog, while some have three crammed together, with a few cages even holding cats.
Restaurant chefs and ordinary people are the customers for between 20 and 30 such vendors, who sell their canine products today and tomorrow.
Once purchased, the dogs will be killed and then cooked up in various dishes for the festival, which lands on the day of summer solstice.
Depending on the breed and quality of meat, the dogs sell for 60-70 yuan ($9-$10) per kilogram.
The festival attracts diners who believe dog meat is good for health, especially during hot summer days.
But not everyone is convinced of the benefits of the meat, and a number of animal rights groups are raising their voices in criticism of the event.
Animal protection organization Humane Society International (HSI), for its part, said in a statement last week it had rescued 34 animals, including dogs and cats, from a slaughterhouse in Yulin ahead of the festival.
Locals activists negotiated the release of the animals, which were reportedly living in squalid conditions and possibly stolen from pet owners, and were transferred to a shelter.
Thousands of dogs are being held across Yulin and will be killed for the festival, HSI claims.