Ricky Gervais Speaks Out Against Chinese Dog Meat Festival

Every year, tens of thousands of dogs are killed on one day for food at the Yulin dog meat festival in China. This year’s festival happens on June 22, 2015 and comedian Ricky Gervais is urging animal lovers to help put a stop to it.

An outspoken animal advocate, Gervais  has spoken out in support of animal welfare efforts before and this year he is campaigning with Humane Society International.

“They steal people’s pets to torture & eat,” he tweeted. “What would you do to someone who you caught torturing your dog? I hope you’d stop them somehow.”

He recently wrote the following message after watching video footage from the Humane Society International (HSI) of the stolen and stray dogs being carted off for food: “I’ve seen the footage that HSI has captured on video, and it breaks my heart. I will never forget the look of bewilderment and fear on the faces of these poor animals – the dogs and cats await a horrible fate. No animal deserves to be treated like this.”

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Photo credit: Twitter / RickyGervais

He’s also taken to Twitter to spread awareness of their campaign to stop what he sees as a barbaric practice, writing, “They believe torturing the dog makes the meat tastier. They beat them, burn them, skin & boil them alive! Disgusting sub human c**ts.”

Several commentators have voiced criticism, but, Gervais is always ready to respond with his acerbic wit. On June 17 he tweeted, “Dear Morons, stopping the #YulinDogMeatFestival is less to do with them being dogs & more to do with them being tortured and skinned alive.”

As the HSI petition against the Yulin dog meat festival explains:

“Thousands of dogs, many of them stolen pets, are captured and transported over long distances under horrific conditions to Yulin, a city in China’s Guangxi province. There, they’re held in crowded cages without food or water until they are killed. Often, they are beaten and their throats are slit in front of other terrified animals. Most Chinese citizens reject this practice, and we’re committed to supporting them in changing their laws.

“Last year, thanks to overwhelming international pressure, Yulin authorities announced that they would not support the festival. The result was a subdued event and fewer dogs slaughtered. More recently, the authorities have claimed that the festival wouldn’t happen this year, but preparations for a mass dog slaughter are underway despite this statement.”

The HSI further reveals that the annual Yulin festival is often wrongly assumed by Westerners to be a Chinese tradition, when in fact, they say it was invented as recently as 2010 by dog meat traders as a way to boost business, although the practice of eating dog meat has been in the area for some time. Dog meat in China is very much a culinary sub-culture and not part of the mainstream, the animal welfare group says. Despite this fact, as many as 10,000 dogs are killed every year as part of the Yulin event and as many as 10 million dogs are believed to be killed for their meat in China every year.

Animal rights activists across China and the rest of the globe are increasingly condemning the dog meat festival, calling for it to end. They say the dog meat trade is illegal, unregulated, and cruel.

The HSI also saved one dog from this year’s slaughterhouse and announced on June 15 that they have named the dog Ricky. “SAVED! this sweet dog in a Yulin slaughterhouse, named him Ricky to honor our friend @rickygervais #StopYulin2015

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Ricky rescued by HSI from Yulin dog meat slaughterhousePhoto credit: Twitter / HSIGlobal

Ricky has spoken out against the dog meat trade in the past. Last year, along with several other well-known personalities, he participated in a video for Soi Dog Foundation. It’s difficult to watch, but gives an overview of the dog meat trade going on throughout Asia, not just Thailand and China.

You can support this year’s petitions against the Yulin dog meat festival here and here. And please share the message about these groups’ important animal welfare efforts with your friends.