Almost 500,000 people from around the globe have signed a petition asking the Chinese government to ban the Yulin dog meat festival. The Yulin festival, held in Guangxi, is one of the largest dog meat festivals in the world with around 10,000 canines consumed over the course of ten days.

Also called the Lychee and Dog Meat Festival, the festival takes place every year on summer solstice. This year it will take place on June 21.

Yulin dog meat festival
Yulin dog meat festival.

The petitioners called upon Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Governor of Guangxi province Chen Wu, as well as members of the Chinese Central Government to “ban [the festival] immediately.”

It said that “already thousands of Chinese citizens have spoken out against the festival, but authorities won’t act until they see how badly it’s hurting China’s global image, which they’ve been working hard to improve. That’s where we come in.”

“For the Yulin dog meat festival, some dogs are stolen from their owners and beaten or bled to death,” the petition said.

Yulin dog meat festival
Dogs in cages at the Yulin festival.

Netizens from Germany to South Africa have signed the petition.

The Yulin government has started distancing itself from the controversial festival. Last June, it said that the festival was a way for the community to gather and that neither the government, nor local organisations, had ever held events related to the Yulin festival.

As of 9am, Tuesday, the petition had gathered over 495,000 signatures. Other petitions have called for the outright banning of the Yulin festival.

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.