If you ever find yourself dissatisfied with whatever meal you find on your plate, just consider some of the gross and gruesome dishes served across the world. Early 20th-century journalist William Seabrook had to have found the worst food while in West Africa: human flesh.
“It was like good, fully developed veal, not young, but not yet beef,” he wrote in his book “Jungle Ways.” “It was very definitely like that, and it was not like any other meat I had ever tasted.”
The description alone turns my stomach, and I can’t imagine any “delicacy” more diabolically disgusting. But the account of a Raleigh, North Carolina, woman that describes some of the culinary practices in southwest China comes close.
“It is an event where 10,000 to 15,000 dogs are tortured,” Valerie Curran explained to WRAL. “They are boiled alive, they are skinned alive, they are beaten with metal poles.
“They then slaughter them and eat them.” This appalling event is called the Lychee and Dog Meat Festival, and it takes place every year in Yulin, a city in China’s Guangxi province.
The Festival marks the beginning of the summer solstice. Some believe that it only started a little less than 30 years ago.
However, the practice of eating canine flesh has existed for about half a millennium. Though China doesn’t have animal-cruelty statues, some experts believe that the festival is already illegal under current laws.
Protests over the event erupted in 2014. The pressure grew so intense both locally and on social media that the Yulin government issued a statement saying that the Festival doesn’t actually exist.
“Some residents of Yulin have the habit of coming together to eat lychees and dog meat during the summer solstice,” the city’s news office said. “The ‘summer solstice lychee and dog meat festival’ is a commercial term, [and] the city has never [officially] organized a ‘dog meat festival.’”
But it didn’t matter to Curran if the Festival was an official event or one to which the government turned a blind eye. Thousands upon thousands of canines were dying, and she wanted to do something about it.
So she raised $20,000 on behalf of No Dogs Left Behind, a rescue organization that specifically targets Chinese pooches. Then she flew to the Celestial Empire and returned with seven dogs.
“Saving any is great,” she said. “They are going to have wonderful lives here in America.”
Curran isn’t the only one trying to help. On March 3, North Wind Kennel in Bedford, New York, took possession of a group of dogs headed for the festival.
Jeffrey Beri, who heads the shelter, told the New York Post that “you can’t possibly fathom what that’s like. … They’re defecating all over each other, they can’t breathe, their faces are smashed against the cages.”
Local Chinese activists have also played their part. One retired school teacher paid approximately $1,100 USD to save 100 dogs in 2015.
As dark as this practice may be, there is a bright lining: People across the globe are trying to help the poor pooches whose lives are threatened.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.