Hastings’ Urges President Trump to Raise Yulin Dog Meat Festival with President Xi During Upcoming Visit
Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) sent the following letter to President Donald J. Trump, urging him to raise the issue of the global dog meat trade and the Yulin Dog Meat Festival with President Xi Jinping during his upcoming visit to the United States next month. (Please find below and attached a copy of the letter).
March 16, 2017
The Honorable Donald Trump
Dear President Trump:
I write to strongly urge you to raise the issue of the Dog Meat Festival in Yulin, Guangxi Zhaung Autonomous Region, China, and the global dog meat trade with President Xi Jinping during your summit with him next month at Mar-a-Lago.
The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is scheduled to commence on June 21, 2017. This festival was launched by dog meat traders as a commercial enterprise to boost flagging sales of dog meat. More than 10,000 dogs are reportedly captured, transported and slaughtered every year for the festival, with more than 10 million dogs killed annually in China for the dog meat trade. Yulin’s dog slaughter takes place in residential areas and public marketplaces, imposing scenes of extreme animal cruelty on local residents, including young children who may, as a result, suffer psychological trauma and desensitization.
Animal welfare groups have found that a number of these dogs are stolen pets taken from their homes, still wearing their collars when they reach the slaughterhouse to be brutally killed. These dogs suffer mentally from watching other dogs being disemboweled and blow-torched in front of them. This horrific practice is completely unacceptable! I adamantly oppose these horrendous acts, and believe through diligent diplomatic pressure, it can be stopped.
While the Yulin city government withdrew as a sponsor of the Dog Meat Festival, it has taken no meaningful action to enforce China’s existing laws and regulations on animal disease control, food safety, trans-provincial dog transport, or youth protection, all of which are breached by the dog meat trade. More can be done to ensure that the mass slaughter of dogs does not take place in Yulin once again this year.
I believe we should encourage the Yulin authorities to take additional steps to protect these innocent animals. First, they can deter the transportation of dogs into the city by issuing a public notice telling all traders to cease their actions. Second, the Yulin authorities should enforce the existing “one certificate per dog” regulation and authenticate health certificates of dogs entering the city. Finally, they should be encouraged to consider building government shelters for stray and confiscated dogs.
Yulin’s Dog Meat Festival significantly impacts China’s international reputation. The Chinese government recently announced that it plans to ban all ivory trade and processing activities by the end of this year. This is a major step in the right direction to protect these vulnerable animals that have fallen victim to a heinous crime. In kind, the Yulin authorities have an opportunity to protect the innocent dogs being slaughtered and consumed annually by enforcing existing national government policies to end these practices.
In Congress, I have reintroduced a bipartisan resolution, H.Res.30, which condemns the Yulin Dog Meat Festival and urges China to end the dog meat trade. The resolution currently has 118 co-sponsors. Furthermore, I believe that we must be mindful of our own laws in the United States pertaining to the dog and cat meat trade. That is why I recently introduced H.R. 1406, the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act of 2017, which is bipartisan legislation prohibiting the slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption in the United States. I proudly introduced this measure with Representatives Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Dave Trott (R-MI), and Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA).
Mr. President, the atrocities of the dog meat trade taking place in China are opposed by a growing number of Chinese people and the United States can and must do more to speak out on this issue.
Once again, I urge you to raise this issue in your upcoming meeting with President Xi.
Thank you for your time and consideration of my concerns, and I respectfully look forward to your reply.
Alcee L. Hastings
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.