The traditional dog meat festival in Yulin, South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, which begins on Thursday this year, will take place in a much more undisturbed manner this year, with few animal rights protests reported before the event.
More stores are reportedly slaughtering dogs than before outside the city in preparation for the city's annual dog meat festival, a volunteer who prefers to be called Ruo Shui from Hushengyuan, a Jiangsu Province based animal protection organization, told the Global Times on Thursday.
"We left Wednesday night with dogs we saved, but I didn't see another animal rights organization or activists protesting there," Ruo said.
Posters that read "Boycott dog meat festival, save the dogs" could be seen in many places around the city, photos on sina.com.cn show.
However, local residents reached by the Global Times said they have seen fewer protesters this year.
The festival is traditionally held on Summer Solstice, which falls on Thursday this year.
According to local customs and traditional Chinese medicine theory, dog meat is nutritious and helps to protect people from diseases that are common in summer.
"Police officers on duty are more visible to maintain order in the festival," a local resident named Liu Jiang told the Global Times.
"We hardly see dog rights activists this year. It is more tranquil than in previous years," Liu said.
A dog dealer could earn more than 10 million yuan ($ 1.5 million) per day by selling dogs, Sina quoted a local dog lover surnamed Li as saying.
The restaurants could make even more money due to a large number of tourists and increasing get-togethers, Li added, noting some could make more than 30 percent of a year's profit during the festival.
Despite the dog meat festival's great potential in boosting the local GDP, the Yulin government has always treated it with caution, claiming it began as a custom, which was never officially promoted.
"Local residents buy dog meat as always. However, I think the dog meat festival might someday disappear," a local resident named Wen Jun told the Global Times.