http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/op-ed-dog-eating-festival-starts-early-to-avoid-notice/article/387028

Op-Ed: Dog-eating festival starts early to avoid notice

Posted Jun 18, 2014 by Walter McDaniel
Those who love dogs may be more than a little outraged by this article. One Chinese festival involves eating dogs and is being held early to avoid animal activists.
Most of us are probably more used to this sort of dog eating some food. In China one very different ...
Most of us are probably more used to this sort of dog eating some food. In China one very different practice is gaining massive coverage all over the world.
Birhanb via Wikimedia
The festival itself focuses on local beliefs about the power of consuming the animal. The festival takes place in Yulin, Guangxi. The practice stems from a local belief that you can be empowered by eating dog meat. It happens during the Yulin Summer Solstice Dog Meat Festival where people celebrate being alive in a fashion that is very unusual to the west.
This year to avoid problems with activists they will be starting the festival early according to a report by Gawker. They will be starting one week away from the normal solstice event. This is having the unintended effect of some major media taking notice.
Cultural differences account for much of this. Dogs were for some time a vital part of food in China. They are still eaten here and there. Over time many in the country have slowly moved away from the practice and used them as pets like in many other parts of the world.
The situation on animal rights in China is hazy at best. A report from Sinosphere reports that some areas have "routine abuse of animals". The BBC reports that they have taken some steps to stop this problem but there has not been enough action yet.
Stopping the practice on religious principles is tricky as well. Since locals have been eating dog meat before their recorded history they may appeal on that basis. Many cultures have religious practices which westerners find unorthodox or even dangerous. Drawing the fine line on what one culture can tell another to do is something few among us would be up to.