yulin dog meat festival
Animal activists hold banners against Yulin Dog Meat Festival in front of Yulin City Representative office in Beijing, China, June 10, 2016.Reuters

"A dog is a man's best friend." Well, at least that is what people say. Imagine "man's best friend" ending up on someone's dinner table.

This is exactly what happens in China every year at the Yulin dog meat festival, where at least 10 million dogs are tortured and slaughtered to satisfy the taste buds.

According to the Washington Post, around 30 million dogs are slaughtered across Asia throughout the year, with more than one-third of them being killed in China. Thousands of them are set to be killed at the 10-day Yulin festival this year, slated to begin from June 21.

Chinese and international animal rights activists on Friday presented to representative office of Yulin city in Beijing a petition signed by a record 11 million people protesting against this barbaric killings and demanding an end to the festival. Activists say most of the dogs rounded up for the festival are either stolen pets or stray dogs beaten to death in slaughterhouses.

According to a BBC report, around 24 activists along with their dogs handed in the petition. They held banners which had photographs of their pets with the message: "I'm not your dinner."

Supporters of the festival are of the opinion that consuming dog meat is good for people and that there is no difference between consuming canines and other forms of meat.

"I also want to point out that the dogs we eat are specially raised for their meat. We don't eat pet dogs! It's just like people eat carp but don't eat goldfish!" a resident of Yulin was quoted by Washington Post as saying.

They argue that this festival has been going on for thousands of years. They claim eating dog meat has various health benefits, like consuming some parts of the dog could help against rheumatism and and also improve kidneys and stomach functions. It also helps in improving a man's sex drive, according to the report.

However, BBC cited a report by state news agency Xinhua which said the Yulin festival began only a few years ago. But the tradition of eating dogs has been in existence for 400-500 in countries like China and South Korea because it is believed to cool people down in summer.

Humane Society International (HSI), an animal protecting organisation, has described the Yulin dog eating festival as a "nightmare, not a festival."

Peter Li, China policy expert at HSI, was quoted by the Washington Post as saying: "China's dog meat trade is animal abuse and criminality on a massive scale, and a stain on China's international reputation."

Animal activists hold banners against Yulin Dog Meat Festival in front of Yulin City Representative office in Beijing, China, June 10, 2016.
Animal activists hold banners against Yulin Dog Meat Festival in front of Yulin City Representative office in Beijing, China, June 10, 2016.Reuters
A plain clothes policeman (R) stops an animal activist unfolding a banner against Yulin Dog Meat Festival in front of Yulin City Representative office in Beijing, China, June 10, 2016.
A plain clothes policeman (R) stops an animal activist unfolding a banner against Yulin Dog Meat Festival in front of Yulin City Representative office in Beijing, China, June 10, 2016.Reuters
Volunteers in animal costumes wait to perform in an event to promote a love for dogs, in Beijing's Sanlitun area, June 20, 2013. Dog lovers and animal rights activists have called for the cancellation of an annual dog meat festival scheduled to take place on Friday in Yulin, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, voicing concerns over animal cruelty and food safety, according to China Daily.
Volunteers in animal costumes wait to perform in an event to promote a love for dogs, in Beijing's Sanlitun area, June 20, 2013. Dog lovers and animal rights activists have called for the cancellation of an annual dog meat festival scheduled to take place on Friday in Yulin, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, voicing concerns over animal cruelty and food safety, according to China Daily.Reuters
Dogs are kept in a cage at Dashichang dog market ahead of a local dog meat festival in Yulin, Guangxi Autonomous Region, June 21, 2015. In the market, some dogs are sold as pets, while others are sold for dog meat. Local residents in Yulin host small gatherings to consume dog meat and lychees in celebration of the summer solstice which marks the coming of the hottest days for the festival, which this year falls on Monday.
Dogs are kept in a cage at Dashichang dog market ahead of a local dog meat festival in Yulin, Guangxi Autonomous Region, June 21, 2015. In the market, some dogs are sold as pets, while others are sold for dog meat. Local residents in Yulin host small gatherings to consume dog meat and lychees in celebration of the summer solstice which marks the coming of the hottest days for the festival, which this year falls on Monday.Reuters
People eat dog meat at a dog meat restaurant district on the day of local dog meat festival in Yulin, Guangxi Autonomous Region, June 22, 2015. For many residents of China's southern town of Yulin, the peak of summer is the perfect time to get together with family and friends - and consume copious amounts of dog meat. Thousands of dogs are expected to end up on the chopping block during the city's annual dog meat festival, which has become increasingly controversial in China.
People eat dog meat at a dog meat restaurant district on the day of local dog meat festival in Yulin, Guangxi Autonomous Region, June 22, 2015. For many residents of China's southern town of Yulin, the peak of summer is the perfect time to get together with family and friends - and consume copious amounts of dog meat. Thousands of dogs are expected to end up on the chopping block during the city's annual dog meat festival, which has become increasingly controversial in China.Reuters
Rescued dogs are seen at a shelter run by Yang Xiaoyun in Tianjin, China, July 8, 2015. Yang said she spent 300,000 RMB (48,248 USD) to purchase 500 dogs to rescue them from dog meat dealers at Yulin's annual dog meat festival last month. She keeps more than 1,000 dogs in her shelters, mostly abandoned or she purchased from dog meat traders.
Rescued dogs are seen at a shelter run by Yang Xiaoyun in Tianjin, China, July 8, 2015. Yang said she spent 300,000 RMB (48,248 USD) to purchase 500 dogs to rescue them from dog meat dealers at Yulin's annual dog meat festival last month. She keeps more than 1,000 dogs in her shelters, mostly abandoned or she purchased from dog meat traders.Reuters
An animal activist (C) kneels down as she offers to buy a dog from a vendor (2nd R) to stop it from being eaten ahead of the annual dog meat festival in Yulin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region June 20, 2014. The festival, scheduled on June 21 as in previous years to mark the summer solstice, in southern Chinese city of Yulin, has drawn fierce protests from animal welfare groups and pet owners, who urge the local government to ban the long-standing tradition. According to animal welfare activists, about 10, 000 dogs will be consumed on that day, Xinhua News Agency reported.
An animal activist (C) kneels down as she offers to buy a dog from a vendor (2nd R) to stop it from being eaten ahead of the annual dog meat festival in Yulin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region June 20, 2014. The festival, scheduled on June 21 as in previous years to mark the summer solstice, in southern Chinese city of Yulin, has drawn fierce protests from animal welfare groups and pet owners, who urge the local government to ban the long-standing tradition. According to animal welfare activists, about 10, 000 dogs will be consumed on that day, Xinhua News Agency reported.Reuters
Dog lover Yang Xiaoyun holds a dog which she purchased in China's southern town of Yulin, at her shelter for dogs in Tianjin, China, July 8, 2015. Yang said she spent 300,000 RMB ( 48,248 USD) to purchase 500 dogs to rescue them from dog meat dealers at Yulin's annual dog meat festival last month. She keeps more than 1,000 dogs in her shelters, mostly abandoned or she purchased from dog meat traders.
Dog lover Yang Xiaoyun holds a dog which she purchased in China's southern town of Yulin, at her shelter for dogs in Tianjin, China, July 8, 2015. Yang said she spent 300,000 RMB ( 48,248 USD) to purchase 500 dogs to rescue them from dog meat dealers at Yulin's annual dog meat festival last month. She keeps more than 1,000 dogs in her shelters, mostly abandoned or she purchased from dog meat traders.Reuters
Animal activists take pictures of a dog which was rescued from a dog meat trader before their gathering against Yulin Dog Meat Festival in Beijing, China, June 10, 2016.
Animal activists take pictures of a dog which was rescued from a dog meat trader before their gathering against Yulin Dog Meat Festival in Beijing, China, June 10, 2016.Reuters
People eat dog meat at a dog meat restaurant district on the day of local dog meat festival in Yulin, Guangxi Autonomous Region, June 22, 2015. For many residents of China's southern town of Yulin, the peak of summer is the perfect time to get together with family and friends - and consume copious amounts of dog meat. Thousands of dogs are expected to end up on the chopping block during the city's annual dog meat festival, which has become increasingly controversial in China.
People eat dog meat at a dog meat restaurant district on the day of local dog meat festival in Yulin, Guangxi Autonomous Region, June 22, 2015. For many residents of China's southern town of Yulin, the peak of summer is the perfect time to get together with family and friends - and consume copious amounts of dog meat. Thousands of dogs are expected to end up on the chopping block during the city's annual dog meat festival, which has become increasingly controversial in China.Reuters
Animal right activist Du Yufeng is asked to leave by a policeman after her attempt to hold a protest against dog meat eating as local residents follow her at a dog meat restaurant district on the day of local dog meat festival in Yulin, Guangxi Autonomous Region, June 22, 2015. For many residents of China's southern town of Yulin, the peak of summer is the perfect time to get together with family and friends - and consume copious amounts of dog meat. Thousands of dogs are expected to end up on the chopping block during the city's annual dog meat festival, which has become increasingly controversial in China.
Animal right activist Du Yufeng is asked to leave by a policeman after her attempt to hold a protest against dog meat eating as local residents follow her at a dog meat restaurant district on the day of local dog meat festival in Yulin, Guangxi Autonomous Region, June 22, 2015. For many residents of China's southern town of Yulin, the peak of summer is the perfect time to get together with family and friends - and consume copious amounts of dog meat. Thousands of dogs are expected to end up on the chopping block during the city's annual dog meat festival, which has become increasingly controversial in China.Reuters