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Florida Congressmen Continue to Warn About the Cruelty, Public Safety Concerns of Chinese Dog Meat Festival

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U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., wrote President Donald Trump on the matter last week, following up on a letter they sent him back in April. They called on Trump to call fro China to ban live animal markets. Back in November, the two congressmen teamed up with U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oreg., to introduce a resolution “calling on all nations to end their dog and cat meat trade and to enforce existing laws against the trade.”

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Last week, two congressmen from the Sunshine State continued their efforts to warn about live animal markets and events in China, including the Yulin Dog Meat Festival which is scheduled to be held on June 21.

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., wrote President Donald Trump on the matter last week, following up on a letter they sent him back in April. They called on Trump to call fro China to ban live animal markets. Back in November, the two congressmen teamed up with U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oreg., to introduce a resolution “calling on all nations to end their dog and cat meat trade and to enforce existing laws against the trade.”

“In addition to highlighting the cruelty and torture exemplified by the live animal markets in the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, which is set to begin again on June 21, 2020, their letter also draws attention to the risk of zoonotic disease presented by live wildlife and livestock markets, illustrated by the link between the COVID-19 disease and a live animal market in Wuhan, China. A ban on live animal markets in China needs to be fully enforced, made permanent, and expanded to eliminate existing loopholes,” Hastings’ office noted.

“The Yulin Dog Meat Festival represents not just the torture of countless dogs and cats, but also a global health risk. It has become clear that the loosely regulated and often inhumane conditions in which animals are slaughtered for human consumption in live animal markets can create ideal conditions for the spread of zoonotic diseases, such as COVID-19,” said Hastings. “We are currently facing a disease with grave global public health implications, which all nations must come together to address. In that spirit, we have a responsibility to sound the alarm now on the urgent need for expanded regulation, elevated enforcement, and closure of these markets to avoid future deadly outbreaks.”

“Live animal markets have been shown to be an incubator of deadly viruses like COVID-19,” said Buchanan. “The recent announcement that China is finally following America’s lead by banning the trade of dog meat is long overdue. Live wildlife markets are unsanitary and inhumane and have led to the deaths of countless animals and humans. These markets should be completely and permanently closed to protect both animals and humans.”

“It is imperative that we continue the efforts to stop the spread of zoonotic disease by banning live wildlife markets and horrific events like the Yulin Dog Meat Festival,” said Lisa Vanderpump, the founder of the Vanderpump Dog Foundation. “The Vanderpump Dog Foundation applauds and mirrors the statements made by Congressmen Hastings and Buchanan urging for a complete and permanent ban in China of the live wildlife markets, including ones where dogs and cats are sold, in order to truly address the risk of future pandemics stemming from the slaughter and mistreatment of animals.

“If we’ve learned anything due to this pandemic, protecting public health and preventing animal cruelty go hand in hand,” said Sara Amundson, the president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.  “We must permanently shut down live wildlife markets and markets where other live animals – including dogs and cats – are slaughtered.  We commend Representatives Hastings and Buchanan for their tireless efforts to end the brutal dog and cat meat trade, and we urge President Trump to do everything in his power to end these markets here and around the world.”

The congressmen wrote Trump on the matter at the start of last week.

“As our nation continues to combat COVID-19 and seeks a vaccine or treatment to prevent further outbreak, we must also take swift action to address the root cause of this disease and prevent future transmissions of zoonotic diseases of this scale,” they wrote. “As you remember from previous correspondence, expert researchers linked the transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans to a specific live animal market in Wuhan, the capital city of China’s Hubei province. Despite the fact that the Chinese government has suspended the consumption and trade of certain wildlife species and the operation of live wildlife markets, there are still more common livestock markets where live animals like chicken, ducks, and rabbits—and even dogs and cats in some regions—are sold and slaughtered on-site for customers who want ‘warm meat.’  These livestock markets can also be a breeding ground for pandemics the same way that the Wuhan market was for COVID-19. Should China’s current ban on wildlife trade for the exotic food market be lifted, we could see another global outbreak of a viral zoonotic disease similar to SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, and MERS. The brutal exploitation of wildlife and other animals needs to be banned permanently, including closing the loophole that allows the trade to continue for medicinal, fur, pets, display, and other purposes. We must also ensure that, once in place, the Chinese government actually prioritizes enforcement of the ban.

“While we appeal to the Chinese government to continue the current ban on live wildlife markets and the consumption of certain wildlife, we strongly urge China to also shut down live livestock slaughter markets that can also be a breeding ground for future pandemics. Both types of markets provide an optimal environment for viruses to move from one species to another, mutating until eventually they are able to transmit to humans,” they continued. “This is of particular importance as we once again approach the infamous and cruel Yulin Dog Meat Festival. Dogs and cats seen at the festival have been stolen from families, subdued and taken off the streets with poison, crammed into cages, stacked on top of one another in trucks, and brutally killed for human consumption. As with live wildlife markets linked to the spread of COVID-19, China’s dog and cat meat industry, which facilitates massive trans-provincial transport of a large number of dogs and cats that are often sick, injured, and dying of unknown illnesses provide yet another opportunity for disease to spread between animals and humans. This is especially so at the Yulin festival because it involves the mass slaughter of dogs and cats and mass consumption of the meat in crowded restaurants and other catering facilities, guaranteeing proximity between humans and animals in unsanitary and inhumane conditions. When you signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law, you ensured the prohibition of the trade and consumption of dog and cat meat in the U.S., leading the world on this issue. Our legislation, H.Con.Res.71, will call on all nations to follow suit and end this abhorrent practice for good, limiting the potential for further disease in the future.

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“There is an opportunity once again for you to lead on this issue and to increase the scrutiny and pressure on China to expand and strengthen laws regulating live animal markets. Eliminating the availability and profitability of live animals for any private and underground trader or market not only protects Americans and people around the world from another overwhelming and devastating pandemic, but also livestock, dogs, cats, and wildlife from suffering in inhumane and distressing conditions,” they continued. “President Xi Jinping’s efforts to stem the spread of zoonotic disease by banning live wildlife markets and the consumption of certain wildlife should be acknowledged as a first step. However, we urge you to consider seeking the complete, permanent ban in China of both the live wildlife markets and the more traditional livestock markets including dogs and cats there, in order to truly address the risk of future pandemics stemming from these markets and to encourage President Xi to lead on this issue throughout Asia. We thank you for your time and consideration.”

The congressmen also sent the letter to Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Sec. of State Mike Pompeo.

Also last week, Hastings wrote Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders on the matter.

“The pandemic the world is experiencing highlights the public health threats live animal markets pose that scientists have reported in previous zoonotic disease outbreaks. The cruel and inhumane Yulin Dog Meat Festival and the dog and cat meat trade at large need to be banned along with all other wildlife trade and consumption to prevent future zoonotic disease pandemics and to protect all animals and global biodiversity,” said Hastings. “I remain committed to protecting human and animal health and welfare and will continue to call for the global ban of dog and cat meat trade and live animal markets, and urge all leaders around the world to implement their own laws prohibiting these acts.”

“The cruel slaughter of dogs, cats, wildlife, and other animals at live markets is not only inhumane but also unacceptable for global public health and pandemic prevention,” said Peter Li, a China policy specialist with Humane Society International.  “We thank Representative Hastings for appealing to Chinese leaders to build on their earlier steps and do everything they can to permanently shut down these markets and the notorious ‘dog meat festival’ in Yulin, as called for by millions of Chinese citizens and people across the world.”

The two congressmen have increasingly worked animal issues. The Humane Society of the United States named Buchanan as its legislator of the year in 2016, the first time a member of the Florida delegation has received the honor. In 2016, Buchanan brought out the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act which bans exporting horses to Mexican slaughterhouses. Buchanan has also led the charge on Capitol Hill to stop domestic slaughterhouses from creating horse meat for human consumption. Back in December 2018, Trump signed a proposal from Buchanan and Hastings banning the slaughter of cats and dogs for human consumption as part of the Farm Bill. Last year, Buchanan and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., brought out the “Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act.”


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  • Originally from Jacksonville, Kevin Derby is a contributing writer for Florida Daily and covers politics across Florida.



  1. jerry dycus

    June 15, 2020, 7:07 am at 7:07 am

    Yet they say nothing about the deplorable US factory farming of chickens, pigs, cattle stuffed with antibiotics feed corn that makes them sick and cause antibiotic resistance diseases.
    The Chinese markets just need to stop having wild meat, better sanitation.

  2. Lena

    October 2, 2020, 12:51 am at 12:51 am

    I agree that in the UK too, cruelty to farm animals exists and that methods used for slaughter causes pain and distress as do cruel people who do cruel acts to animals when they think no one is watching.
    Farming of traditionally ,farm animals’ (in the USA and throughout Europe) such as pigs, chickens, sheep, cows, goats and those poor little lambs will never end .
    How far back have meat eaters been eating these animals ?

    This article is about a dog meat festival in China which is the same as it involves cruelty and death of animals but it is a different and very specific matter, in another level of cruelty that involves a new practice and the killing of animals that were family pets stolen from their environment. The animals are tortured openly , thousands of them! And thousands of people attend the festival and watch this mass torture of animals. Suffering and pain is not recognised by thousands of people .
    Some years ago I found a man online who was going out to the festival every year to rescue as many animals as he and his small team could. I listened to his videos where he talks of his passion and heart to rescue the animals , how over years he became more and more traumatized and I believe he suffered from PTSD and eventually found it so difficult to go back to his wife and children after seeing such horrific acts of torture that he decided to stop his work. I’m not sure if he did.

    I forced myself to watch what I could to learn what was going on and I was shocked. It was truly unbearable to watch his videos , absolutely heartbreaking and painful to the core. I will never forget that sadistic torture , it made me feel so much hatred towards the abusers and the desire to do something to help stop it. The more people who know about the dog meat festival and what the animals suffer , the more people will try to make it stop.

    It’s truely unimaginable and horrific to consider the suffering.

    I remember seeing a large pot of boiling bubbling water . A man lifting a skinned dog with it’s feet bound together into the boiling water . The sound the dog made and how it’s entire body jumped out of the water in pain as a human would do if they burnt their hand under a hot water tap but this dogs entire body was thrown into the water. It’s simply evil!
    Other dogs are tied to sticks and torched with flames while they are alive . So their fur burns off and they are just skin . Their faces distorted in pain as they die that way.
    Defenceless kittens and cats pinned down and tortured.

    Humans like this are evil! That is without conscience , without empathy, black hearts and full of depravity. It’s really soul destroying to see how some humans have a complete lack of empathy.

    Meat consumption will never end in our lifetimes and yes all animal slaughter is horrible because it is killing and suffering . However much people might hate meat consumption, animal welfare is supposedly regulated on farms or other controlled environments like this . There are methods to reduce distress , suffering and pain to the animals which may or may not be effective. I can’t say anything more about that.
    My point is that the dog meat festival is beyond what our societies consider humane. The torture is visible and in display like a show! The suffering and pain endured is prolonged.
    After I watched a few videos by the man who rescued animals from the dog meat festival and cared for the animals I was moved to know more about farm animals and yes I did discover videos of sadistic men causing pain and suffering to cows, pigs , chickens , lambs and it hurts to see and to know and not be able to do something to stop it when it is so hidden .

    With the dog meat festival we can do something that can stop it from continuing in our lifetime. Sign petitions, write letters , advocate, educate people, go there and help rescue.
    Those people are not ashamed of what they do to those animals .

    The man I learned about was also trying to help the people involved in the dog meat trade all of whom were in poverty. He was trying to create other opportunities for them to start up a new buisness not relating to the meat trade so that they could work and earn and then train up others . A way out of poverty and animal cruelty. He also created programmes to educate communities and children in schools to bring awareness to the animals as living feeling beings rather than empty body’s for meat consumption.

    The world needs more men of compassionate action !

    Wet markets should also be banned. There is excessive desire for consumption of varieties of animal meat in China. That needs to change all over the world in my opinion.

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