Why, then, are people in the US specifically condemning the dog killers of Yulin?
We in the US in turn, use the supposed barbarism of the Chinese to enhance our sense of moral superiority and insulate domestic practices from critique. In a psychological process that two Stanford professors call "moral credentialing," our condemnation of the Chinese absolves us from addressing the violence against animals here at home. It satisfies our collective desire to be seen as a compassionate, animal-loving nation, all while we proceed to undertake massive violence against even more animals than the Chinese. This hypocrisy undermines attempts by Chinese people, like me, to build common cause with animal activists in China. The result is that animals in both nations suffer.
There is a better way forward.
Rather than simply condemn Yulin from afar, we should vigorously support local Chinese efforts, by groups such as VShine Animal Protection Group and Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project, to end the violence in Yulin. But to be effective allies against the dog slaughter, we must look just as critically at our own behavior. After all, to this day, millions of dogs and cats are killed for the crime of being homeless in the States. Moreover, Americans consume more than twice as much meat per person as the typical Chinese, subjecting billions of animals to unimaginable torment in the process. We must remove the plank in our own eye to effectively clean the speck from China's.
Thankfully, this is exactly what is happening. Investigations, such as one by a group I co-founded, Direct Action Everywhere, of a Whole Foods egg farm this January, are opening the public's eyes to the violence hidden behind closed doors. Prominent voices from both the right and the left are questioning systemic brutality against animals here in the States. And, according to a Gallup poll released in May, one third of the public now agrees that animals should have "the same rights as people."