This time last year I momentarily regretted getting involved in campaigning for a better world for dogs. As my newsfeed filled with gruesome, stomach churning images of dogs being butchered in China I was overwhelmed by the horror. It was the annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival and much as I berate others for turning away from the brutality of the puppy farming industry, I found myself unable to cope with the barbarism I was seeing and turned away from the string of atrocities filling my screen.
Well, here we are, a year on and it's déjà vu: same horrific festival is about to happen, despite an international outcry last year that swept through social media resulting in the local authorities claiming it would be banned. They may not be calling it a festival, it might be trying to slip underground but according to investigators from Humane Society International, preparations are well underway for another mass slaughtering of tens of thousands of dogs and cats, many of them stolen pets.
This disgusting activity reflects an attitude towards animals that is not unique to Yulin, or China. Across Asia, dogs are tortured in the dog meat trade. It's not enough they are killed, their suffering is intentional and detailed in the belief that with pain their meat softens. We are justifiably horrified by the dog meat trade itself, let alone the gruesome public spectacles of butchery and atrocities seen at Yulin. Social media is boiling with outrage with almost a quarter of a million tweets being posted since May using the hashtag #StopYulin2015. Globally, millions have joined the campaign to shut down the dog meat trade, boosted last autumn by support from UK stars Ricky Gervais and Judi Dench.