The film has been previewed for select audiences in Italy, the UK and Canada (where it is vying for a spot in the Toronto International Film Festival), and reaction has been unanimously positive. Hopefully its message can reach as many people as possible and finally put an end to the commercial dog meat trade for good.
There is no doubt that change is coming to China, as locals become more aware of the human-animal bond and a culture of pet ownership grows. More than 130 million dogs now live in China, including 27 million who are kept as pets. And more and more advocates are invoking China's existing laws and regulations to expose dog meat traders who are engaging in criminal conduct by kidnapping pets. The outcry sparked among the Chinese themselves led the Yulin government to ban the slaughter of the animals in public, and mandating that the words "dog meat" be removed from all banners related to the festival in 2014. That year activists stopped 18 trucks bound for the slaughterhouses and rescued more than 8,000 dogs. In the weeks leading to this year's festival, thousands of activists from across China took to the streets demanding that officials shut it down. The slaughter continued this year, but in the cover of night and behind closed doors.
As the most influential regional power, China occupies a strategic position in the global campaign against the dog meat trade. Its eventual success in ending the dog meat trade has the potential to set off a chain reaction in the region and to save millions of dogs from this cruel fate.
Top photo: Dalian dog meat protest