China: Annual Dog Meat Fair Opens Amid Pandemic

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China’s notorious dog-meat festival has opened in defiance of a government campaign to improve animal welfare and reduce risks to health highlighted by the novel coronavirus outbreak, but activists are hopeful its days are numbered.The annual 10-day festival in the southwestern city of Yulin usually attracts thousands of visitors, many of whom buy dogs for the pot that are on display in cramped cages, but campaigners said the numbers this year have dwindled.

The government is drawing up new laws to prohibit the wildlife trade and protect pets, and campaigners are hoping that this year will be the last time the festival is held.

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The coronavirus, which is believed to have originated in horseshoe bats before crossing into humans in a market in the city of Wuhan, has forced China to reassess its relationship with animals, and it has vowed to ban the wildlife trade.

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