Several media outlets — including That's — reported earlier today that the ban would soon be coming to the controversial festival in Guangxi, based on a widely cited Humane Society and Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project (DDAWP) press release issued on May 17. According to the release, restaurants, street vendors and market traders would be prohibited from selling dog meat ahead of next month's festival, slated to begin on June 21.
READ MORE: Dog Meat Reportedly Banned at Yulin Festival
The ban is said to be initiated by Yulin's new Party Secretary, Mo Gong Ming, and will reportedly go into effect on June 15. Violators could face risk of arrest and fines of up to RMB100,000. (Some reports, however, indicate that the ban will not be announced officially and is only temporary, meaning that dogs could be killed ahead of the event).
But according to the BBC, vendors in Yulin are unaware of any ban:
"'Banning the sales of dog meat? I've not heard of it,' the owner of a popular dog meat restaurant in the city told the BBC.
"'Whoever wants to eat will continue to eat. Why is dog meat any different from other meat anyway?'
"The US activists [Humane Society and DDAWP] said that only some retailers and restaurants had been notified so far, but other vendors the BBC spoke to reacted the same way and said they were confident they could continue to sell dog meat.
"Several local government officers also said they had not heard anything about a ban."
The BBC also points out that news of the ban has not appeared in any Chinese state media. They also note that the festival brings in a lot of revenue for the city each year, meaning that a ban would devastate Yulin's local economy.
Still, a Chinese activist who protests the festival each year says that she's heard rumors of a ban. (But she also tells BBC that no one knew where the information originated from).
The highly scrutinized festival is held in Yulin each year as a means to celebrate summer solstice by serving up dog meat and strong lychee liquor. It is estimated that up to 10,000 animals are slaughtered for the annual event, and concerns over animal cruelty have caused local and international animal rights groups to intervene.
Activists have long called for an end to the festival, with many notable Hollywood celebs teaming up last year to film a PSA speaking out against it.