Beijing - A dog eating carnival in China dating back more than 600 years has been banned after public outrage at the cruel way the animals are slaughtered, state media said Wednesday.
The dogs are killed and skinned in the streets of Qianxi township in the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang during the festival, which is usually held in October, the official Xinhua news agency said.
The gruesome festival celebrates a local military victory during the Ming dynasty in which dogs were slaughtered to ensure they did not bark and alert the enemy, the report said.
"The ancient fair was replaced by a modern commodity fair in the 1980s, but dog eating has been kept as a tradition," the report said.
"However, vendors began to butcher dogs in public a few years ago to show their dog meat is fresh and safe, as a way to ease buyers' worry that the meat may be refrigerator-preserved or even contaminated."
Thousands of web users swamped social networking sites to criticize the carnival and call on the local government to intervene, the report said.
"The government's quick response should be encouraged. I hope eating dogs will not be a custom there anymore. It's not a carnival, but a massacre," said Junchangzai on a micro-blogging site.
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