Feb 16, 2018: Chinese Year of the Dog a gift for merchants and painful reminder for animal lovers
CHINA - The Year of the Dog in the Chinese Zodiac looms as an expensive time for people born under the sign of man’s best friend and a painful reminder for animal lovers that dogs are dinner in many parts of China.
Ranking as the eleventh animal in the Chinese zodiac, the Dog is the symbol of loyalty and honesty. People born in the Year of the Dog are honest, friendly, faithful, loyal, smart, straightforward, and have a strong sense of responsibility.
Dog people anxious to broadcast such desirable traits will be buying up merchandise that bears a canine symbol, image or saying. Manufacturers and merchants are ready: it seems everything imaginable – from T-shirts to shower curtains – offers a suitable surface for showing off the traits.
The year highlights the growing fight against the dog meat trade. The Economist Magazine observes that restaurants in many Chinese cities serve dog and cat dishes. The Yulin Dog Meat Festival in June each year has become a target for animal rights activists as well as a popular event for Chinese gastronomes. Photographs of dogs being treated cruelly, slaughtered and fried for diners at the festival have flooded the Internet, fanning the controversy in China and elsewhere.
Chinese activism has built up around the issue because dogs, increasingly, are pets, not dinner, in Chinese households. The magazine points out that the number of dogs registered as pets in Beijing, for example, has been growing at 25 per cent a year for a decade. It now stands at about two million, more than in New York. Concern for animal welfare has been growing in parallel, according to the magazine.
Dog is the eleventh in the 12-year cycle of Chinese zodiac sign. The Years of the Dog include 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030, 2042. Famous dog people include Lenin and Mother Teresa.