The Meat at Yulin vs. The Meat on Your Plate

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian”.

By now I’m sure you have heard of the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, maybe you’ve even signed the petition. For those of you who haven’t, it is an annual dog meat festival in China that is taking place this weekend for the summer solstice. For this festival, 10,000 dogs and cats are killed and some have been stolen from people’s homes.

I’m the first person to say that I’m against this treatment of dogs and cats as I’m against eating any meat from any animal. However, most people who say that they are against this festival still eat meat and have no problem with eating meat. They claim that Chinese people eating dog meat is completely different from them eating pork or beef. The only difference between them is that the pigs and cows that they eat have not been stolen from someone’s home. While that is horrible, it is not a reason to be completely against the Yulin festival but not against eating any other kind of meat.

While eating dog meat might seem like a really strange custom to Western societies, there are many cultures that think that our cultures eating pork really strange. One netizen said,  “dog-meat eating is a custom belonging to other people, the same way that people of the Islamic Hui ethnic group doesn’t eat pork. They won’t protest us eating pork“. Another one said, “Let’s all protest the Christmas practice of eating Turkey!“.

For people who know very little about the meat industry, the 10,000 dogs and cats that are killed for the Yulin festival may seem like a lot. In reality, it’s not really. In 2003, it was reported that over 56 billion farmed animals are killed every year by humans. That was the minimum number. Now some people estimate it to be around 150 billion every year. As well as this, more than 3,000 animals die every second around the world. So in little over three seconds, the same amount of dogs killed for Yulin will have been killed all over the world to be consumed by regular people like you. These statistic do not even include fish or other seafood. This is because so many of them are killed that their deaths can only be measured in tonnes.

Another argument that people have when they try to say how the meat they eat is different from the festival meat is that the dogs are tortured. They obviously have no idea how their meat is made. There are plenty of videos and documentaries showing how animals are tortured before being killed for their meat but I can’t bring myself to look at them and post them here. Instead, Free From Harm goes through how chickens are tortured and killed for your consumption so I’ll just give you the highlights.

Chickens are forced to spend their entire lives in overcrowded sheds where they will never see light. These sheds are so overcrowded that they are forced to stand on top of each other or on a filthy, manure-laden floor which is cleaned every 2 to 4 years. Many of these chickens suffer from ammonia burn and respiratory diseases from the high amount of ammonia emanating from large accumulations of faeces. These chickens are artificially hatched, fattened up and slaughtered when they are 42 days old. Due to this, at least 12,5 billion chickens experience painful leg problems due to their breeding. Then when they are ‘old enough’, catchers come in the middle of the night, “grabbing terrified chickens by their feet and roughly stuffing them into crates“. Due to this, they suffer from broken legs and wings, lacerations, haemorrhages, dehydration, heat stroke, hypothermia and heart failure. Millions die before reaching the slaughterhouse. So I think that it’s safe to say that they are tortured too.

There are plenty of other issues when it comes to the meat industry that everyone should be much more concerned with. A very simple example of this is chick culling. In an egg-producing facility, about half of newly hatched chicks will be male. Of course, roosters do not lay eggs so they are of no use to the breeders so they are killed shortly after hatching. Due to this, billions of male chicks are ground up alive or “tossed into a bag to suffocate“.

If your reason for still being against the Yulin festival and not your own meat eating is “but they’re dogs” then you’re just being a hypocrite. The fact that dogs and cats are generally domesticated animals is not a good enough reason for being against eating them but not against eating any other animal. While the fact that some of them are taken from people’s houses is horrible, they would still do it no matter how they got the animals. There is no difference between the animals in Yulin or in your house and the animals on your plate.



The Real Feminist Issues

In December of last year, Game of Throne’s Maisie Williams spoke out about Emma Watson and first-world feminism, “I know things aren’t perfect for women in the UK and America but there are women in the rest of the world who have it far worse“.

In recent years, first-world feminism seems to have become a trend among young girls. First-world feminism generally deals with issues faced by Western cisgender white women in North America and Western Europe. It mainly deals with issues such as cat-calling, unequal pay and rape culture. While these issues should be dealt with, there are much more serious and dangerous feminist issues going on elsewhere in the world.

1. The Murders of Trans Women of Colour

The treatment of Trans women of colour is an issue that is present in North America especially yet it is rarely addressed by first-world feminists. While there seems to have been a good amount of progress in the acceptance of trangender people in the last few years, the same unfortunately can’t be said when it comes to transgender women of colour.

Within the first 60 days of this year, eight trans women of colour were murdered with little said in the media about it. Unfortunately,  this isn’t surprising as trans women have a 1 in 12 chance of being murdered while trans women of colour have a 1 in 8 chance of being murdered, according to TSER. Despite these shocking statistics, little to nothing is being said or done about this tragedy. Executive director of the Trans Women of Colour Collective, Lourdes Ashley Hunter, spoke earlier this year about this, “Just last year, 12 trans women of colour were murdered with no response from the black community. When folks scream, “Black Lives Matter”, they’re not talking about black trans women. Most of the time, they’re not even talking about [cis] black women“.

2. Honour Killings

Honour killings seem like an ancient tradition that could never even be considered acceptable in modern society and if I didn’t know any better I would think that that was true. Unfortunately, honour killings are more common in today’s world than you could imagine.

Honour violence is defined as “violence against an individual who has ‘dishonored’ their family“. This individual is more often than not a female relative. The people who commit these honour killings believe that the only way to restore honour to the family is to get rid or punish the source of dishonour so that they are not looked down upon by their community. Some of the reasons for these killings are having sex outside of marriage, adultery, refusing an arranged marriage, dressing in ways that they believe are inappropriate or even being the victim of rape.

These honour killings mainly occur in Middle-Eastern countries such as Iran and Iraq and in South Asian countries such as Pakistan and India. However, they have also happened in the UK, USA, Sweden, Germany, Italy and France.

In many cases, the killer or killers get away with their crime with little to penalty for their actions due to the fact that the victim is thought to have brought dishonour to the family. Many countries where these killings take place have brought in laws to combat these killings yet they are rarely enforced. In some countries like Turkey, the families will sometimes force the woman to commit suicide in order to be technically innocent of murder.

According to the HBVA Network, there is 5,000 honor killings internationally per year in which 1,000 occur in India, 1,000 occur in Pakistan and 12 occur in the UK. However, according to the BBC, women’s advocacy groups “suspect that more than 20,000 women are killed worldwide each year“.

3. Female Genital Mutilation

The World Health Organisation describes female genital mutilation is the, “partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons“. FGM is an internationally recognised violation of human rights that is mainly performed on babies and children before puberty.

The procedure has absolutely no health benefits and it poses many health risks including severe bleeding, cysts, infections, infertility, complications in childbirth and death. Despite the lack of health benefits, 18% of all FGM’s are performed by healthcare providers. There is no form of anaesthetic used and it is often performed using dirty razors.

According to UN estimates, “at least 125 million women and girls have been mutilated in Africa and the Middle East since 1989“. The reason that FGM is so common is because many people believe that it will reduce the woman’s libido and prevent her from having sex outside of marriage when in reality it is really just a form of unnecessary torture.

4. Gendercide

Gendercide is the “gender-selective mass-killing” of young girls. Gendercide is becoming a problem in several different countries but the issue mainly lies in India and China. The UN estimates that there are 200 million girls missing in the world today due to gendercide. This means that, “India and China eliminate more girls than the number of girls born in America every year“. The victims of gerndercide are either killed, aborted or abandoned due to their gender.

There are many reasons why parents in India would prefer having a boy over a girl. One of the main reasons is that when a woman gets married, her parents must pay a dowry to her husband’s family which can add up to several years of income for the family. This is the reason for many Indian proverbs such as “A daughter is a burden on her father’s head“. Some parents’ inability to pay a dowry has also led to many ‘dowry deaths‘ in which the husband kills his wife for not getting a larger dowry.

In China, there is a Birth Control Policy. This means that couples are only allowed to have one child. However, if that child is a girl then they can try again for a boy. If they have any more children than this, the mother will be forced to have an abortion no matter how far into her pregnancy she is. Due to this One-Child Policy, there are 35,000 abortions performed in China each day and there are 1 million infants abandoned each year, most of which are healthy girls.

Due to gendercide, there are now 37 million more men than women in China which has led to an increase in rape, prostitution and kidnapping of young girls. There is also now 70,000 Chinese children trafficked each year. This can only get worse as it is expected by 2020, 30 million men will be unable to find wives.

Of course there are many more important feminist issues going on worldwide. These are only four of them. While I don’t want to say that first-world feminist issues aren’t important, because most of them are, there are still many more important feminist issues that should be put first.

The Problems with Lad Culture

For the few of you out there who are luckily unfamiliar with what lad culture is, it is “a group or “pack” mentality expressed in sport and heavy alcohol consumptions, and in “banter” which is “often sexist, misogynistic and homophobic”. Lad culture, or ‘bro’ culture in the US, is essentially the same as the ‘boys will be boys’ mentality in which anything stupid or harmful that a boy may do is easily dismissed as ‘banter’. It is an excuse for boys to get away with pretty much anything.

Lad culture is something that I thought that I might escape once I finished school but I’m afraid that I was mistaken. If anything it’s gotten worse since I started college. In recent years especially, lad culture has ingrained itself into university society. For example, when male students of Edinburgh University were caught talking about raping members of the feminist society and planning a “raping trip” abroad. Or like when members of the rugby club in Durham University were heard playing a drinking game in which they had to finish the sentence, “it’s not rape if…”.

I have experienced ‘lads’ encouraging rape culture like this numerous times throughout secondary school and college but yet when reported, little to nothing was ever done about it because “boys will be boys”. Some people may think that this is somewhat acceptable because they’re just talking about it and not actually doing anything but 1 in 4 students are “subjected to unwanted sexual advances” while two-thirds have to put up with unwanted sexual comments. So obviously, they’re not just talking about it.

Not only does lad culture appropriate misogyny and rape culture, but it also often racist and xenophobic. Only a few months ago, the hockey team of York University had an entire Twiter account filled with racist and misogynistic tweets such as “I love stabbing black people”; “oi lower race, down it” and “I’m going to Hindu hell aka Al-Qaeda”. Another tweets explained how one student wasn’t allowed to join because he was a “chinkeye”.

So why do so many young people think that this is acceptable behaviour? Any time you log onto Facebook or any social media site, it’s difficult to ignore the constant presence of pages such as the ‘LAD Bible’ or other more well known ‘lads’ such as Julien Blanc and Dapper Laughs.

Julien Blanc is an American ‘pick-up artist’ and uploads Youtube videos teaching men how to lower women’s self-esteem so they can have sex with them. Blanc is the epitome of a misogynistic and racist ‘lad’. He is now banned from the UK, Australia and Singapore and for good reasons. He was banned in 2014 after he uploaded a Youtube video called “White male fucks Asian Women in Tokyo (and the beautiful methods to it” in which he says “if you’re a white male, you can do what you want“. The video also shows him going through the streets of Tokyo, grabbing women and putting their faces in his crotch.

Closer to home, Dapper Laughs is a self-proclaimed lad and comedian. He is mainly known for his Vines which involve cat calling women in the street. One of his jokes is “if she cries, she’s just playing hard to get“. Last November, his now infamous TV show on ITV2 got cancelled after one series. It was cancelled after he told an audience member that she was “gagging for rape” during a live show.


I will never be able to understand how so many people can get away with their ignorant and immature actions because of lad culture. Throughout secondary school I have heard many jokes, threats and insults regarding rape, gender, race and sexual orientation yet I have never seen anything done about it when reported because “they’re just being lads“.

When I started college last year I expected most people to be at least somewhat mature and have respect for the people around them, unlike most of the boys that I spent secondary school with. While some of them did meet my expectations, many did not. Now because of lad culture, many people, especially boys, seem to refuse to grow up because they can so often excuse their immature actions with ‘banter’. Sexism is not banter. Homophobia is not banter. Racism is not banter. Harassment is not banter. Rape is not banter.