Dog eating festival starts early to avoid protests

Annual festival in China usually happens on Summer Solstice 

The annual dog eating festival in China has started early to avoid anticipated protests by animal rights campaigners.

The festival is celebrated in the southern Chinese city of Yulin, usually on the summer solstice. Residents gather to tuck into dog meat and lychees in celebration of the longest day of the year.

Slaughterhouses and markets up their dog selling to meet demand for the festival. The dogs are skinned, cooked and hung from hooks at the markets. 

Over recent years the festival has come under fire thanks to the increase in Chinese people keeping dogs as pets. It's also under scrutiny thanks to dangerous nature of the meat. The dogs used aren't put under quarantine and are reported to just be grabbed off the street, allegedly stolen from pet owners. The dogs are often poisoned with toxic chemicals which could be harmful to humans. 

Deng Yidan, an activist with Animals Asia, said in a statement: "Negative coverage is growing — dog theft, criminal activities, food hygiene issues, and rabies fears — not to mention the division in society between those for and against the festival — together these have brought significantly more negative publicity to Yulin than economic benefits".
The government denies the existence of any sort of official festival but accepts it goes on. Eating dog is not illegal in China.