WASHINGTON — Southampton philanthropist Jean Shafiroff and other animal-rights advocates urged Congress on Tuesday to pass a resolution demanding an end to the killing and eating of thousands of dogs at a festival in China that began this week.
At a Capitol Hill news conference, Shafiroff, an honorary board member of the Southampton Animal Shelter; her daughter Elizabeth Shafiroff, co-founder of Global Strays of Manhattan, and the Suffolk County SPCA condemned the Dog Meat Festival in Yulin, a southern province west of Hong Kong.
“Some Chinese government officials have paid lip service to ending it but nothing has been done,” said Elizabeth Shafiroff.
She decried the annual festival’s slaughter and consumption of a reported 10,000 dogs each June for the past several years.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), a member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, said he would work to build support in the House to pass a resolution urging China’s government to stop the festival.
“This event is a senseless spectacle of animal cruelty and is opposed by the majority of the Chinese population,” Zeldin said. “The majority of people in China do not consume dog meat and dog meat is not a part of mainstream culinary practice.”
Zeldin, one of the resolution’s 52 co-sponsors, said the news conference was the beginning of a campaign that could derail next year’s festival.
Rain drove the news conference, and five sometimes-barking dogs that local area activists brought with them, into a House office building.
The Yulin municipal government two years ago distanced itself from the festival, saying local businesses run it, the newspaper China Daily reported.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., did not respond to a query.