It has been confirmed that dog and cat meat will still be consumed at the Yulin Festival.
Last month the Humane Society International and Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project (DDAWP) announced that dog meat would be banned from being served at China's infamous Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat Festival.
Now officials say that these initial reports were wrong and that the Chinese government will not ban dog and cat meat from being consumed at the summer solstice celebration taking place on June 21.
The festival, where people come together to eat lychees and dog meat to celebrate the summer solstice, was at one time sponsored by the local government in order to boost the city's economy.
The festival has been an independent event since 2014, when the Yulin government distanced themselves after it evoked national outrage. Because of this, they do not have the authority to ban dog meat sales from the town of Yulin, where dog meat is sold in the market daily, according to Animals Asia.
The rumor circulating at the beginning of the month was that people would face jail time or be fined up to $100,000 yen if caught selling dog meat. Officials don't know where the rumor of this ban originated.
The festival will go on as planned, and while actual numbers of dogs consumed at the festival varies from 1-10,000, 10 million canines are slaughtered for meat around the country, which is a larger issue in and of itself.
It is an issue that saddens the world, and advocates like Animals Asia work tirelessly to end the dog and cat meat trade. Most of the dogs and cats that are sent to slaughter are stolen pets, poisoned to help with transport. This adds to vigilante violence against dog thieves and health concerns for people who are consuming the meat.
Animals Asia's Cat and Dog Welfare Director Irene Feng said:
"It seems likely there will not be an overt ban on dog meat sales in the city of Yulin during this year's summer solstice. However, we do believe that the government has had enough and wants to end the global association of Yulin city with the minority practice of eating dog meat.
"The will may be there - but as long as dog meat eating is legal in China it is difficult for any one locality to issue its own ban.
"It's possible that this year the Yulin government did indeed try to implement a soft ban and issued it verbally, but due to the leak their intentions to be discrete were made more difficult.
"In any event, what the situation crystalises is that the international attention given to Yulin for one week of the year is becoming a distraction from the much larger issue of the dog meat trade's activities every single day of the year across the country. That is the real issue and it requires a consistent and holistic approach - it can't be solved in a week."
The Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat Festival will start on June 21 and usually lasts two weeks.
Tell us what you think of this disappointing news in the comments below.
All photos via Animal Asia/Flickr
WATCH NOW: People Are Poisoning Dogs