Poll says majority of Chinese oppose dog-eating festival and have never had dog meat

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The infamous reputation of the Yulin dog meat festival has spread far and wide, leading many to think eating dog meat is common in China. 

However, a recent poll says that majority of the people in China actually oppose to the festival, and have never consumed dog meat.

According to Xinhua, about 64 percent of Chinese want an end to the controversial "Yulin Dog Meat Festival", saying it has "harmed China's reputation".

The survey group was aged 16 to 50, and said they would support a permanent end to the infamous annual event.

51.7 percent of the respondents -- who included Yulin residents too -- wanted the dog meat trade banned completely, while 69.5 percent claimed to have never eaten dog meat.

"The poll shows most people here don't eat dogs," said Qin Xiaona, director of the Capital Animal Welfare Association charity.

Yulin, a small town in southwest China's Guangxi region, has become notorious in recent years for its "dog meat festival", a commercial event in which thousands of dogs and cats are slaughtered and eaten.

Local businesses launched the festival - arguing it was a tradition and part of the local culture - in 2009 to promote the remote area to tourists.

"It is embarrassing to us that the world wrongly believes that the brutally cruel Yulin festival is part of Chinese culture," said Qin.

"It isn't."

The campaign to end the festival was supported by people around the world who were disgusted at the cruelty involved in the butchering of the animals, she said.

An unprecedented 8 million Chinese voted online in support of lawmaker Zheng Xiaohe's legislative proposal during the National People's Congress in March to ban the illegal dog and cat meat trade.

Last week, a petition to ban the dog slaughter, signed by 11 million people from China and abroad, was presented to the Chinese embassy in London.