A vendor chops dog meat at the Nanqiao market in Yulin, in China's southern Guangxi region on June 21, 2017.
China's most notorious dog meat festival opened in Yulin on June 21 with butchers hacking slabs of canines and cooks frying the flesh following rumours that authorities would impose a ban this year.(Becky Davis/AFP/Getty Images)A vendor chops dog meat at the Nanqiao market in Yulin, in China's southern Guangxi region on June 21, 2017.
China's most notorious dog meat festival opened in Yulin on June 21 with butchers hacking slabs of canines and cooks frying the flesh following rumours that authorities would impose a ban this year.(Becky Davis/AFP/Getty Images)

Yulin’s annual dog meat festival kicked off on Tuesday (June 21) with animal rights activists voicing their opposition and locals and visitors saying celebrations are low key this year.

But at a popular morning market, it was business as usual as vendors had dog meat on display for customers to choose.

“They are a lot, a lot of people who like (eating dog meat). It’s your habit, it’s my habit,” said Zhou, a dog meat vendor.

Many restaurants did not have the Chinese word for “dog meat” on display.

Vendors prepare dog meat at the Nanqiao market in Yulin, in China's southern Guangxi region on June 21, 2017. (Becky Davis/AFP/Getty Images)

Vendors prepare dog meat at the Nanqiao market in Yulin, in China’s southern Guangxi region on June 21, 2017. (Becky Davis/AFP/Getty Images)

“Why won’t they (let us openly celebrate the festival)? The city government came out and told (the vendors) not to let restaurant owners sell (dog meat). The city government is always (handling this issue) this way. If there was no city government to mess with them then they of course could let the meat out,” said Ms. Min, a Yulin resident.

Animal activists were doing their best to save dogs from the pot.

“Dogs are man’s best, the most loyal friend. How could we eat our friends? You tell me,” said Yang Yuhua, an animal rights activist who flew from south-western Chongqing to purchase dogs sold at this year’s festival.

Dog meat is served at a restaurant in Yulin, in China's southern Guangxi region on June 21, 2017.(Becky Davis/AFP/Getty Images)

Dog meat is served at a restaurant in Yulin, in China’s southern Guangxi region on June 21, 2017.(Becky Davis/AFP/Getty Images)

Yang spent over 1,000 yuan ($151.5) to buy two caged dogs at the market from the vendor.

Animal welfare NGO Humane Society International says that it has organised a petition against the festival which already garnered over 11 million signatures.

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