A GROUP of animal activists from Bury gathered outside the Chinese Consulate in Manchester on Wednesday to raise awareness of the ongoing Lychee and Dog Meat Festival.

Held during the summer solstice, the festival in Yulin, China, sees attendees eat dog meat and lychees. The festival began in 2009 and spans about ten days during which thousands of dogs are reportedly consumed. The festival has drawn criticism both domestically and abroad.

The festival employs controversial practices such as burning and boiling the dogs alive, while torture and other inhumane practices have also been reported.

The group that gathered included a group of Animal Nursing students from Bury College, along with other friends and activists, many of whom are a part of the social media group, Friends United Against Animal Cruelty (FUACC).

Francesca Manning, one of the animal activists who attended, said: "We put banners up and had a lot of support from passersby- they were all really interested and came over to have a chat with us.

"A lot of people were even filming us and asking us why we were there, so it was good to be able to make more people aware."

"Animal lovers are just heartbroken sitting behind their screens seeing what is going on and it is really distressing.

"We all felt really empowered to be making a change - informing people and spreading awareness."

Though several people inside the consulate kept an eye on events from the windows of the building, officials made no comment despite the presence of the activists and a letter being sent to them.

The consulate also hired a security guard for the event, although it was a peaceful, socially-distanced event which finished with no trouble.

Francesca added that the Friends United Against Animal Cruelty group has received a spike in attention and she was happy that it was "allowing people to talk" about the festival.

To find out more about the group, click here.