Judi Dench Speaks Out Against ‘Cruel’ Yulin Dog Meat Festival

China’s Yulin Dog Meat Festival will be kicking off on June 21, but Judi Dench is speaking out against the barbaric dog meat trade, urging the country to halt the festival, for which thousands of pet dogs are reportedly stolen from their owners and slaughtered for meat.

Dench is one of many celebrities taking a stand against China’s dog meat trade, and is lending her support to a new petition urging Chinese president Xi Jinping to “Stop the Yulin Dog Meat Festival Now!”

“It fills me with sadness to think that the Yulin Dog Meat Festival is just around the corner again,” said the “Skyfall” star in a statement, as reported by People.

RELATED: Ricky Gervais & More Celebs Tweet To End Yulin Dog Meat Festival

“So I wanted to send this message as a symbol of my solidarity with all the thousands of people in China against the dog meat trade, who love their dogs and cats just as much as we do, but who go through the awful heartache of having them stolen by dog thieves,” she continued. “I cannot imagine the suffering of those poor dogs, and I hope very much that one day soon this cruel trade will end.”

The petition was introduced by Humane Society International, and the organization’s executive director, Claire Bass, echoed Dame Judi’s words in an accompanying statement.

“The dog meat trade in China is first and foremost about crime and cruelty,” said Bass. “The Yulin festival is one small but distressing example of an unspeakably cruel trade run by dog thieves and sellers who routinely steal pets in broad daylight using poison darts and rope nooses, defy public health and safety laws, and cause horrendous suffering, all for a meat that most people in China don’t consume.”

RELATED: Simon Cowell Donates Over $42,000 To Rescue Dogs From South Korean Meat Farms

Other celebrities who have spoken out against the Yulin Dog Meat Festival include Ricky Gervais, Lisa Vanderpump and Simon Cowell.

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