Ricky Gervais hits out at Chinese Yulin Dog Meat Festival with new animal rights campaign

The comedian has denounced the cruelty of the festival, which sees tens of thousands of dogs slaughtered

Ricky Gervais has launched a new animal rights campaign, protesting against the cruelty of the Yulin Dog Meat festival.

Gervais, who is a staunch supporter of animal rights, has joined a campaign to put an end to the Chinese festival.

Every year, around 10,000 dogs, many of which are stolen pets, are slaughtered in the Guangxi province.

Some reports claim that 500,000 lbs of dog meat is consumed annually.

The festival will be held on 22 June to celebrate June solstice.

Humane Society International has launched a petition to put international pressure on the event, and has named a saved dog Ricky in honour of the comedian.

A statement released by Gervais said: "My friends at Humane Society International are working tirelessly to end this cruel trade all over Asia, and they desperately need your help.

"I’ve seen the footage that HSI has captured on video, and it breaks my heart. I will never forget the look of bewilderment and fear on the faces of these poor animals — the dogs and cats await a horrible fate. No animal deserves to be treated like this."

HSI notes that the majority of Chinese citizens oppose the festival.