Animal rights activists filed a petition signed by 11 million people to authorities in Beijing asking for an end to the slaughter of dogs at the Chinese dog meat festival that is set to begin on June 21.

The activists presented the petition at the representative office of Yulin city, the place where the festival is held. The campaigners took dogs along with them as they unveiled banners with pictures of the animals above the message "I'm not your dinner".

At the annual Chinese festival, the residents of the southern city are seen consuming dog meat and thousands of dogs are expected to be slaughtered. The supporters claim that dog meat is good for health at the hottest time of the year.

They also say that eating dog meat is not different from consuming any other meat.

However, online posts and pictures of caged or slaughtered dogs have outraged many people. Several domestic and international organizations are also behind the petition calling to stop the festival.

The campaign also received support from celebrities such as British comedian Ricky Gervais and US actor Ian Somerhalder.

In 2014, the Yulin government distanced itself from the festival and said that the festival is organized by private business people. They said there was no official backing.