A city in Britain is being urged to end its twinning relationship with Guangxi province in southern China because it hosts a dog-eating festival.

Over 16,000 people have signed a petition to the Newport City Council in Wales to end the city’s partnership with Guangxi province because of the Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat Festival, the South Wales Argus reported.

More than 10,000 dogs are eaten at the festival, which has been held annually for the past nine years from June 21 to 30.

Leah Austin, who is from Newport, said she signed the petition because she wants her city to stand up to this type of behavior. “I think it is really sad that Newport is aligned with such sickening animal cruelty,” Austin said.

A spokesperson from Newport City Council said councilors would consider the petition in line with council policy if and when it receives it.

The petition, which has a total of 16,171 signatures, aims to reach 25,000 signatures.

Citizens in China and Vietnam are the biggest consumers of dog meat in Asia. Animal rights groups have been calling for a ban on eating dog meat in these countries.

Last month, Indonesia banned the trade in dog and cat meat to improve the country’s image among foreign tourists.