SIMON Cowell has joined calls to end the annual slaughter of dogs at a notorious food festival in China.
THE X-Factor supremo begged his Twitter followers to â€œhelp stop this disgraceful animal torture and crueltyâ€ at the Yulin dog eating festival.
His comments were made on the day the annual event which sees around 10,000 dogs and cats killed was held in south eastern China.
The music mogul, who owns two Yorkshire terriers called Squiddly and Diddly, said: â€œI can barely bring myself to talk about the horrific Yulin Dog and Cat Meat festival because it makes me so sick.
â€œBut unless we all do something about this, it wonâ€™t stop. We have to act now to stop these barbaric & disgusting events FOREVER.â€
His intervention came a day after the Mirror revealed horrific footage of howling dogs being bludgeoned to death.
The then had their hair burned off them with a blow torch before being thrown in boiling water.
Dog festival RagoutDog festival Ragout
On his return to Britain from LA, Simon urged his 12 million Twitter followers to sign a petition hosted by campaigners Humane Society International calling for it to be banned.
HSlâ€™s petition had attracted 490,083 signatures yesterday, including an extra 9,000 around the time of Cowellâ€™s tweets.
Each person who signs up triggers a message opposing the event being sent to Peng Qinghua, the Communist Party chief of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
Campaigners, including activists in China, insist many of the dogs shipped in for the event are stolen pets often found still wearing collars.
It came as locals gathered to eat dog meat and lychees to celebrate summer solstice.
Simon Cowell is a self confessed animal-lover and has previously spoken out against the use of captive dolphins in shows.
Other celebrities including comedian Ricky Gervais and singer Leona Lewis have spoken against the dog meat trade.
The local authority in Yulin denies any organised â€œfestivalâ€ takes place while ordering the slaughter of dogs to be done away from public markets.
Despite the disturbing footage of killings, local sellers insist the animals are killed in a humane way.
And yesterday a separate e-petition against the event in the largely rural and poor Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region had seen almost four million people sign up.