What's wrong with eating dog meat?
A Chinese animal lover consoles a dog after a convoy of trucks carrying some 500 dogs to be sold as meat, were stopped along a highway in Beijing on early April 17, 2011, and the dogs were later rescued to the China Animal Protection Association. There were about 58 million pet dogs in 20 major Chinese cities at the end of 2009 and the figure is rising about 30 percent each year, according to a survey, as pet owners in China spend an estimated two billion USD a year on their animals.
June 30th, 2011
02:05 PM ET

What's wrong with eating dog meat?

By , Global Post

Barbecued dog and steamed paws?

These and so much more were to be had at this weekend's dog meat festival near Seoul.

Alas, it was not to be.

Animal rights activists put up such a stink that the organizers, from the Korea Dog Farmers' Association, said there was no way they could go through with the event.

"We couldn't possibly go on with the plan due to endless phone calls of complaint ... now there are few willing to rent us a place for the event," Ann Yong-Geun, a professor of nutrition at Chung Cheong University and an advisor to the association, told AFP.

Organizers of the festival had wanted to showcase the positive side of the dog meat industry in South Korea, where there are about 600 farms that raise dogs for meat, according to Ann.

Dog soup, or Boshintang, is a summer delicacy in South Korea, though the Wall Street Journal reports that it isn't as popular as the media would make it seem.

A minority of people eat it regularly. It’s consumed most frequently in summer but is available year-round. And it’s more popular with men than women and is said to possess qualities that "help stamina."

They were, for example, going to show videos of farms raising dogs under sanitary conditions — something, they will tell you, that would become a more ubiquitous practice were the industry legalized and regulated.

But for many activists, the humane treatment of the dogs is beside the point. To them, dogs are companions not a main course, end of story.

Read: North Korean propaganda.

The irony is that in South Korea, that wasn't really true until more recently. And even now, it's really only true in the city, where they raise "pet dogs," as opposed to "meat dogs."

As William Saletan wrote in Slate a few years back:

In the country, they raise "meat dogs," also known as "junk dogs" and "lower-grade" dogs. But you don't become a "lower-grade" dog by flunking an IQ test. You're just born in the wrong place. Then you're slaughtered and fed to a man who thinks he's humane because he pampers a Golden Retriever that has half your brains.

So, what's really wrong with eating dog? Just because we don't do it in the U.S. doesn't seem to make for a very good argument.

GlobalPost's Dog Meat Mafia series, delves into the seedy world of the booming dog meat industry in Southeast Asia.

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Topics: China • Culture • East Asia

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soundoff (2,494 Responses)
  1. Terre

    As a dog lover it breaks my heart to see that picture and I would refuse to watch the slaughter of dogs or eating them. Having said that it is mainly a cultural thing and the only people who can morally object to this are vegetarians. Anyone who eats meat can't really object to this on moral grounds.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:09 am | Reply
  2. Bizcski

    let people eat whatever they want, but the only wrong things most of the time is the condition the animals are kept in before slaughter lol. ate bear meat before, both are smart animals, so what is the diff?

    July 1, 2011 at 11:10 am | Reply
  3. yum yum

    I am hungry and I would eat the hell out of dog, Though i would not slaughter it myself, I love dogs too much. Its just the social stigma.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:10 am | Reply
  4. jeff

    Why is eating a dog different than a pig... cow deer or any other animal? Just because they are cute?

    July 1, 2011 at 11:10 am | Reply
  5. marsmotel

    If you leave your emotions out of it, steamed paws sound really good! I will try any kind of meat. I am a carnivore. Give me one good logical reason that it is not ok to eat dogs when we eat every other animal on Earth. I would definitly try it at least once. All the animal lovers stop your nonsense!

    July 1, 2011 at 11:10 am | Reply
  6. toxictown

    Hey, here's a solution – don't eat meat period! Meat production is an environmental train-wreak and a moral minefield. Skip it.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:10 am | Reply
    • marsmotel

      That is just a stupid comment. Go eat a leaf!

      July 1, 2011 at 11:18 am | Reply
  7. Dude

    At some point, there is a limit to "cultural relativism." At some point, a "live and let live" and "it's all good" mentality doesn't work. In some countries, it's o.k. to dress Americans in orange jumpsuits and lop their heads off. In other countries, you can stone women to death because they were raped. In other countries, you can sell your 9-year-old into the sex trade. It's o.k. to consider these practices barbaric. It's o.k. to think of whaling or dog-eating as barbaric as well and to be a proponent for our culture's moral standards. (You can also be a proponent for moral advancement at home as well.) If you are an American and accept the eating of dogs, you have lost your moral compass and you need to come home. If you are considering immigrating to America and you eat dogs, please know that if you eat dogs in America you will be lucky if the police arrest you and can protect you.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:10 am | Reply
    • marsmotel

      This the the dumbest arguement yet. So you believe that other peoples cultures are wrong and immoral because you don't live that way. I would come over to your house, cook your dog and then serve it to the family and you would not know the difference between that meat and white chicken meat. Know tour facts!

      July 1, 2011 at 11:15 am | Reply
    • Dog MEAT FTW

      Oh you forgot to mention about how America invaded other countries with "suspicions" of weapons of mass destruction. BUT IT IS OK! RIGHT? Dude you need to realized that people and animals are different.( well at times some human's are like animals, but that is besides the point) By the way, I know a good place that sells dog meat in AMERICA. Come to downtown LA and I shall take you there

      July 1, 2011 at 11:19 am | Reply
  8. Evan

    Only in Asia you will find low level "humans" who will actually do that. As a matter of fact, the dogs they eat, are much smarter that them. It's a shame that we share a planet with these morons.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:10 am | Reply
  9. Forteaneye

    Man made a pact with dogs thousands of years ago. We care for them and provide food and they protect us, hunt for us, and give us companionship. It is morally repugnant to raise and slaughter dogs for meat. Sorry to say but Asians are the worst offenders in this as well as shark finning and over fishing. Korea needs to be shamed by others to get them to stop. This is a concept all Asians understand. To be shamed is worse than death for them.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:10 am | Reply
    • Jun

      I don't think that dog that killed my baby sister was part of that pact... Besides, who are you to judge or shame us? No wonder Asian is going beat the US economy soon. (14 trillion dollar debt - not a good sign) Also, people here have illegal dog fights? Think before you write because honestly you sound like a 15 year old arrogant jerk.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:24 am | Reply
  10. DOGCATPIG

    Well this is repeated over and over again here but eating dogs is eating cats is eating pigs is.......on and on. It's all the same. Remember when you slam down that pork rind, you are eating the closest thing to human flesh. If you lived on a farm, pigs are just as intelligent, friendly, bonding as any dog or cat. I'm a meat eater but at least i'm not so stupid as to not understand that the meat I am eating comes from something that was once living. Heaven forbid humans figure out that plants can communicate one day............then the veggies will really be in a fix. People need to just respect what they are eating and where it comes from and then move on.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:11 am | Reply
  11. the_dude

    If I ever found someone doing this to a dog I would literally murder that person right where they stood.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:12 am | Reply
    • Stan

      Oh good... a psychopath.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:14 am | Reply
  12. MaGruff

    Hey people, if u expired while walking friend Fido in a remote area, when hungery said friend would happily consume your MEAT.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:12 am | Reply
  13. cereal killa

    Cut the crap people, eat a dog, eat a dolphin, eat a person! What if they might be smart? Hitler was smart look how that turned out. If the korean culture wants to eat their dogs then let's try to be alittle less culturally ignorant for once and except the difference in people from around the world.... But you love your dog, i'd love your dog even more covered in bar-b-q sauce. Half the world is starving, and instead of using this as an oppertunity to find ways to feed people, lets ruin their festivals and teach the world to be american so they can shit on everyone else....

    July 1, 2011 at 11:12 am | Reply
  14. Dude

    Prior to reading this article, I had been considering buying a Kia. I will definitely NOT buy a Kia until I see an article that Korea has outlawed the consumption of dogs.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:13 am | Reply
    • brad

      ZIPERHEADS will eat anything.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:14 am | Reply
      • zipperhead

        and dumbasses will say anything to troll. go take your meds.

        July 1, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  15. brad

    IF YOU ARE HUNGRY ENOUGH, MAN WILL EAT JUST ABOUT ANYTHING TO SURVIVE.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:13 am | Reply
  16. callinuout

    not only would i eat dogmeat, I would feed some to my dog just for giggles.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:13 am | Reply
  17. d

    Korean's, north or south, are the most despicable scumbags on earth.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:13 am | Reply
  18. Thought

    Shouldn't you have "skin in the game" before you join? These people are the ones who will suffer the consequences of your decisions to ban the consumption of dogs. I guarantee you that the vast majority of those against the practice will fight to get it outlawed, but once they get their way, they will disappear and let the people impacted try to figure out all the problems they have caused. Unless you're living there and dealing with all the aftermath of your decision, then it's probably best if you stay out of it.....or do you want outsiders coming into your community telling you how you're going to live?

    July 1, 2011 at 11:14 am | Reply
  19. Yummy

    Maybe it's the solution to our economic problem.. Asia is booming, why? They have no "beef" with dog!!

    Where's the beef?

    July 1, 2011 at 11:14 am | Reply
  20. mark

    well, i can't really think of any real reason other than...we don't like the idea of it. it doesn't stop me from having this feeling..i like dogs and don't like the idea of eating it, but..i suppose in another world.. well, if i had to come up with something i would say, there is some evidence dogs have actually evolved (as opposed to being bred more recently) to be with us. on an aesthetic level it seems a shame to eat the one species that has actually developed to living with us. not many can do that and survive 🙂 ourselves included..

    July 1, 2011 at 11:15 am | Reply
  21. h2i

    these comments are hilarious...so many myopic perspectives. what one culture believes doesn't supersede others. if you believe so, you need to extricate your head from your anus. humans have been breeding and manipulating dogs for hundreds of years so that their chihuahuas look like rats and their shar-pei's faces looked like scrunched assholes...so sure, that's okey-dokey. eating them though? oh fuck, now you've crossed the line.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:15 am | Reply
    • AND

      Not to mention turning around to mutilate them by nutering or spaying them. Cram a chip in them and cut off their tails or dew claws. Let's remove the claws so they don't scratch my couch, and then shove them in a small pen in all weather, or tie them to a tree while patting ourselves on the back because, "We love animals."

      July 1, 2011 at 11:20 am | Reply
      • h2i

        nothing tells your dog more that they're your best friend like cutting off their balls...

        July 1, 2011 at 11:26 am |
  22. Dnix

    It depends on where you are from and what YOUR culture happens to be. We can only comment from our own personal perspective. Personally eating a dog is not my preference. No right or wrong here.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:15 am | Reply
    • Mr Fabulous

      I'd sooner eat Wilfred.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:29 am | Reply
  23. John

    The practice of eating dog in Korea is fading away. Most of them are elderly who grew up with dog as a folk medicine. The youth of Korea have not developed a taste for it yet and prefer a hot fresh Krispy Kreme instead. There are more dog fighting operations in the U.S. like Michael Vick was once associated with than dog farming operations in Korea. Add to that the greyhound racing industry that has several owners that kill or abandon the animals when they can no longer produce at the track despite greyhound rescue groups that are willing to come pick them up and take them off their hands. Add to that the dog breeders in states like Missouri that have lobbyists to keep state regulators passing puppy mill friendly legislation. Spent five years stationed in Korea and while I knew there were restaurants serving dog, I never saw it. The government made it illegal before the 88 Olympics. They were still there, fewer in number, and you had to know where to look. And it was much more expensive than beef because it was illegal, it was a folk medicine and it was more expensive per pound to raise than cows.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:15 am | Reply
  24. sick.of.lies.in.NYC

    What's next, fresh human? In this day and age it is unbelieveable that people do not become vegatarians, all animals have consciousness, thoughts and feelings, and experience the same terror and torment and pain when they are about to be murdered, whether for meat of fur or any other reason. WAKE UP PEOPLE OF THE WORLD AND SHOW SOME COMPASSION!!!

    July 1, 2011 at 11:15 am | Reply
    • Mr Fabulous

      See my post below about eating faggots.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:18 am | Reply
  25. rosegarden

    Dogs are passionate, their existence is beyond t being our companion. They are our best friend. Will you eat your friends? Through out our human histories, they've rescued our life while we, humans, do not have the capability to do it. The news made me cry. Asian believes Karma and incarnation, I hope those dog eaters will have ill- fate in their next life.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:16 am | Reply
    • Mr Fabulous

      'Will you eat your friends?' Just the ones with 'benefits,' honey. Arf arf.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:17 am | Reply
  26. Mr Fabulous

    Why is their no outcry over the cruel British practice of eating faggots? It must be stopped.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:16 am | Reply
  27. Bruce

    Here's a challenge to some of you: Raise a daughter or a son. Get them a puppy for their 5th birthday and raise it for a few years and make sure that your child has a strong emotional attachment to that pet.

    Then, on their 12th birthday, you kill the dog in front of your child and make them eat a healthy serving of the pet's meat and finish that serving before they can eat their birthday cake and open their presents. Tell them that the gift you are giving them is the ability to transcend their emotions about Fido and that it is "not anti-social to eat" and then try and tell yourself that you are not a sociopathic @$$h0le and that what you are doing is not child abuse.

    You can't. You know you can't. Please don't actually do this, it is sufficient just to think it through.

    Likewise it is with our society. We have ALREADY developed an emotional attachment to dogs. We have NOT developed, as a society, this same emotional attachment to cows or pigs or fish. It is NOT wrong for people to get a visceral reaction to the photo at the top of this article, to get angry at the thought that the dog pictured there was on its way to be "harvested." Yes, it may be "intellectually inconsistent" that we feel this way for the dog and not for the pig and not for the cow in a similar picture, but it is what it is.

    Stop it with your judgmental attitudes and looking-down-your-nose at those of us who hold this double-standard. Your calls for us to transcend our emotions and drop emotionally-based double standards are as wrong as serving the family pet at your daughter's 12th birthday party.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:17 am | Reply
    • 2hi

      that is the stupidest morality story/asinine corollary. the additional closing remark of "stop with your judgmental attitudes" was extra ironic given your own narrow-minded perspective on the topic...telling another culture to observe your cultural mores.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:21 am | Reply
      • Bruce

        I never in my comment told China to stop eating dogs. Read it again.

        July 1, 2011 at 11:24 am |
      • @Bruce

        The article is about eating dogs in Seoul, not the US. It's not whether we should legalize it in the US, or what most Americans think if we did. So, given the criteria of the article concerning eating dogs in Korea, it's not anti-social behavior. These dogs are no different than cows in the US. Someone else is raising them for consumption and not as family pets. With that said, I have helped raise cattle that have been consumed, even though you do get attached to them. It's part of life, but does not make me sociopathic.

        July 1, 2011 at 11:34 am |
      • Bruce

        My point isn't that we are doing wrong by the dog, or doing wrong by the cow, or whatever. My point is that we are doing wrong by each other if we insist on declaring people WRONG (shame on you!) for holding a double standard regarding dogs, that we somehow are forcing people in Korea or China to abide by our cultural standards by voicing our visceral and emotional reactions to the photograph that starts the article.

        My point is that the emotional reactions that people are having to this article and to this conversation are as predictable as the emotional reactions of a 12 year old girl being force-fed the family dog on her birthday. She is not WRONG to have these emotional reactions. Who is wrong is the parent who force-feeds her in the name of reason, in the name of helping her to transcend her emotions and her culturally-derived double standards.

        July 1, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  28. Chris

    I would never knowingly eat a dog, but in other countries that is just what they eat. Some countries also eat rats. Bottom line, meat is meat and I'm sure some animals we eat here other places wouldn't even consider eating.

    Like Mike said, if you eat cows, pigs, fish, or chickens and you criticize others for eating dogs, then you're a hypocrite.

    And don't give me that "well dogs are pets" argument, some people have do have pigs, fish, and even chickens as pets too you know.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:17 am | Reply
    • Erik

      No he is not a hypocrite he is an intelligent person who recognizes the distinct difference between dogs and animals that were made for food. who share no bond with mankind like dogs and cats.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:20 am | Reply
      • Chris

        Interesting and you conveniently leave out the part where I stated that some people have pigs, fish, and even chickens as pets too. Funny how all you people seem to want to impose your beliefs on everyone else and just because they don't do what you do, then THEY are the ones who are wrong.

        July 1, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  29. Erik

    No other animal on the face of this earth can establish a relationship with mankind like that of a dog. I truly believe God created dogs for a special reason and that is for companionship with human beings, a bond that no other animal can establish. It is for this reason that I think it is absolutely wrong to eat a dog, "Man's Best Friend".

    July 1, 2011 at 11:18 am | Reply
  30. Davis

    Dogs are different from other animals. After all, they're called "man's best friend." They are loyal and have demonstrated love beyond what other animals are capable of. To eat them (except in a dire, dire survival situation) is disgusting. Shame on those who do it.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:18 am | Reply
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