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. EmeraldCity

    Horses should be off limits, too. Many former racehorses have sadly been auctioned off and ended up in trucks that go to slaughter houses (whether down in Texas or in Mexico). So their talent and dedication earned them nothing but a horrific and fear filled death – where they are forced to sense and watch other horses dying. And the barbaric way that's it done would curdle your blood.

    If you consider any kind of animal charity contribution this year, look into ReRun (up in New Jersey) – they rehabilitate and find homes for former racehorses or other horses who would otherwise be needlessly killed.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:18 am | Reply
  2. Pat

    If you Adopt your dogs fine, have your own opinion.

    If you buy puppies and actually think eating dogs is bad your a raging hypocrite. In South Korea they eat dogs, in America 4 million dogs a year are slaughtered cuz Fat Idiots want there Fuzzy Wuzzy puppies. I'd love to buy a puppy but I can control myself enough to know that I can save a dogs life by using my brain when getting a dog instead of my emotion. Eating dogs aren't the problem, its anyone who buys a puppy. Pick up the slack for the sloths of this country, it will save a dogs life.

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

    Honey, what are we having for dinner? That certainly taste good..

    By the way honey, I have seen Rex all day?

    July 1, 2011 at 11:19 am | Reply
  4. doglover

    Weird how they are up in arms about the dog meat but no mention of the dog sex trade. Underage dogs are being sold for sex.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:19 am | Reply
  5. Pete

    We're all just atoms that were belched out of dying stars.

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

      I feel sorry for you if it were that simple then we would all be the same, every living creature

      July 1, 2011 at 11:22 am | Reply
      • Krista

        Actually, it's true. A large number of elements form in stars and are spread through the galaxy when the stars go supernova. The initial cosmic dust, so to speak, formed into hydrogen (the first element) and then compressed into stars and went from there.

        What that has to do with this argument, I'm not sure. We're definitely more than a sum of our parts.

        July 1, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  6. 8675309

    i love hot dogs! 🙂

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

      I can't look at them now.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:30 am | Reply
  7. Bobby Price

    A long time ago I tried to eat raccoon but couldn't, today I'd would never try to eat mans best friend for the same reason, I don't have too. I'm not saying I wouldn't, I'm just saying at this time I don't have too. If there were a need then yes but there's no need at this time.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:21 am | Reply
  8. Leslie

    Dogs and horses have been selectively bred over the centuries to TRUST and OBEY human beings. Even if these dogs are now being raised on a meat farm, they still come from thousands of years of selective breeding that has made them into the trusting and obedient animals that they are. That's why it's wrong to kill and eat them–it's a betrayal. We've bred them to be obedient and to see human beings as members of their pack or herd, and then we kill them like a wolf in sheep's clothing. Cows, pigs, chickens, etc. have been bred to be a little less fearful of humans and a little more docile than their wild cousins, but nowhere near the level of trust and obedience that we've bred into dogs and horses.

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

      It has nothing to do with training. You could sit there and try to train a cow, a pig, a chicken and many other animals that are OK to eat and they could never be like a dog. Some of you people who think you are so smart really show your supreme ignorance many of the times just to push your own personal wacked out agenda.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:24 am | Reply
      • Mark

        Domestication does not = training, teaching an animal to do something is not the same of hundreds of years of breeding an animal to be mans best friend.

        July 1, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • Mark

      Exactly what I was going to say. I don't think we can sit here and tell a country what to do that's their own business but personally I could never do that because of all the reasons you stated, dogs instinctively trust us and look to us for care because we have made them that way.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:29 am | Reply
    • ryanzzzz

      And by TRUST and OBEY you mean we've essentially turned dogs (and cats) over the course of 1000 years into a dependent species who we neuter at will, and who could not survive in the wild due to our rearing.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:30 am | Reply
      • Leslie

        Yes, which is why we have a responsibility to take care of them.

        July 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  9. LadyVa

    Really they are all the same? When was the last time a cow sent messages over enemy lines during a war...or sniffed out bombs in Vietnam....or found a survivor in a pile of rubble...or took down a criminal ready to shoot a police officer? Our companion animals are NOT meat sources. Neither are horses. I am HAPPY the west is influencing other parts of this world and creating ETHICAL cultures for animals to live in! Animal cruelty has no place on earth just like child abuse...there is No difference. Maybe those in favor of eating dogs and cats, should put THEMSELVES on the menu. So to speak, BE MY GUEST!

    July 1, 2011 at 11:23 am | Reply
    • Dnix

      "I am HAPPY the west is influencing other parts of this world and creating ETHICAL cultures for animals to live in! "

      Those are strong words but still from ONE of many perspectives. Can it really be deemed unethical to eat meat WE may feel should not be eaten? When was insert 'ethics' there has to be a right and wrong. It may gross us out but maybe it's just DIFFERENT and not wrong.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:29 am | Reply
    • Dnix

      ....sorry....I meant WHEN WE insert 'ethics'.....

      July 1, 2011 at 11:32 am | Reply
  10. James

    Really? What in the # is wrong with this title? Have people lost there @D minds?

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

    You can argue all day about what animal is smarter then another (pig, dog, etc), But what it comes down to is that all animals are a life. And IMO its wrong to take any life!!! End of story. Weather you have a dog as a pet or not its just wrong to take a life. You are putting yourself on a slippery slope, and become hypocritical, when you try to argue that killing a dog weather humane or inhumane is the issue when in the US we kill other animals for food, and a majority of those animals are not humanly cared for or slaughtered. You can watch movies such as "Food Inc.", "Korn Kings", "The Beautiful Truth", and more, just to get a glimpse at how horrible we treat animals even in the United States. Many people are are just oblivious to how poorly we even treat animals in the US. I believe that we need to educate ourselves and others around us, and not just talk about how wrong something is but to get off you ass and do something about it. Everyone makes their own choices and one person at a time you can make a difference. For instance you can choose to only buy organic, or grass-fed humanly treated meats, or become a vegan.

    I believe in practicing what you preach. I am a VEGAN (A person who does not eat or use animal products). Not saying that everyone should become a Vegan its your own personal choice, but you really can't argue not to eat dog meat vs. other meat, when you are consuming meet that have been farmed and slathered humane or inhumane for human consumption.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:23 am | Reply
  12. jdog

    I can understand in times of great strife, starvation, war, ets, a need to perhaps do this, but NOT NOW KOREA...YOU DO NOT NEED TO DO THIS

    July 1, 2011 at 11:23 am | Reply
  13. ANGIE

    to everyone talking about eatting human flesh look up...KURU DZ...

    July 1, 2011 at 11:24 am | Reply
  14. Ancho

    There are many humans that are not as smart as dogs. There are many humans that act as wild as dogs with no remorse. Eat these people, not innocent dogs.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:24 am | Reply
  15. jon

    "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."

    true and sad.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:24 am | Reply
  16. A.W.Messenger

    I went to China where they eat dogs regularly. It is kind of an odd thing. I remember leaving our hotel one morning, we saw a few people on the street skinning a dog. The word on the street was that the dog had been hit by a car, so they were making the best of this unfortunate opportunity. Later that afternoon when we came back to the hotel, they were selling meals made from the dog meat to passersby.

    Typically they have two "classes" of dogs: those you eat, and those you befriend as a companion and don't eat. Oftentimes, the dogs they choose for eating are farmed and harvested.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:24 am | Reply
  17. Humane?

    All this talk about eating them being wrong.... People have a problem eating dogs but what's less humane? Humanely killing a dog and butchering for consumption, OR.....
    1. Nutering or spaying a dog against its will
    2. Shoving a chip under its skin for identification
    (Both forms of mutilation)
    3. Tying it to a tree or putting it in a kennel with a minalistic shelter with no room to run
    4. Drying its fur through shampoo and conditioners
    5. Shaving it for our vanity, not a real need
    6. Docking tails or clipping ears for vanity sake and because "That's what they do with that breed".
    7. Keeping them confined to an apartment or house for hours on end without companionship
    8. Dressing them up and making them do stupid tricks they would never do in nature
    9. Feeding them unhealthy treats, table scraps, and letting them get overweight to the point of health issues.
    The list goes on and on. Personally, I'd rather be put down than deal with life a great percentage of dogs are forced to live in your homes.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:24 am | Reply
    • Leslie

      I can tell you right now that I would DEFINITELY rather be forcibly shampooed than murdered and eaten.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:31 am | Reply
      • LOL

        That made my day!! However, be careful what you wish for I watched a woman almost overdose an animal with medicated shampoo. As an animal trainer, I see more issues with people treating pets like members of the family and assigning human emotions and behaviors to their pets than anything. There's a distinct difference and many problems arise when people erase that line. This applies not only to behavioral issues, but at a physical level. What may be perceived as love and affection might actually be domination on the part of the animal.

        July 1, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Anthony Weiner

      You are nuts, and putting a rice-grain-sized chip under a dog's skin isn't mutilation.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:40 am | Reply
      • Really?

        Clipping ears is necessary? Bobbing tails is necessary? It's not mutilation? Chipping pets is necessary? Isn't that done because people can't be trusted to control their animals and is needed for identification purposes? If they can contain, and adequately protect them, then why's it necessary? it's mutilation. it's an altering of the animal when it's not medically necessary. Nutering occurs in nature? Spaying? Removing dew claws? What about declawing cats? Simply put, it's mutilation and there's no argument against it. However, if the government wanted to chip you, then can you say you don't have an issue with it? What's the difference? You have a social security number, but now you just have a chip embedded so your identity can't be stolen, employment can be verified and we can get rid of all the credit cards and such. It's not mutilation and for your protection right?

        July 1, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • Corrine

      I agree with the tail docking, dew claw removal and ear surgeries but that is all. We spay and neuter dogs to prevent unwanted dogs who will be abandoned/neglected or murdered. As far as comparing neutering which is done under anesthesia with eating dogs is flawed. Neutering is done for the dogs and future dogs protection. It is done as pain free as possible and post op the animals are given pain killers. Do you know how they prepare the dogs for slaughter?? Are you really comparing a humane surgery ( I've had 16 major surgeries so I know post operative pain) with the brutal beating and torture then the subsequent skinning alive of the animal??? Get your facts first. Shampooing and drying may not be a dogs favorite pastime but I bet they'd take that over TORTURE anyday. I know I would.
      To me this entire issue comes down to the process used. As horrible as many western slaughterhouses are there is not a common practice to brutally beat, torture and skin alive our cattle or pigs (personally, I do not eat any meat nor do I own leather products).

      July 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  18. Nick

    Just because our culture considers dogs taboo to eat doe not mean its morally or ethically wrong for another culture to think and act otherwise....Lets consider India and their practice of holding cows sacred. To us that's a silly and laughable thing, nyet we condemn another culture because they choose to eat an animal we hold "sacred" per se. There's a word for it, its called Hypocracy........We're a culture of hypcrytes...

    July 1, 2011 at 11:25 am | Reply
  19. *sigh*

    so many comments, such little sense
    – this article is not about china, just the photo caption, people
    – there are obviously people in both china and korea that oppose dog-consumption (um, the animal rights activists?), so don't make generalizations about entire races/cultures, that's just dumb.
    – i am a dog-lover/owner, but...please don't compare any situation concerning animals with that of abuse/mistreatment of humans. that's just plain rude & insulting to human victims of cruelty!
    – in that same vein, comparing eating a dog to cannibalism? also rude to the humans!! (p.s., if you see a starving child going to slaughter a dog so he can have some much-needed nourishment, are you going to deny him or her that right?)
    – *kind of* in the author's defense, she seemed to be asking a rhetorical question to challenge the reader, perhaps to re-examine how our own cultural norms alter the way we view others'..although it kind of backfired...
    – as someone with close ties to several asian cultures, there are many tales circulating in asian countries about people who were afflicted with serious and/or chronic illnesses but made better after eating dog meat..im surprised that the article didn't expand on that point as it could provide an enhanced perspective on why there's still some people in those countries that seek dog-meat.
    – this article provided absolutely no information/facts/background on which to even begin a thoughtful discussion. its really just a bunch of words thrown together to incite equally uninformed reactions from people 😦

    July 1, 2011 at 11:25 am | Reply
    • LadyVa

      Then consider yourself insulted.

      Animal abuse AND human abuse are virtually in sync considering crimes against humans BEGIN with animals. DUH. If a culture doesn't protect animal rights WTH kind of human rights do you think you have? Seriously? Look it up if you can't wrap your brain around it.

      As far as other cultures and their "foot"being their thing, Bullshit. This is not religious. This is simply because they can and will use anything for profit. It is an ethical issue obviously or else these dogs would be soup today!

      July 1, 2011 at 11:40 am | Reply
      • Hamster Meat

        I didn't know that Nazi's started killing Jewish chickens before they moved to actual Jews! OMY for you information, Korea's human rights are literally on par with United States? Also, I think that hypocritical because Americans do anything for profit too.. Like feed their livestock, corn instead of actual grass? Finally, it doesn't make it ethical because YOU think its wrong..

        July 1, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  20. Ron

    Take an ethics class; the view that right / wrong is subective is flawed and can be refuted easily. How? The fact that arguing the point that right/wrong is subjective means you think there is at least one right view; which disproves that right and wrong is subjective....logic sucks doesn't it?

    July 1, 2011 at 11:25 am | Reply
    • Sean

      She is entitled to her own opinion's right? Stop trying to act like a logic expert and open your eyes to the real world! This happens as we speak and your comment isn't going to change anything goes on. Feel proud that I wasted my time typing this for you. Thanks bruh

      July 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Reply
  21. Dude

    Multiculturalism would be easy if other cultures didn't suck.

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

    While overseas I have eaten dogs, cats, snakes, lizards and all sorts of other things that crawl around, all of it was good. I think these animal activists need to take a closer look at the food chain and stop watching disney movies. With world hunger the way it is dogs and cats breed way faster and mature way quicker than beef. Also would be a good solution to the feral cats and dogs problem, round them up and feed them to the needy.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:26 am | Reply
    • Erik

      Unless you are poor, starving and have nothing else to eat there is no excuse for eating a dog and seeing that you can afford to use the Internet you are none of those.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:56 am | Reply
  23. Stephanie

    There is absolutely no difference between eating dog meat and that of other animals (i.e. pigs, cattle, chicken, etc.) The argument revolving around the fact that we keep dogs as companions in the United States is, in fact, no argument at all. Just because the vast majority of humans view dogs and cats as companions, and "farm" animals as food does not justify the situation. Neither of the two groups of animals is more intellectually more competent than those included in the other. What are considered "food" animals in America are viewed as sacred in other countries. But what it all boils down to has nothing to do with culture, or the bandwagon effect; some might even say that moral choice plays a minor role. It is utterly hypocritical to comment on the "pain that one sees in the face of the poor animal" and the "blatant difference between the diets of Americans and those practiced in other countries" and that "there is an unfair advantage to eating dogs", because if "meat is meat" then all animals must be viewed as equal. And if that is indeed true, then the relativity of the pain which chickens, cows, and pigs suffer through every moment of every day so that we, as Americans, may enjoy a "wholesome meal" should cause every person who rails against those who eat dogs to be outraged at the prospect of factory farming. Examine the morality of your own diet before criticizing others. If this article was upsetting or shocking to you, then it is clear that you are ignorant of the horrors of America's meat industry.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:26 am | Reply
    • Bruce

      "Just because the vast majority of humans view dogs and cats as companions, and 'farm' animals as food does not justify the situation."

      Actually, it justifies a lot. It justifies the double-standard we have when it comes to dogs versus pigs and dogs versus cows and dogs versus fish. It's a collective societal double-standard on-par with (though certainly not identical to) babies versus pigs and babies versus cows and babies versus fish. Your point about "it's just meat" can be made equally to other taboos regarding meat.

      Yes, it's a double standard. Of course it is. I, however, make no apologies for holding that double standard.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:30 am | Reply
      • Stephanie

        I completely agree with your comment, and I fully recognize the double-standard that has been in place for many a year now. However, I object to said standard. I was simply trying to outline the perspective that a large number of Americans tend to identify with.

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

        It's not just a "view"–it's a scientific truth. Dogs and horses have been selectively bred for trust and obedience to humans for thousands of years. There's nothing subjective about that.

        July 1, 2011 at 11:34 am |
  24. Yummy

    We are entering an age where the world's population is exploding and the food sully chain is dwindling. God forbid any catastrophic event in the supply of food, it would be beyond my imagination of what the human being would eat. Remember the drought in Africa.They were dying by the thousands, and eat anything that they could get their hands on...

    July 1, 2011 at 11:26 am | Reply
  25. Erik

    Putting a chip under a dog is not mutilation, that is like saying someone who has surgery is being mutilated, give me a break! As for spaying and neutering, same thing and all the other silly points you tried to make.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:26 am | Reply
  26. johnborg

    Consumption of food is culturally relative. I'm making this statement as an animal rights advocate. The reason American individuals find disgust in the factory farming, or even "humane" farming, of dogs is similar to why I find the farming of pigs absurd. (Don't give me the intelligence argument; pigs are highly intelligent creatures.) A animal rights movement must come from the inside (people of Korea) and not from American's who think they are "fixing" a culture, but are merely cultural imperialist. As an animal rights advocate, I will help support and fund the animal rights people in Korea. I will not promote or advocate or support American animal rights advocates who try to tell the Korean people what to do.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:27 am | Reply
    • *sigh*

      well said!

      July 1, 2011 at 11:42 am | Reply
  27. Kevin in Atlanta

    My mother was raised on a farm. She had a pet pig named Cowbell (they weren't too bright on that farm). My mother treated that pig like I treat my pet Terrier now. Then, one day, when she was "old enough", my grandfather ordered her to go and kill Cowbell to be sold at market.

    My mother told me she cried uncontrollably, but she did it. And the family had ham sandwiches later. She'll never forget Cowbell. But, she'll also never forget Cowbell was a pig. If I'm starving, my Terrier better start running...

    July 1, 2011 at 11:27 am | Reply
    • Yummy

      Your terrier and those Terrorists they have locked up...

      July 1, 2011 at 11:30 am | Reply
  28. Hindu Ninja

    Dhondi is the smartest person on this Blog.

    AS AN AMERICAN HINDU PESCETARIAN DOG OWNER who used to eat meat (it means I only eat seafood because I am weak and can't give it up) I say LET THEM EAT DOG.
    Why do people who eat cows make fun of Hindus who "worship" cows.. First, we dont' worship them but relied on them for Milk, Ploughing the fields, Transportation (Carts) so why would we eat them.
    People who eat meat who judge others who eat dogs should either (a) shut up and let people eat Dog or (b) stop eating other animals which you have rationalized as "lesser animals / beasts". To not want to eat a Dog "because it has a cute face" but have no problem eating rabbit, or a calf or piglet is just plain stupid. Best idea: stop eating animals if you don't need to.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:27 am | Reply
    • Yummy

      And Cow pee..Gandhi's favorite drink.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:32 am | Reply
      • Robin

        And Camel pee is Mohammmmad's favourite drink.. google it if you want.

        July 1, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  29. Matt

    You can't just lump all dogs together in one category as "having value". My wife has a P.o.S. Dachshund-Beagle mix, that thing couldn't possibly be of any use outside of a chili pot. Not every dog is a German Shepherd. If it isn't useful, or at least housebroken, then you can't justify why cows and swine are acceptable food sources, but yippie little turd droppers aren't. Same with people, we aren't valuable simply because we're human. If someone is lazy or parasitic, I have no problem putting them on the barbie, you have to actually contribute to have any value.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:28 am | Reply
    • Brian

      I understand your point. I feel that way about conservatives.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:32 am | Reply
  30. Jackie

    I'm a vegetarian. I've always felt that my respect for life should be based on the level of brain function, especially capacity for pain. I have more respect for dogs, whales, tigers, and cows, than I do for plants, bacteria, bugs, or snails. The higher level brain function life forms deserve my respect.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:29 am | Reply
    • SHRIKE

      Why?

      July 1, 2011 at 11:31 am | Reply
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