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. ghostgato5

    While eating dog wouldn't be my first choice, meat is meat. Industry regulation may be necessary in order to monitor and prevent incidences of animal cruelty. People will always eat dog, whether we like it or not, so let's instead make sure that they are being provided a decent product, and the animals to be consumed are properly housed and fed... the same way we monitor the well-being of cows, chickens, pigs, and other common sources of meat.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:29 am | Reply
  2. Trish

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    July 1, 2011 at 11:29 am | Reply
  3. bottom line

    I love that meddling causes so many issues, yet we feel the resolution is to meddle some more. Just think. If we had left dogs "wild" and not domesticated them, we wouldn't have the problem with whether or not they're eaten. We wouldn't have a problem with strays. We wouldn't have any of the issues if we left nature to nature instead of thinking we could manage it better. The issue of a dog chasing a car. It's not the chasing, it's what to do with it once you have it. Now that we have domesticated them, what do we do with the problem of nature no longer controling the population?

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

    It appears to be a dog eat dog world. Dog can be a little greasy, cats taste funny. Not like chicken at all.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:30 am | Reply
  5. djonas1234

    Because the life of a domestic pet is much more important than that of an animal raised for meat. Cows and Pigs are only good for meat, but the life of a dog is equivalent of the life of a baby child. I would kill a person before letting them kill a dog.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:30 am | Reply
  6. James

    What a lot of horrible analogies and arguments. "Dogs were bred to be companions." "Some things are just wrong" "Some countries sterilize women..." If you can justify eating a cow, a pig, or a rabbit, or feeding horse meat to your dog (dog food), you can justify eating a dog. Sure, you shouldn't eat your PET dog. You've established a relationship based on trust with that animal. But this article is talking about dogs that are raised just like any other domesticated animal that was bred for food. Since most of the world has domesticated dogs to be pets, we've acquired this fuzzy and warm relationship with dogs and can no longer see them as just animals. Some people have rabbits for pets. You can find them in most shopping mall pet stores. But rabbit is still a common dish even in American restaurants. Should we not eat any animal that has ever been kept as a pet? I don't think there are enough nutria and platypus to feed the world. Don't judge the practices of others solely on your own practices.

    People sorely lack the ability to rationalize beyond their own feelings and emotions. While I would never eat a dog or a cat because I have that same connection with these animals that most Americans do, I still understand that this is not true in all cultures/countries and I would never condemn them for eating a dog when I would eat a rabbit. That's hypocrisy; a sin I rate right up there with the worst kind.

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

      "People sorely lack the ability to rationalize beyond their own feelings and emotions."

      And that is a good thing. I dearly hope that people do not ever transcend their emotions in the name of reason or rationality. Really really bad things happen when they manage to do so. Emotions are a good thing. Emotion is not the enemy of reason.

      While it is a good thing to become aware of one's intellectual inconsistencies and double standards, it is not incumbent upon the rational being to do away with those same inconsistencies. In some cases, it is immoral to do so. This is one of those cases.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:36 am | Reply
    • Leslie

      Again, a dog is different from a pet rabbit because dogs have been selectively bred over thousands of years to trust and obey humans. Rabbits have not. The dogs being raised on these farms also come from thousands of years of selective breeding for trust and obedience. How an individual dog is being raised has no effect on the DNA that it has inherited.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:41 am | Reply
  7. Brian

    It's wrong because dogs are DOMESTICATED PETS. They instinctively trust people. Once they know you, they will love and protect you as well. Try getting that from chickens and cows. Freaking uncivilized people...

    July 1, 2011 at 11:30 am | Reply
  8. Oscar

    Personally, I wouldn't eat dog meat. Cat meat, that would be a different story.

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

      You really should try to eat a pussy. It's delicious. Just don't know what you're missing

      July 1, 2011 at 11:39 am | Reply
  9. Yankee

    I've never seen so many disgusting comments in my life on an article. The Chinese are disgusting, my father is a veterinarian and you would be astounded at the diseases that can be carried through dogs if never properly treated, and that's just one dog in one household that could die from not having proper vaccinations, worming, and prevention of many diseases carried. After reading these comments.....it's official....I have no defense at all for Americans being labled as "DUMB." Might as well as throw in immoral as well.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:31 am | Reply
  10. Marc

    In our culture, we don't eat dog because we feel it barbaric. In most cultures (75%), they don't cut the foreskin off a baby boys because they feel it barbaric. Who are we to judge anyone.

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

      Two wrongs don't make a right. Maybe the folks who think circumcision is barbaric are right–we should consider their arguments. Just as they should consider our culture's arguments for why eating dog is wrong. Respecting other cultures doesn't require one to throw away all concepts of right and wrong and decide that everything's subjective. Instead, it requires a willingness to consider the arguments made by people from other cultures.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:45 am | Reply
  11. Abhishek

    What's next? What's wrong with eating your kids/siblings/parents meat...

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

      Don't forget....the chinese also use aborted fetuses in soups and beauty products. Yet they are the largest exporter in the US.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:47 am | Reply
  12. El Kababa

    Carnivores typically eat herbivores, but that's not law. Doctors tell us the less meat you eat the healthier you will be. Vegetarians tell us that the lower you eat on the evolutionary scale, the healthier you are. Fish is better than insects which are better than reptiles which is better than birds which is better than mammals.

    The problem I have with eating dogs is my absolute disgust for anyone who eats them.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:32 am | Reply
  13. foreverwar

    Other than the fact that you get four drumsticks, I am just not seeing the appeal.

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

      Yeah, not really much meat on a pooch and it's rank carnivore.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:41 am | Reply
  14. KH

    Having been born and raised in the Philippines I absolutely could not stand the capturing and killing of dogs for food. This is very popular in the north (Baguio area among the tribesmen) and also sidestreet food.

    I personally believe it's wrong but don't know what to say when I hear "it's all he could afford to eat"

    I know a number of people (myself included) that can't stand seeing a dog being killed on TV but we seem desensitized when we see humans die but that's probably because we see humans being harmful and consequence is considered justice while dogs will always be blameless.
    At the end of the day, there are those who see dogs as blameless and have developed such a strong connection with them simply because they live to be your companion but there are also those as nothing more than animals and don't care.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:32 am | Reply
  15. LuciousLB

    Pastlife, you had dog meat as a child in Korea. Are you still living in Korea? If you are living here, why did you and/or your family move (is it better here for the most part)? If I move to Korea and they have a practice of eating dogs, I don't tell them how they should stop eating dogs. That's their culture and it should be respected by those who were not raised in it. The same should be applied here when it comes to the person who wrote this article. If you do live in the U.S. now, it would be offensive to try and push your cultural ways on a country’s citizens, when you know it goes against their cultural ways. We are all part of the food chain. Are humans considered "OFF LIMITS" or are they just off-limits "FOR NOW"? You may think my example is a bit extreme but to use your own analogy, there are cultures in the world who eat other humans. They practice cannibalism. Apparently in those societies eating humans is justified. So here in America, should we consider eating humans. It sure could help cut down on the homeless population and cut down on all the money that's spent on homeless shelters and many other services. Think of all the money that could be saved and we could all enjoy really low priced bar b que! Cannibals eat humans. Does that make it a good idea that we here in America should consider? Where should we draw the line? Is it okay to keep moving the line a little further again and again till adding humans doesn't seem so outrageous because others do it? Where do we draw the line on our morales?

    July 1, 2011 at 11:32 am | Reply
  16. wmd67

    I couldn't eat one but meat is meat, same as eating a cow or pig.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:32 am | Reply
  17. Forseen

    I think this issue goes past a lot of the analogies that are being made, from comparing dogs to other animals, comparing humans to other animals, and comparing the acceptance of eating one animal to the unacceptance of eating another. We all understand that we come from different cultures and backgrounds that shape our outlook on life, we all can agree on that. But what we can't agree on is who's culture or backgroud is more 'right' than the others, but thats ok right? Because if we could, then we'd have nothing to argue about, nothing to fight about, nothing to go to war about...these differences make the world we live in today, and without them nothing would be in balance. I love my dog very dearly, and would protect his life with my own. If another people half way around the world want to do something else with them, then fine, just don't dare come to my country, my house, my life and inject that on me...because it would start an agrument and a fight. So to all you who think this is 'right', move to Korea, I'll help you pack your bags 😉

    July 1, 2011 at 11:33 am | Reply
  18. bachmanntwit

    Well, we finally got rid of Palin. Now it's Bachmann's turn.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:33 am | Reply
  19. steve

    I've eaten dog & cat all over the world and coyote backstrap here in Montana without ill effect. I also lost my companion dog a year ago and still miss her greatly. My dog Sammi was never a food source and my willingness to eat dogs has no influence on the love I share with companion dogs.

    This is just another case one group trying to impose its values on a large portion of humanity. We are carnivores; get over it.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:33 am | Reply
  20. Biggs

    The problem is Americans are so quick to judge someone that doesnt live life exactly as they do.Of course we dont eat dogs, we werent raised eating them or being told they were a source of food. But in other places its different, every where you go in the world there are different delicacies and some of them we would turn our nose up to. That doesnt mean theyre wrong for consuming them.haha. I love dogs and probably wouldnt eat one,but im not gonna judge someone if they do thats their choice. And besides they raise these "Meat dogs" just how we would raise catlle, so i dont see the problem with them eating the meat. Now if they were just riding around snatching up peoples pets, then yes that would be different. Lastly theres lots of people who eat veal,which is a calf. That could be looked at as inhumane also,becuase your consuming an animal thats not even an adult yet. Let them do them,its not affecting us its two different cultures.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:34 am | Reply
    • Tim

      Just because it's part of a culture doesn't make it right Biggs. There are some people that still eat humans in remote parts of the the world as "part of thier culture". Eating animals that have evolved over thougsands of years along side humans is equally disgusting. Much like your ignorant comment.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:58 am | Reply
  21. Ferney

    It may sound terrible for dog lovers in the United States about dog eaters in some parts of Asia, but don't you think some people of Hinduism faith feel the same way about us eating cows? and yet you see big bill boards with juicy pieces of steak being advertised next to our freeways. If you tell a horse lover that part of the menu in most French restaurants is horse meat, he/she may probably not be too thrilled about that statement, but it is very normal to come across that in the menu over there. If they eat dog, cat, or horse who are we to judge their cultural habits? We eat cows, fish, pigs, and chickens, are we despicable for that?

    July 1, 2011 at 11:34 am | Reply
  22. Joe

    Why don't you just change your site name to Yahoo and get it over with? CNN is losing all sense of journalistic integrity. My post is the only time those words have been used in association with CNN all year.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:34 am | Reply
  23. Dude

    Hmmm...I'd hate to see what Americans who think dog eating in Korea is o.k. do when they get to Bangkok.

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

    "Just because we don't do it in the U.S. doesn't seem to make for a very good argument." So that is your conclusion to the story or the question? where's the article? where is you thought process? go back to high school and try again.....

    July 1, 2011 at 11:34 am | Reply
  25. Dennis

    Mostly we have lost our relationship with feed animals.

    Pigs, chickens, cows have let the small farms and back yards for factory farms.

    So now we pamper our dogs but the price is a cruel life for our food.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:35 am | Reply
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Friend of mine kept a pig in a brownstone in Raleigh, NC. Actually had it in the back yard, but he used to let it in the house. One day it got out the front door and climbed up on top of his neighbor's car, leaving huge dents, then ran off down the road and caused a lot of damage and legal trouble. Now, you can get you some pigs and chickens if you want, but unless you live on a farm . . . .

      July 1, 2011 at 11:45 am | Reply
  26. Canuck1979

    The look on that dogs face is breaking my heart. How can someone look at that and then eat it? We aren't cavemen anymore, we have food options. Eating dogs should not be an option. Notice all the weird stuff is done in Asian countries? Eating dogs, pooping in the streets...lol... gross.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:35 am | Reply
    • Dennis

      65 million guinea pigs are eaten in peru every year.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:46 am | Reply
  27. SHRIKE

    Kitty tar-tar. Be generous with the white pepper, it needs it.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:35 am | Reply
  28. ilsrwy15

    F- the Koreans, F- the Chinese and F- all meat eaters! You all suck period....!

    July 1, 2011 at 11:36 am | Reply
    • Yummy

      And those those lazy workers who like to "F-" the dog...

      July 1, 2011 at 11:43 am | Reply
  29. GMurray

    There is no ethical justification for slaughtering and eating any healthy animal. Human, dog or otherwise.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:36 am | Reply
    • SHRIKE

      ethical? Humans are meat-eaters and just because a lot of Americans look like cows, doesn't mean we should eat like cows. I'm pretty sure lions and tigers don't beat themselves up about the ethics of eating their prey.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:45 am | Reply
    • richard smith longevity dog groomer

      spiritual divinity has no logic, no justification. So little knowledge, so little understanding. Too stupid to even know your souls disconnect, and glaring unintelligence.

      July 1, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Reply
  30. Gromit

    BOYCOTT SOUTH KOREA! Don't drive a Hyundai or a Kia!

    July 1, 2011 at 11:36 am | Reply
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