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. Jim Bowie

    Historically, recently, Chinese have demonstrated that when times get tough, they will sell and eat their own children, girls first of course. Don't think of them as human.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:36 am | Reply
    • ilsrwy15

      Having lived months in China......I agree. The Chinese as a people are totally nasty!

      July 1, 2011 at 11:39 am | Reply
  2. DOG-LOVER

    IF I COULD DESTROY THESE PEOPLE AND THEIR PRACTICES........I WOULD.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:36 am | Reply
  3. Cog in the wheel

    >>> Some things are just morally wrong.

    Joe, I'm sure you realize that eating dog meat is not different "morally" than eating chicken, beef, duck, or.....I'm sure you meant it FEELS wrong, and depending on the culture you live it that's true.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:38 am | Reply
  4. Johnny

    Everyone seems to forget that we “evolved” this amazing companion through carefully breeding and now look at all we have created with the many different species, these may be animals but they have much more emotions and feelings from their wolf ancestors and feel sadness and pain just like us, they are sentient and to eat what we created to be a loving companion is just wrong. Just because it moves Asians doesn’t mean you should eat it. If dogs were to be looked at for just “meat” then we would not have them in the military, police, patient care facilities….they deserve more than a life of sadness and fear…all for a fuc*ing burger…shame on you!

    July 1, 2011 at 11:38 am | Reply
  5. ChazBass

    I have lived in South Korea a couple times for a number of years (I am a Caucasian American, in case you are wondering). I have eaten boshintang (dog meat soup) a couple of few times. It was okay. I am also a big dog lover and have three. I also grew up on a farm where we had pigs, cows, and chickens. I can tell you that pigs can be just as affectionate and fun as a dog. I have no moral qualms about having eaten dog, pigs, chickens, cows, deer, elk. bear, and rattlesnake. I am just honest with my self about the situation. I am a omnivore by nature. I eat meat. There is no difference in killing one animal versus another for food purposes. Trying to rationalize that it is okay to kill and eat one versus another might make you feel good, but such an argument has no basis in logic. Having said this, I fell strongly that all animals should be raised humanely, whatever the purpose. Would I eat a person? I suppose that in a life or death situation, I probably would, as would everyone else, I think.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:38 am | Reply
  6. MaMAN1403

    There is littlle to argue here. I love dogs. I eat meat. I would never eat a dog unless my survival required it. Meat is meat, and if others cultutally are not opposed to it, then how can you argue against it, unless you are vegan or vegetarian?

    July 1, 2011 at 11:38 am | Reply
  7. For the love of dogs

    The difference between dogs and livestock is basic. We keep livestock and the livestock puts up with being kept because they get a regular supply of food. In general livestock does not show affection to the farmer or anyone else. A cow might come to the gate for grain, but it isn't looking for a pat on the head or to have it's belly scratched. It doesn't get excited just because the farmer entered the barn.

    Dogs, even stray dogs, show affection to humans - even humans they don't know. They look to us for guidance and leadership. They look to us for playmates. They freely give us their love and affection. Anyone who's ever had a dog come up to them to comfort them knows they could never eat such a creature.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:38 am | Reply
  8. Roula

    I dont eat meat now anyway but to eat cat or dog where i come from in the UK is barbaric its the way they do it to they steal dogs kill them barbarically its just not right these were peoples pets would you eat your son and daughter these animals have feelings and are supposed to be mans best friend the way they treat the animals for fur is also very barbaric can you imagine having your skin being pulled off while alive its sad and i hate it they roast animals alive to eat you cannot say this is humane i think they should STOP! Alot of people dont go to Asia because of this i would never go because of this!

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

    Maybe we should drop a nuke and a little hot sauce on South Korea.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:39 am | Reply
  10. Dennis

    Put's a whole new meaning to hotdog..

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

    Developed countries have largely moved beyond eating animals that are taboo. Dogs (and cats) have been domesticated as companions for thousands of years so in most countries it is considered taboo. Perhaps someone should start domesticating the Koreans and those people that think its ok to consume these animals. Personally, besides being taboo I think it's barbaric and grotesque...and those are the nicest words I could find.

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

      you only write this and think this way because you live where there is the luxury in choosing where one can get protein. IN much of China and other Asian countries, dogs are eaten as a matter of taste and necessity. Almost NO protein source goes uneated–which is why many countries also include reptiles, and bugs on their menu. In western history, people often ate dogs when faced with starvation on either land or in harsh climes. They are a protein source. Of course people also have eaten humans if the need arose and the protein source is limited. One reason this is so is that of all food sources only the 21 amino acids available in protein are essential for life–ergo–you don't eat protein, you cannot live long.

      So they eat dogs, and they probably raise them to eat also. So what? I am a dog owner and lover and since I am that, I will keep my dogs out of countries where they are considered food. I have lived in Taiwan and lost several dogs to thieves who no doubt put them on the table –I was very upset but I am also a pragmatist–We need to grow up and stop thinking of the world just from our own point of view–where food choices and water and shelter are plentiful–where other countries do not get in to invade, bomb or occupy and where, if needed, there are food banks or large areas to farm –every where does not have this. We are not holier than thou–but we most certainly are very self centered as a nation. A lot of food choices started as necessities then evolved into genuine liking. I suspect our disdain and horror at people who eat dogs is equivalent to the Hindu horror of people who eat beef.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:50 am | Reply
      • Tim

        You are wrong queenbee, Just because I live in a developed country with plentiful resources does not mean I am oblivious to the sufferings of mankind and what is right and what is wrong. You can justify their behavior all you want but all your excuses doesn't mean that their behavior is right or just. I have traveled all over this great world and I have seen the poorest of the poor and they weren't eating their pet companions systematically. Dogs and cats have evolved to become our companions over thousands of years. There is nothing justifiedable with eating evovled creatures. Additionally, perhaps you should search the internet and look at the practices and torture at some of these slaughter houses...there is nothing "humane" about it. You should read the article a little closer I don't think a "dog meat festival" equals to survival! Kudos to the animal rights activitsts in their own country that saw the lack of civiility and and stopped it.

        July 1, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  12. Octopants

    Octopi have feelin's!

    July 1, 2011 at 11:40 am | Reply
  13. Best Friend

    I had a dog who saved my family life twice. Once from a House Fire, the dog woke us up barking so we were all able to get out safely. The second time the same dog saved my brother from drowning. We lived on a farm with cows, chickens, cats, etc. and no the chicken's did not save us or the cows... but the family dog! Dogs are really man's best friend. Treat them with respect and love and they will reward you back with the best companionship!

    I just watched a video someone posted above about the dog markets in Koren, Horrible!!! They love to torture before they eat! Very disturbing! People have to stop this. This is no need to eat dog meat. You can get plenty of protein from beans, nuts and seeds, tofu etc. The cows I had on my farm were dairy cows and hen laying chickens. No need to eat meat!

    July 1, 2011 at 11:40 am | Reply
  14. brian

    can we cook PETA up please?

    July 1, 2011 at 11:40 am | Reply
  15. nvsblwmn

    This is a tough one. I would say I would pass on dog. Not because I don't think it is a good meat but that unlike other farm animals dogs tend to show affection when they become accustomed to someone. No matter how much time I spent with the cows or pigs or chickens they never came up to me unless I had food and really didn't want to be touched, where a dog will come up to you just for affection.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:41 am | Reply
  16. DogEatDogWorld

    The problem with the analogy of farm animals or game animals with dogs (also with cats) is that the former animals didn't coevolve with human beings for humanity's social pleasure in addition to survival. For many thousands of years in all parts of the world, humans, dogs, and cats have actually coevolved socially and genetically. Humans have artificially selected and bred dogs and cats so that they have the social qualities that humans desired. Human beings with an affinity for dogs and cats also were more likely to survive and pass on their own genes, meaning that dogs and cats have actually altered the evolution of humanity. In that process, these animals have become "human-like": that is they display social qualities that work in harmony with our own. Most human beings on earth actually have a genetically-biased (inherited, not learned) affinity for these animals, as well (as is readily apparent), due to the positive pressures of natural selection on mankind associated with cohabitation with dogs and cats. We have made our bed, and we must now sleep in it. It should be a taboo, a social stigma, to belittle these animals as food when we have put forth such an effort to make them "human-like". After all, we have these stigmas in place to deter cannabalism. Dogs and cats are part of our extended gentic families, and we are a part of their's.

    I'm not going to claim that this argument is wholely objective because obviously it's not. But coming from the biological perspective of the selfish gene and survival of the species, it does make logical sense in terms of humanity's ingrained/instictual desire to survive, a desire which extends to those we call "family".

    July 1, 2011 at 11:41 am | Reply
    • Leslie

      Thank you! This is what a lot of folks just don't seem to be "getting"–the designation of dogs as companion animals isn't just some fuzzy feeling. It's based on thousands of years of evolution and selective breeding.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:51 am | Reply
  17. Bobdiddle

    I'm sorry but this whole article and subsiquent posts are nothing but a failed attempt to prove that moral relativism is some how a justifiable belief system. If something is wrong with your culture something is wrong with your culture. Moral relativism falls apart so easily.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:41 am | Reply
  18. justfyi

    It's sad how many people here have a superiority complex or try to come off as educated when they clearly aren't. Here are the problems with eating dogs.

    1. Cognitively, yes they're higher developed than a cow. Do some literature and article searches you'll find a lot of research on it. Dogs have the basic cognitive functions of young children, same goes for apes which is why I would also call eating a gorilla perverted.

    2. For those drops out who don't know this, dogs evolved from wolves. They were bred, unintentionally, to exhibit wolf puppy like behavior over a longer period of time. This is why dogs are not aggressive towards humans and act like wolf puppies because essentially, they are juvenile their entire lives. It's like killing a baby.

    3. Dogs have diverse emotions, not just fear responses. They can love just like a child can with all the devotion that comes along with it. Same hormonal responses as mother child bonding.

    4. Dogs are evolved ALONG with us, not for us. Right now a lot of research is being done regarding our own evolution which is highly likely to have succeeded, in contrast to the neanderthal, BECAUSE we word side by side with dogs. Early cave paintings depict people hunting with the HELP of dogs.

    So for us to sit here and make this a cultural debate is irrelevant. This has nothing to do with culture this has to do with a sense of humanity. If you want to go eat a little 3 year old kid and have no problems with it because "meat is meat" hey, I know some great psychiatrists. If you're going to sit here and say every cultural practice should be accepted by the world, think about segregation, child brides, forced prostitution, etc. If you're a vegan, this is not a chance for you to try to guilt trip everyone either, humans are omnivores, don't force it.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:41 am | Reply
    • Leslie

      Thank you! Again, the designation of dogs as companion animals is BIOLOGICAL, not cultural.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:53 am | Reply
  19. Melissa

    When a dog had the personality, intelligence, loyalty, and companionship as it does...I don't, never WILL, understand how a human could hurt, much less, kill a dog and eat it. Like another poster said...that would be like eating a human baby (I would feel nauseous at the thought & severe remorse if I simply ate the meat). I LOVE dogs...LOVE them. They are precious in my eyes, and have the ability to develop a special relationship & bond-I DON'T BELIEVE (my OPNION) that it is a morally right thing to do. I would be severly distraught if I even saw dogs for sale for this means.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:42 am | Reply
  20. Topaz

    These people are worse than barbarians. If allowed, they would even make soup out of human flesh. People in these Southeast Asian countries such as China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Philippines etc. are so nasty and cruel. They won't hesitate to kill anything that is moving and make a meal out it. They have no compassion or respect for other living creatures. For every damn food they attach the fancy adjectives like 'stamina', 'sexual prowess' 'virile'..even with all this these people are not considered as great in bedroom...

    July 1, 2011 at 11:42 am | Reply
    • Sir Denis Nayland-Smith

      "they would even make soup out of human flesh" Really, and you know this how? Calm down and stop raving about the Yellow Peril.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:50 am | Reply
      • Fah Lo Suee

        You will never defeat Doctor Fu Manchu, Mister Nayland-Smith. He is too cunning for you, and by the way, have you seen your dog lately? Ah, ha ha ha!

        July 1, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • ryanzzzz

      Again, more illogical and hypocritical ethnocentrism. Perhaps you are the barbarian – you know, for living in a country that slaughters 100s of millions of animals in their own backyard while being ignorant to it), not to mention invades and bombs others who don't agree with it.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:51 am | Reply
    • KH

      I would rather see dogs being killed for food in Asia than dogs being tortured and killed in the US.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Reply
    • KH

      I would rather see dogs being killed for food in Asia than dogs being tortured and killed just out of sheer joy in the US.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Reply
  21. readyforchrist

    Oh my gosh.ever heard of mans best friend!!!! This just makes me sick!!! A dog is a loyal pet and to some a family member and to suggest such a thing is so so wrong!!!! That just goes to show that there are alot of sick people in this world..We were given fish and foul to eat and pigs and cows..but dogs are trainable loyal and loving animals..So glad it did not take place I am so glad for the animal rights activist!!! That picture is heartbreaking!

    July 1, 2011 at 11:42 am | Reply
  22. Grim Reaper

    Feed the Chinese and Koreans to the pigs

    July 1, 2011 at 11:43 am | Reply
  23. Mary

    You know, I can understand this barbaric atrocity if people were starving, but to have a festival to promote it as a celebration of nutrition is inexcusable. I've noticed its the same countries (Japan, China, Korea, Singapore) over and over again who commit these acts against the animal kingdom. And no one speaks up about it...some weird little cultural thing I guess about criticizing their own. But to butcher a domesticated animal as its probably wagging its tail at you is beyond vile and disgusting, just like the ones who commit this act. May the ones who do this be reborn as a "nutricious" alternative to beef in their next lives. Disgusting.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:44 am | Reply
  24. Deanna

    PS: to the idiots slamming the Chinese - PLEASE READ THE DANG ARTICLE! Chinese animal lovers STOPPED the KOREAN Dog Farmers. Koreans are the bad guys here folks. Figure it out.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:44 am | Reply
  25. Leonard

    I eat my girlfriends hair pie and thats human. So I guess humans do eat eachother.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:44 am | Reply
    • SHRIKE

      Good point. Although, she does have that weird citrusy flavor. What's up with that?

      July 1, 2011 at 11:52 am | Reply
    • Mr. Fabulous

      You naughty boy, you!

      July 1, 2011 at 11:54 am | Reply
  26. polarbear

    I am officially a vegie now. Eating dogs, humans, rats, pigs, lamb, cattle, chickens, turkeys, deer....that's it.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:44 am | Reply
  27. Rediculous story

    Joe above has it right. This story is for nothing but eliciting a response. Might as well be posted on Yahoo instead of CNN.

    As the the difference between eating dogs or cows. Dogs were domesticated to help humans. Most cultures used dogs in one way or another as workers. Studies have been performed that show even a wild fox will produce young which become easily domesticated in 1 generation. The dog fully relies on humans now to survive. I know I am a dog lover, but to turn all that evolution around and start eating the animal which we intentionally domesticated to help us seems very wrong.

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

    Finally

    I like dags too,but they would eat me if given the chance.Ill eat anything that would bite me first

    July 1, 2011 at 11:45 am | Reply
    • Karen

      I already can see the dogs plotting against you: "Hey Fido, hey Rex. Tonight is the night. We're gonna have guest for dinner".

      July 1, 2011 at 11:59 am | Reply
    • Mr. Fabulous

      Good point. Dogs may have eaten more of us than we have of them in the long run.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Reply
  29. Karen

    So the chinese feel now they are entitled to grade dogs as "low" or "junk". Maybe because they're the #1 in low paying jobs or junk products.
    Poor dogs.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:46 am | Reply
  30. Tom

    I ate dog once in China. We were walking down a street past a street vendor and I just was really a spontaneous decision, more out of curiousity than anything. If I had thought about, I wouldn't have, because I guess I do think it is wrong, and not just because we don't do it in America. Dog's have been domesticated for 15,000 years. Dogs serve many important roles, other than food, for man. Hunting, herding, security, companionship. Dogs risk their lives for man in police and armed forces across the globe. They serve as aids to handicapped people, and serve as companions to people who can't leave their homes or hospitals. What other animal serves humans as selflessly as dogs do? I think dogs have EARNED their right to be protected by humans just as they protect humans.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:46 am | Reply
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