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.

Post by:
Topics: China • Culture • East Asia

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soundoff (2,498 Responses)
  1. Pray for the Dogs

    Please pray for the souls of the dogs who are to die. Pray that humanity emerges in the hearts of all.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:49 am | Reply
    • The Jackdaw

      I'm not even convinced that humans have souls and you are trying to tell me that dogs do? Hey, i'm an animal lover, but I knew that All Dogs Go To Heaven was BS when I was 7!

      July 1, 2011 at 9:50 am | Reply
      • DoritosMan

        You bite your tongue! That movie is true and has been accepted as cannon by the church.

        July 1, 2011 at 9:53 am |
      • The Jackdaw

        If the Pope declaired that dogs have souls, would God have to give them souls?

        July 1, 2011 at 9:54 am |
      • DoritosMan

        Whatever the pope says God has to do. It's in his contract.

        July 1, 2011 at 9:56 am |
      • Alex

        I am more likely to believe dogs have souls than humans.

        July 1, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
      • Moral Relativist

        I've heard that Jesus would eat dog, at least when he was hungry enough.

        July 1, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • God's Dog

      Jack, they let dogs in but not people.

      July 1, 2011 at 9:54 am | Reply
      • The Jackdaw

        I'm fine with that actually. Humans tend to suck.

        July 1, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • D

      Humans are the only animals that have souls retard!

      July 1, 2011 at 10:12 am | Reply
      • The Jackdaw

        Yes, that indefinable, non-corporeal, characteristic free accoutrement that cannot be proven to exist which humans concern themselves with all their lives so that it can go to an indefinable, non-corporeal, characteristic free place that cannot be proven to exist. Yes, humans are the only ones to have those.

        Enjoy your dog meat.

        July 1, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Tortured Dog

      All the tortured souls of the dogs and cats will be waiting for those tortured and kill the animals. We are all here on earth for a brief time. But hell in the afterlife can last an eternity. They will be waiting for them.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Reply
  2. steve

    They our loving, loyal and the only friend that wont leave your side when you are feeling down. They think more of you then they would ever think of them selves. Dogs our not dumb. They our very sensitive creatures with feeling and emotions. Iv had A dog in my house hold ever since I got married and Iv come to see first hand how caring loving and wonderful they our.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:49 am | Reply
  3. nodat1

    that explains it last winter my dog ran away I was looking for him and I asked my neighbor, a real good friendly family from South Korea if they seen my dog they said no but their was something cooking in the kitchen that smelled good.... o' wait they invited me to dinner, did I eat........................ ???????????

    July 1, 2011 at 9:49 am | Reply
    • Garfield

      So you think they may have wok'ed your dog?

      July 1, 2011 at 9:55 am | Reply
  4. Kristi Buckley

    What a stupid, insensitive article. People in other countries turn their head to marrying children, rape, sex slaves etc. That doesn't make it alright.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:49 am | Reply
  5. Guest

    Cows are revered in India, but we love our burgers. I'm a dog lover but the writer has a point about different cultures, different tastes.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:49 am | Reply
  6. Jawbone44

    Oh for Pete's sake! The only thing worse than this inane article is is the comentary that follows. Why are you people trying to rationalize this subject? Sometimes the simple answer is the best one. Dogs are pets, not food. There, see how simple that was? No explanation needed. And it's not just a cultural thing either. This is a trait that is shared over all of humanity. So the next time this stupid question gets thrown out there by some hack journalist who is trying to justify her own job, just answer "Dogs are pets, not food."

    July 1, 2011 at 9:50 am | Reply
    • DoritosMan

      Tasty pets.

      July 1, 2011 at 9:51 am | Reply
    • Bob

      Sometimes it must be really nice to be so simple-minded.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:28 am | Reply
    • Mike

      Except . . . not all cultures see dogs as pets.

      Sorry, but again, a very US/Euro-centric view of the world. In fact, some cultures consider dogs "unclean". So, please, don't apply US cultural norms to the rest of the world. It's really counterproductive.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:31 am | Reply
  7. DoritosMan

    God just reading this article makes me hungry. That pup in the title picture just looks so tender.

    But seriously, I am a little curious as to what it would taste like. So why you have a dog as a pet, you could have a chicken or pig as a pet too and have no problem killing them to throw on the grill. Why not a dog?

    It's similar to people who say eating horse is inhumane. Tell me again why exactly other than "ooh but it's cute so we can't eat it". Why not?

    July 1, 2011 at 9:50 am | Reply
  8. Jen

    Honestly, unless you are vegetarian, I think it’s hypocritical to object to eating dog meat. I think it’s disgusting and morally reprehensible, but, then, I’m vegan.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:52 am | Reply
  9. foreverwar

    I guess all the jokes about what they are actually serving you at the buffet table in Chinese restaurants are not really jokes.....oh well, at least it tasted like chicken.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:52 am | Reply
    • jevans

      Go eat some twigs, nuts, and berries and shut up.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:27 am | Reply
    • Traveling Tsar

      I guess you haven't savored fondue of freshly-born live mice.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Reply
  10. Elizabeth

    The problem with eating dog is that humans have shaped the dog's evolution through selective breeding over the course of millenia to work alongside humans and to be our companions. These are not animals we have domesticated to be food animals, such as cows and pigs. Dogs exist as they currently do because *we* made them. We bred them to be our loyal friends and helpers. In turn, they trust us to care for them, because we have bred out their ability to fend for themselves in the wild. Eating them is a betrayal of that trust. Dogs are not "just another animal." The dog species has a special relationship to the human species unlike any other animal. We made them. We owe them better than this.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:52 am | Reply
    • JohnOBX

      Best reply so far.
      Our revulsion to eating dog meat is similar to the revulsion we feel over slaughtering dolphins and whales. Intelligent animals that have a special relationship with humans.
      Now cats on the other hand... (just kidding)

      July 1, 2011 at 9:57 am | Reply
  11. Garfield

    This is a great idea! Dogs are tasty and nutritious.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:53 am | Reply
  12. Indwangu

    Mmmm....poodle, the other white meat.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:53 am | Reply
    • Garfield

      Cat meat gives you cancer.

      July 1, 2011 at 9:54 am | Reply
      • nodat1

        eating "strange cat" will get you in trouble if your caught!!!!!!

        July 1, 2011 at 9:58 am |
      • jevans

        didnt anyone tell you eating strange pu**y can lead to diseases?

        July 1, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  13. Don

    I've often wondered if the way an animal (cow, pig, chicken, etc.) was killed affects the taste or nutrition of its meat later, but I'd always assumed that an animal killed humanely would yield better meat then one that was tortured or killed while terrified.

    But when money is involved, people get desensitized to that aspect, and abuses and crimes happen. It's a shame, but it demonstrates that in the end, we humans have a much higher opinion of ourselves than we should.

    And let's hear it for the lowly pig! As smart as dogs, but they're not as cute so we don't even think twice when we eat bacon, pork chops or ham.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:54 am | Reply
    • ficklemookie

      You are right Don. What an animal eats and how it's treated and the state it was in before it died, does affect how the meat tastes.

      July 1, 2011 at 9:55 am | Reply
    • In your Facebook

      What about doing your own slaughtering?

      July 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Reply
  14. ficklemookie

    Oh yes.. Please, let's ban all meat for consumption... Let's let all those animals run free and just eat and breed and multiply all they want.. Let's compete with them for food because, how dare we eat them!

    I'm more than okay with eating animals. However, I do draw the line at eating animals that are widely and popularly considered companions. Yes, some people have pet goats and cows.. Some people have pet chickens and pigs, but they're not widely considered compnaion animals the way horses cat and dogs are.

    Yes the Indians believe cows to be sacred, but they they also don't keep them as pets. It's part of their religion not to eat a cow not because they find some emotional companionship with it. Muslims and Jews don't eat pigs but, again, that's for relgious reasons not because they find companionship in the animal.

    I get that other cultures eat dogs and cats.. and I'll continue to be grossed out by it.. But I also won't march over there and make them think the way I do. If their own culture wants to change their mind and stop the practice of eating fido, then let them make that cultural shift internally. It's not the same as human cruelty. No matter what anyone says, animals and humans are not equals.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:54 am | Reply
    • Christy B

      I always marvel when people say well, animals aren't humans–like some difference in intelligence or, maybe, the lack of an opposable thumb makes ANYTHING–any cruelty, any treatment, anything at all–ok. It IS the same as human cruelty, once you recognize that suffering is suffering. We debase ourselves as human beings when we blithely allow suffering in the name of our own pleasure. The grace of being human is to have consciousness about what we do, and its effect on others (human and otherwise), and choose humaneness. Simply deciding that, because it happens out of our sight, we are off the hook, isn't good enough. If you witnessed a person abusing a dog, I presume that you–as a decent person–would stop them; why is it different when the abuse is out of your sight? You are a decent person, so mustn't you act? Speak?

      July 1, 2011 at 10:08 am | Reply
    • From India.

      No. in India , cow is not just seen as a cattle, but it is seen more than a pet, just like another person in the home. You can see this in Indian villages still. Also since cows are raised in house backyards the added attachment, when the child is given milk taken from the cow. It is seen with a motherly attachment, because we drink its milk. I have my self seen cows showing back the love to humans just like dogs. In America peope cannot understand this,since I belive cows are in Ranches, and people dont have a personal attachment. In Indian villages each cow will have a name and when you call by name they respond. I am in America for job now and have also gone to Israel. In Israel farms , the just born calfs were separaed from mother cows, it is such an cruel act from my perspective. I have seen how much love the calf shows to its mother and vice versa, just like humans. But we don't advice others, it is your own belief and culture. Atleast let us not be cruel to fellow Humans , that is common in all culture. I love both America and Israel I hope I have not offended you.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Reply
      • Mycology

        Israel & India are good friends, we love you too 🙂

        July 3, 2011 at 7:11 am |
  15. AG

    @Author, Because you contradicted yourself by using that photo. The civilian sting against the dog meat transport in china (featured at the top of the article) rescued hundreds of dogs.....many of whom still had collars on and were not of the "junk dog" breed. They were peoples pets, house dogs, family. Your not supporting some loser hipsteresque trend, your supporting an industry run by criminals, thieves and homewreckers. I'd love to knock some sense into you, but you'd probably run away like the obsessive counter-culturist you are.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:55 am | Reply
  16. megan

    is this a joke? what kind of idiot would ask if it is wrong to eat a dog?? Have you ever met a dog, Emily? They are completely unique in the animal world...they seek and thrive on human affection. They reflect the best in us. Loving, forgiving, funny, open, and willing to do anything for love from those they consider their family... Why not eat homeless people, or unwanted babies?? Why not punt bunnies. This is a fractured world filled with so many problems, can't we as a people agree that, at least, it's wrong to eat friggin dogs??

    July 1, 2011 at 9:55 am | Reply
    • Som

      Megan did your ever got bitten by a dog. I think not, if it would have happened you would have known by now that they don't always " thrive on human affection"

      July 1, 2011 at 9:58 am | Reply
  17. WhoCares

    This article is shit. The author a moron.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:55 am | Reply
  18. Som

    Just because some guys like to have dogs as companions dosen't mean the rest of the world should also feel so. In India they pray to cows, but in the most of the other parts people eat them. If eating dogs make koreans distinusting, then what about the people who eat cows or any other animal. Non-vegetarians have no right to comment on this topic. How are dogs different from other living things.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:56 am | Reply
    • DP

      If it's my personal choice to eat humans, is that alright?
      It could be my "culture", afterall.
      Let them eat cats instead.

      July 1, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Reply
      • Aaron

        Yes, please. Eat 'em all up!

        July 1, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  19. Emily

    People have pot belly pigs for pets but don't hesitate to eat bacon or a hot dog at an all American BBQ! Look...animals are animals and people are people. Jesus sat and ate with others and lamb was an item frequently on the menu. The animals of the air and beasts of the land were given for us to eat if you've ever read the bible. Is Jesus a disgusting meat eater?!!! Please....Jesus is perfect. Why not respect what you eat. If you choose for it to be your friend, then so be it. If you choose for it to be your dinner, then so be it. That is life!!!

    July 1, 2011 at 9:57 am | Reply
  20. ~n

    STOP THEM NOW! This is so wrong one does not know where to start. How many times dogs have saved human lives and so we turn around and eat them - no good deed goes unpunished? They are emotional, loving and loyal when given even half a chance. That is one heck of a lot more then can be said about a whole slew or people I know! What's next - abortions on our dinner table?

    July 1, 2011 at 9:57 am | Reply
    • Steve

      Someone should stop you now... from breathing!

      July 1, 2011 at 10:06 am | Reply
  21. CNNRDR

    Dogs were human's creation. We domesticated them thousands of years ago and made them our pets. You don't eat pets.
    Dogs are trusting and obedient creatures, not meant for food. Asia has a horrible track record of animal cruetly and disregard for animal in general (eating whale/dolphin, endangered animal parts like tiger, gorilla parts....the ivory trade, etc). I am not surprised.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:57 am | Reply
    • Jacobi

      We domesticated cows, sheep, pigs, and cattle yet we eat those. People have the right to eat what they want (horses, cat, donkey, dogs). It is egotistical of you to judge people because they eat something you find lovable.

      July 3, 2011 at 12:51 am | Reply
  22. Kevin Pflaum

    We don't eat dog because dogs make special connections with humans to the point that dogs are more than just 'dogs' to a lot of people. End of story. Eating a dog would be like eating a family member for me. And in that sense, I don't have any right to end the life of a family member for the purpose of a meal.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:58 am | Reply
  23. ParisHilton

    Next they'll be sayin' nobody can eat pussy. Boo Hoo.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:58 am | Reply
  24. lando plenty

    If it were North Korea it would be more understandable. they are starved by their oppressors, and would likely eat the as,s end of a skunk. but you would think the south would be more evolved.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:59 am | Reply
  25. Hotdog

    A few weeks ago I got, hungry and ate my dog and then I wasn't hungry anymore 😀

    July 1, 2011 at 9:59 am | Reply
  26. John T

    Dog meat was a favorite meal for the Lewis and Clark expedition. But when they tried to trade for dogs to eat with the Nez Perz Indians the Indians thought that the white men were barbaric. If you do not believe me look it up in the journals of the expedition.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:59 am | Reply
  27. Ron

    Lets face the facts, many cultures and countries eat dog and other types of animals or rodents. They breed often and in large numbers, grow up quickly and are available for consumption quickly.
    I think the major revulsion many Americans have to eating dog is simply, in the U.S. and in other countries, dogs are pets, nigh on to becoming family members. It's been a fact though out history to some, they're pets, to others they're a food source.
    Personally, I wouldn't eat dog because I have the emotional attachment to them as pets but regardless of how I feel, to some peoples, their food.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:59 am | Reply
  28. bigred

    Why do Asians have this thing about eating dogs and cats? I know it is a cultural thing, but it just seems like there is a better way to get protein then eating your best friend.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:59 am | Reply
    • Ron

      Honestly? because they, the animals, are not seen as "your friend."

      July 1, 2011 at 10:40 am | Reply
    • Jacobi

      "Man's best friend' is a western concept for dogs, not everyone in the world considers then that.

      July 3, 2011 at 12:56 am | Reply
  29. kilcourtney

    I laugh at all you fools, India, whose culture has been around for thousands of years longer than ours hold cows sacred. That is there dog, but you don't complain about beef when you're feeding your fat faces, do you? I personally love dogs but not all cultures are the same, and no animal is more important than the other, just cause you want one sitting on your lonley disfunctional lap.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:59 am | Reply
  30. Jess C

    I find this to be very sickening, especially the comment about how dog meat "helps stamina". This seems to be the excuse to consume things like seahorses and shark fins as well. Some cultural rituals should stay in the past. Raise farm animals to eat if you must east meat. Eating a dog is disgusting period. I'd rather see them cannibalize themselves which serves two purposes....they get their protein and they help with over population....a win/win solution for all.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:59 am | Reply
    • queenbee

      "..raise farm animals to eat" You DO KNOW.. that farm animals are ANY animal that is routinely raised on a farm? So ...if Koreans raise dogs to eat on dog farms...they ARE raising farm animals. THINKING - a dying art.

      July 2, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Reply
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