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. D

    I would throw YOU in the BBQ before you put a stinking finger on my pooch!!

    July 1, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  2. Chach

    You are clearly ignorant on this subject. "Long before" western countries began domesticating......blah blah.....you say? Prove it. There is evidence of dogs being domesticated long before humans even made it out of Africa, let alone as far as Asia. Dogs have been hanging around with humans since the stone age you nitwit. And the dogs they eat in Korea do NOT resemble wolves at all, other than being canines. They actually look much more like a Bull Mastiff than anything else. They're big, (waste high or bigger) and shorthaired, like a greyhound. I should know, I've seen them in pens in Korea. Get your facts straight.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  3. Yummy

    This is driving me doggone crazy...
    What I like about dog;
    Doggie style
    You can't teach an old dog new tricks
    Barking up the wrong tree
    Bark like a dog (or squeal like a pig)

    July 1, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Reply

    The human for 10,000 years was bred to be a vegetarian "gatherer" before become "hunters" and meat eaters. Our dental & digestive system was not genetically built for meat eating which results in multiple health hazards. Also, we are the only mammals that drink another mammals milk ... disgusting.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Reply
  5. ATLDoogie

    Why would you kill another living being so you can have a few minutes of enjoyment? Seems terribly self-centered and mean to me.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Reply
  6. DONE

    CNN, you will do anything for ratings you piece of subhuman filth. I hate you. This is disgusting. You are FILTH!!!!

    July 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Reply



      July 1, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Reply
  7. Samurai

    Koreans are considered the Jews of Asia. Very bad people who only care about wealth and personal gain. If I had my way my samurai sword would drown in their blood.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Reply
    • Ken

      If you had a samurai sword, your mom would make you put it away. The sword of the samurai is the soul of the samurai.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Reply
    • Stanford

      Let me state a fact Japan invaded Korea, made them slaves. They moved on to China, Philippines, and conquered almost 3/4 of the South Pacifc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korea_under_Japanese_rule Koreans are still evil?

      July 1, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Reply
    • Dog

      I'm betting Koreans rather be jews than a jap nazi...Just because you got your ass beat by a few koreans it shouldnt drive your puny brain to blame them for your failures. samurai sword my ass as well. i bet you couldnt wield one to save your pathetic life.

      July 1, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Reply
  8. Brian

    Everyday 16,000 children die from starvation, and starvation related illnesses. 925 million people go hungry everyday. 1.4 billion people live in extreme poverty. While you sit in your office sipping your coffee, thinking about your 4th of July weekend and about poor scruffy, why don't you for a second think about putting a human life or a child's life ahead of an animals, and realize that often at times this is what you have to do to survive. (And I am a dog owner).

    July 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Reply
    • urgentattentionnow

      Thanks Brian for having the stones to say what needed to be said...100% agreed.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  9. Elisa

    Emily Lodish you are ignorant and foolish to write such an article. Dogs are more than companions. They are athletes, military (hello Osama bin Laden special forces), police, drug-sniffing, bomb sniffing, human survivor sniffing (tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis), their value is priceless – are you as valuable to society? from your article I suspect absolutely not. Please spare us from your toxic opinions.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Reply
    • Stanford

      Wow, aren't you the smart one. She's a reporter, she's stating a fact. She isn't adding her idea the article. No where in the article does it say it is right or wrong to eat dogs.

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

        You all need to learn how to read. There is a clear opinion. She is no veteran reporter. Your responses show a lack of maturity that I will not waste my intelligence on. Good luck you will both need it.

        July 1, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Gaspode the Talking Dog

      Wow, are you nuts? The author isn't eating a dog, or saying we ought to eat dogs. She pointing out that, although it's considered normal in Korea, opinion is changing and dog meat is becoming less popular. You want to attack the messenger for saying 'hey, good news from korea, less dog being eaten this year?'

      July 1, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Reply
  10. Reality Check

    They tried banning horse slaughter in the US and succeeded. I'm sure the animal rights folks are extremely proud. Unfortunately, they should be ashamed for what they have done to the horses. First. Horse slaughter has only ceased in the US. They are still sold at auctions then trucked out of country for slaughter. If there's not an auction in the area, many are simply shot and pushed in a hole. Others are left on pasture....if that's an option....without vet care until they die. Then there are those who can't get rid of them, even for free, and then take them on a trail ride with other horses into national/state/local parks. They arrive with 4 horses and leave with 2. The other 2 are turned loose to run free.

    The horse market is like the housing market. People can't get rid of what they've got so they can't buy what they want/need. People in the horse industry are going out of business, and the horses are still being destroyed, abused, neglected, and turned loose like stray dogs. I guarantee you the ban on eating dogs would result in a similar situation. Are you going to pat yourselves on the back when it comes to fruition and tell yourself "I did good"?

    July 1, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Reply
  11. Paul

    Interest group forcing others to fall in line, while claiming they respect all, the contradictions of the Animal rights list is to long for them to tell what people should and should not do.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Reply
  12. Snoop Dogg

    Snoop dogg doesnt approve of this. Fo shizzle

    July 1, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Reply
  13. dirty gook

    All gooks that eat dog must fucking hang

    July 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Reply
    • Dog

      hillbilly hokie

      July 1, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Reply
    • Gaspode the Talking Dog

      I'll make an exception and allow you to eat me.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Reply
  14. Dog

    Dogs were domesticated through eating them and using their furs THOUSANDS of years ago in guess what, ASIA. They were the cows and oxen back then and pulled the weight for the humans, such as Huskies with Inuits.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Reply
  15. Alex

    the arrogance of mankind will certainly be our downfall

    July 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Reply

      AGREE 100000000000000000000000X

      July 1, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Reply
  16. meg

    "just because we don't do it the U.S. doesn't mean it's wrong"? geez talk about cultural relativism. The reason we don't do some things, like eat dog meat in the U.S. is because it's wrong. There are pets, livestock, and wildlife....lets not confuse them.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Reply
    • Defakto

      Fair point, but what constitutes a pet versus livestock IS a cultural issue.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Reply
  17. Joe

    What bothers me more than eating dogs, are the countries like China where they beat the dog or cat senseless before preparing them, boiling, then skinning them alive. There's no reason for it... slaughter them like a cow. Why would anyone want to eat something that licks its butt every 10 minutes?

    July 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Reply
    • Joe S

      Before the dog is killed it is beaten and tortured in order to raise the dogs adrenalin level. They believe that eating the dog when it is killed with an elevated adrenalin level gives you strength. So they are not eating dog for sustenance, they are beating them and eating them because of their false beliefs. Its very sick.

      July 1, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Reply
  18. bryanmark

    We're very closed minded as a culture, and lazy as a people. The only reason the cow is our main meat staple is because they don't run away; the only reason chickens are our main poultry is because they can't fly. They are by far NOT the most tasty meat available.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Reply
    • German Shepherd

      So, are you going to start farming something tasty and extremely hard to raise? How would you make money on it? Bryan's Kentucky Fried Pheasant Parts? Okapi burgers? Warthog bacon? It's an interesting point, but yeah, we raise cows and chickens because they have the most meat for the least investment. High-return investments are usually best, but you probably aren't into business stuff.

      July 1, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Reply
  19. Nuclear Threat

    To most Americans eating dogs & cats is just wrong period, we view them as pets even part of the family, but I'm sure some of the animals we do consume here are wrong to ppl of other countries. It's a cultural thing existing for many generations before. I've seen pictures online recently of dogs hanging from hooks bloody and being skinned. To be honest I wish some of these Asian countries shared our views of dogs & cats, the picture (above) of the dog being lead away does affect me. When you break it down however all are animals and God gave them to us so we could slaughter, eat and survive. For any animal I'm in favor of killing it as humanely and quickly as possible, as well as treating them w/ care beforehand b/c all life should be respected whether it's to end up on your dinner plate or not.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Reply
  20. Defakto

    To eat or not to eat any animal is purely a societal and/or religious limitation.

    Cases in point:

    1.) Dogs are not the smartest animals. Pigs are far smarter than most dogs but we do eat pig. So it's not an issue of intelligence. People do maintain pigs as pets, and love them just as much as their dog.
    2.) Other animals are just as domesticated towards humans as dogs. How often do you hear of cows brutally assaulting a farmer? Is it unfair to the cow, born and bred to be docile, to be killed an eaten? Maybe, maybe not.
    3.) Religions define and dictate what is acceptable. Do you think a Hindu could ever support our eating of cows? An orthodox jew in regards to eating pork or shellfish?

    Dogs are companion animals, we love them, many people do, they have been bred over the years to serve and support us. Lets be honest though. They are truly just another form of meat that has the ability to nourish and feed the human body. Albeit, one that is close and important to us.

    Don't get me wrong. I love my dog, I could only kill her for meat in the most dire of situations but, in the long run, a selfish species is a species that survives and propagates.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Reply
    • German Shepherd

      How often do you hear of cows brutally assaulting a farmer? Man, you'd be surprised. All it has to do is step on you, or bolt suddenly and crush you against a wall.

      July 1, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Reply
      • Defakto

        Yet, a roaming pack of starving dogs will gladly, and quickly kill and eat a human.

        July 1, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  21. Daniel

    Uh...cuz it's not kosher. Duh. Same reason we don't eat lobster, horses, or insects.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Reply


      July 1, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Reply
      • Then again

        We were physically equipped to eat meat and include it in our diet. A personal choice to exclude it does not mean it's not of value and does not have a place on the plate next to the taters. There are places in the world where meat/fish/poultry are a necessity because of the lack of vegetation, so the argument against "needing" to eat meat is invalid because in those areas it is a necessity.

        July 1, 2011 at 1:12 pm |

        @Then again
        If there's no vegetation is some places (very few places, almost everywhere there's vegetation) why wouldn't humans move to live to a vegetated area? It's like saying humans don't need vegetation either to survive, that's dumb.

        July 1, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • German Shepherd

      Duh, if you killed every animal and cut down every tree and made the entire world into fields, there still wouldn't be enough room to grow enough veggies to feed all the humans. Vegetables aren't efficient compared to protein intake, and also I don't like veg stuff any more than you like raw meat. Don't eat stuff you don't like, that's my motto.

      July 1, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Reply

        Then you favor cannibalism right?

        July 1, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  22. Informer

    As long as humans are not violating the human rights of others we should not be so quick to condemn them. Some people feel the thought of two men having sex with each other is disgusting. Some people think that eating dogs is disgusting. Some people thing eating pork is disgusting. Some people think eating beef is disgusting. Some people are vegeterians. Some people are vegetarians who still eat fish. Some people think all animals have a right to life. Some people I know actually relocate black widow spiders instead of killing them. Some people don't think lab animals for medical research is ethical. People think all of these things UNTIL, their son is gay, or they marry a muslim, or they find themselves poor(not American poor, but real poor), or a black widow makes their child sick, or they get malaria from a mosquito who had the right to life, or they are suffering from a disease where some lab animal's life was sacrificed for their cure. Why are we such hypocrites? Let's get human rights established first before we condemn others for not having our own beliefs.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Reply

      Insects don't feel pain in any relative way as do mammals, so your insect argument about relocating a black widow it's just dumb.

      July 1, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Reply
      • j man

        OMG. Do i really have to comment on your dumb ass again. Of course insects feel pain you fucking retard as does every other common living being on earth.

        July 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm |

        @j man I can assure you they don't, only mammals do. You can check on wikipedia or elsewhere, look it up as 'insect', they don't have the same neurological structure as mammals do.

        Regardless of this, I didn't mean it's right to intentionally kill them, if possible, then relocate the black widow or the most poisonous living being on the planet which its a jelly fish species, if not, then I don't consider wrong you try to survive 😉

        July 1, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
      • German Shepherd

        j, that's correct; they avoid unpleasant stimuli but 'pain' isn't really the word for it. Spiders routinely break off the ends of their legs as they walk and don't care.

        July 1, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  23. closetiguana

    Consuming meat is cultural. In India the cow is sacred and they wouldn't dare eatting it. Jews and Muslims don't eat pigs.
    We don't eat dogs. Who's right?

    July 1, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Reply
  24. JJ

    Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.......THIS RIPS MY HEART OUT!!!!! I love dogs...this SUCKS!!!

    July 1, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Reply
  25. KM

    The fact is that dogs (unlike cows, chickens and other animals we slaughter) are social animals who have been selectively bred for hundreds of years to attend to human beings. The cultural debate is actually irrelevant–no matter what region of the world you are from, it is inhumane and unnatural to keep these animals cooped up, and then sent to slaugher.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Reply
    • Corey

      You are obviously blinded by your belief. Just the way we breed chickens, cows, ect. that's the way they breed dogs. Pigs are social animals and some experts think they are smarter than dogs. Look I love dogs to. But it is not our place to tell the rest of the world how to live. Until they are part of the U.S.A. leave them alone and expect that they return the favor.

      July 1, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Reply
  26. RaeD

    We have a ridiculous notion in this country that our way is the only way yet we are a small percentage of the earth's human population. As a species we ignore numerous sources of food even in countries where the people are starving. We have evolved into a society of picky eaters who would rather gorge ourselves on fattening garbage via drive-thru than on quality food. Then we ignorantly decide we have the right to dictate to the rest of the world what is acceptable for human consumption.

    Of course, we should add to the mix the fact we have a large ignorant section of the population who refuse to accept responsibility for pets creating an over population of cats and dogs but cry foul if anyone puts down healthy animals due to overcrowding and lack of funding.

    The perfect solution to the problem is we stop telling the rest of the world what is acceptable for human consumption. Then we offer aid to those countries, many of whom have starvation issues, by emptying the shelter and gathering up the feral strays and exporting them. We assist in their food storage problems as well as our own animal population problem.

    Of course, many will cry foul but they refuse to stand behind their words and want to protest while expecting someone else to fix the problem. Their voices should fall on deaf ears and largely by ignored in fairness to mankind as a whole since generally they are the problem and not the solution anyway.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Reply
  27. Jacob Y

    Why is one meat okay to eat and another "morally wrong?"

    July 1, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Reply


      July 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Reply
      • RangerDOS

        Dog is better tasting than cat or hourse, but hey, if we were on a life boat for week with out food I'd probably eat you IBH!

        July 1, 2011 at 1:19 pm |

        @RangerDOS Hope you don't eat your mother if you're on the boat situation with her... 😉

        July 1, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Bruce

      When eating meat is obviously going to upset the vast majority of people who witness you eating that meat (as is the case with dogs and most people in the United States) it is wrong because you are deliberately causing them to have negative emotional reactions when you are free to do otherwise. It is equally wrong to eat beef in front of a hardcore vegan and rub their face in it for the purposes of making them angry.

      If you want to eat a dog, go eat your dog in private and S+FU about it. Don't go rubbing it in someone's face when you know ahead of time they are going to get angry and/or sad, because that's just being cruel to them.

      Eating a dog is not doing wrong by the dog–it's doing wrong by your fellow man. That makes it unethical and thus immoral.

      July 1, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Reply
  28. bob

    I eat dog. A lot. Mostly puppies. Generally they are strays. Unless I am really hungary.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Reply
    • Dog Lover

      you're from Hungary?

      July 1, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Reply
  29. Yummy

    I Bet you Dollars to Hot dog, if you open a Korean Dog franchise and IPO it on the NASDAQ, the biggest buyers will be Western Capitalists. When it comes to a "Buck" (Not Bambi) dog meat taste good.

    For all you hypocrites, go examine your portfolio and see what some of the companies you invest in do compare to eating dogs.

    July 1, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Reply
  30. Tevii

    Im a dog lover I would not eat dog. However I have no problem with others doing so. It is a personal choice on my part not to. Humans are OMNIVORES we EAT MEAT.
    However I DO have a MAJOR problem with the "farms" that TORTURE these dogs to get the adrenaline flowing because it SUPPOSEDLY adds to the flavor.

    July 1, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Reply


      July 1, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Reply
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