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. kk

    If we can kill and eat cows which give us milk, wats wrong in eating dogs?

    July 1, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Reply
  2. stanchman

    I've always thought a solution to control stray cats and dogs is to export them to Asia. There has to be money in it.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Reply
  3. Joe

    Are all of you so dumb as to think it's really a cultural difference?

    Let's not forget, since WWII ended, South Korea is the one Asian nation that is closest to the USA than any other. Why? Because America and Russia liberated Korea from the Japanese Empire. Thus, you got North Korea; communist nation. South Korea, democracy and practically the same thing as USA except the Korean version.

    Cultural difference? A LOT of people in Korea have dogs as pets. A LOT. In fact, there's more labor work in Korea as there's more rural land percentage than America and these places have dogs as pets as well. Well, their dogs would also help them out.

    Koreans treat dogs exactly like Americans do. There's no difference. You act like South Korea is some 3rd world country when majority of the products America consumes (mostly electronics) are being made from Japan, China and Korea. You see huskies, rottweilers, german shepherds, etc. All are there.

    Even the majority of Korea has never tried dog meat. But everyone knows what it is. And before you start thinking if it is humane to eat dogs because we bred them to be domesticated; think this...
    We humans genetically altered dogs SO MUCH and through overbreeding, dogs suffer certain disorders/diseases and the like. And due to the fact that we forcefully evolved and genetically altered the DNA of dogs to evolve in certain ways, EVERYTHING about dogs are the way they are now.

    Some of these very same people will say that Pitbulls are not domesticated and they are instinctively violent. That is not true. Pitbulls are cute and beautiful dogs as long as you raise them right. As for the other sense, if a dog is raised from birth to be a cold-blooded killer, he will not bring a ball to you to play with. He will not act cute to get attention. The act of domesticating an animal is to tame it and train it yourself. It doesn't COME domesticated just because it was genetically predisposed to having emotions. Most mammals you know of have emotions. Get over it.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  4. marK

    this emily lodish (the author) certainly isnt very smart. her writing just flat out blows. how did she get to write for cnn? maybe its more than her writing that blows?

    July 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Reply
    • Mr. Fabulous

      Who did you blow in order to get to post that, fella? READ the article, she is not saying we must all go eat a dog. Are you in the third grade or something? Do you know ten times as much as she does about dog-eating? She found out about this, did some research, wrote an article. Would you even know about this otherwise?

      July 1, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  5. Ana

    Desperation, starvation, and the desire to survive are not the circumstances that are being discussed in this article. What is being discussed is a celebration; discussion of what (and whom) a living being will eat when they have no choice is not appropriate here.

    That said, human beings have a clear-cut moral responsibility to the dog, and perhaps also the horse.
    The loyal dog, who has loved and protected us since we slept in caves, should be granted a place of
    honor in our hearts. I am not a 'dog lover', I could never live with a dog, but I respect and appreciate
    the help and loyalty they have shown mankind since we found each other back in the cave days.

    You eat your brothers when you have no choice, and you are ashamed, and never speak of it.
    It is absolutely not grounds for celebration.

    There's what's wrong with eating dog, but you already knew that.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  6. Ashlyeskye

    Oh, please people! Hey Vegetarians, Plants are living things too.....Maybe you should stop eating all together? THIS is why so many people in other countries are starving! They wont eat the meat that the have walking all over the place. Too many people to have enough land for veggies and they wont eat the meat....So starve

    July 1, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Reply
  7. Sheila McGorman

    Dogs r man's best friends, but some men r definitely NOT dog's best friends. Dogs r domestic animals that r supposed 2 be our companions. They love & trust us. & they protect us & r loyal & faithful. 4 this, some people slaughter & eat them? Shame on the evil sub-humans who slaughter &/oe eat dogs or cats. There's a place in hell, just 4 u.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Reply
  8. Yummy

    Eating humans...nothing new...

    My girlfriend says shs loves when I eat her....

    July 1, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Reply
  9. Wellington Simmons

    I don't get you people. You try to project your way of living to every area of the world and you can't. If a region of the planet can raise dogs for food easier than cattle, so be it.

    I don't see all you people stopping the 10,000 dogs that are euthanized EVERY DAY in the US. Yes, 10,000, 4,000,000 per year.. that's food to a starving nation. Seriously, grow up and try to understand more than what you see in your backyard.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Reply
  10. mmg

    Well most think its horrific becuase these creatures become our pets. But what makes a dog more important than a cow or pig? Its still a living being that feels the pain. I feel horrible at the prospect of eating a pet, but who's to say its gotta stop in another culture. Isn't that like making Hindi people eat cow, or Muslim eat pork, ... they aren't stopping us from killing pigs.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Reply
  11. WDW

    You must first skewer them on bamboo poles and burn off all their hair before barbecuing them. I volunteer to help you!!!

    July 1, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Reply
    • WDW

      This was a reply to someone up the list that somehow got separated. It was with respect to libtards, not dogs.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Reply
    • JNR

      U POS.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Reply
    • WDW's Dom

      I could easily shove one of those poles up uranus, you dog-eating piece of crap. Now get back to the dungeon.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Reply
  12. Laura Flannery

    This article is correct in stating that just “because we don't do it in the U.S.” is not a good argument for why it is wrong to eat dog meat - it's very important to approach these issues with cultural sensitivity. However, the appalling cruelty used within the dog meat industry - in which dogs are often deliberately tortured before slaughter, under the misguided belief that this will produce better quality meat - IS a good argument against it.

    Read more of our thoughts, here: http://wspa.typepad.com/compassionateplanet/2011/07/explaining-whats-wrong-with-eating-dog-meat.html and let us know what you think.

    – Laura Flannery, World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)

    July 1, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Reply
    • Moat of the People in America

      Laura, let me explain this to you: you don't have to give us a long list of reasons not to eat dog. We don't eat dog. Thanks.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Reply
  13. Maude

    KFC = Kentucky fried canine

    July 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Reply
  14. John Smith

    My question is what right do we have to force our views on another culture? They have been doing this for a longer time then the our country has been around. I personally don't have a problem if they want to eat animals that we would consider pets. I'm sure we do things in our country that their culture doesn't think is right but do you hear them coming over here and forcing their views on us? The only ones that we should be questioning is the ones that try and force us to bend to their views of cultural right.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Reply
  15. Phil

    If I order it to go, will I receive it in a doggy bag? BUH DUM TISH.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Reply
  16. JI

    Dogs to Koreans it same as Cows to Americans. I am a dog lover and have a dog, but don't understand this hypocrisy.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Reply
  17. Larry

    Any society that would eat a dog is not civilized. Dogs have a range of emotions, intelligence, uncondtional love. They are truly man's best friend. It is absolutely morally wrong to eat a dog,......jail time should be mandatory for that offense.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Reply
    • Garfield

      Larry, that's the thing; this IS a civilized country. Korean isn't the most highly-cultured place in the world and they have always been a bit rough, but it's not like they are howling barbarians with horned helmets. They simply don't see dogs as pets, so it isn't a moral issue.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  18. Maude

    KFC = Korean fried canine
    served kim chi and fries.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Reply
  19. CJE

    There is nothing morally wrong with eating dog and I would probably try it if prepared by someone knowledgeable.

    You can argue that eating animals is wrong, but picking and choosing which animals are moral to eat and which are not doesn't make sense. The only exception is the human animal because, yes, we humans give ourselves more rights than we do other sentient creatures on this planet.

    I'm okay with that.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Reply
  20. Mintgreen

    Damn yellow skins will eat ANYTHING that crawls, slugs, or slithers. They would eat a T-rex or bigfoot if they found one.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Reply
    • Evan

      Correction Mintgreen – they will eat SHIT if there is Teriyaki sauce around to marinate the TURD in!

      July 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Reply
  21. Shawn

    What makes eating a dog morally wrong, when you can eat a cow, pig, chicken, etc.? Because it's a "companion" animal, and that the other animals were bred for consumption is what they will tell you. Well, so are dog's. You put a dog in a pen with the intention of eating it in the future, and there is no difference between it. People are just illogical hypocrites.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  22. ManjiSanji

    I feel that eating a dog, or any pet for that matter, is wrong because of our cultural and developmental bond with that animal. We have an established relationship with that animal; you help me, and I'll help you. With dogs in particular, this is an extremely robust and enduring bond, as we've been living side-by-side with them, domesticating them and breeding them for thousands of years, and they are often seen as more than a pet, often a partner or even family member.

    Dogs are, between our two species, quite literally our, "best friend." Would you eat your best friend? I would not disrespect them in that manner, even if it meant my life.

    Even if the dog were not mine, even if it were a wild dog or a stray, I would never kill and/or eat a dog, because we have that unspoken agreement with them: you are my friend and companion, and we will help each other to survive.
    Even if the dog might do so if the roles were reversed, we are, or at least should be, better than that. We should know how and when to respect those that aid us.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  23. jerrycc

    I ve been a veterinarian for 27 yrs,. ah no.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Reply
  24. Carol

    I couldn't actually bring myself to read the entire story, but the mere thought made me want to throw up. My dogs and cats are the best "people" I know! Personally I'd starve first.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Reply
  25. sosafesosaneandsosecure

    I guess China knows now what it would face in coming over and trying to eat our dogs! Grrrrrr!!

    July 1, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Reply
  26. Brooke

    Why don't you just eat what YOU want, and I will eat what I want. I like dogs, don't want to eat them, but I don't care if my neighbor does. This is the last time I am going to tell you, mind your own beeswax. : P

    July 1, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Reply
  27. Carole Clarke

    You can argue both sides, historically dogs were used for guarding, herding, tracking, hunting, protection and if push came to shove, they were eaten so humans could survive. They are carnivores and pack animals while cattle, horses, sheep, pigs and goats were herbivores and flock /herd animals. In America dogs were consumed along with other meats by the tribes. Lewis & Clark and their men ate dogs in the same way the local tribes did. Yet Lewis took along a big black Newfoundland named Seaman who made the whole journey with them. Up in the mountains they were starving, eating their horses but no one thought of eating Lewis' pet dog. The one time he lost his cool was when a local tribesman stole his dog and he used violence to get him back. Hard to explain why you eat one dog but not another, even tho starving. My scottie sleeps in my bed along with an elderly cat – wouldn't think of doing that with any of my other critters tho I had a chicken as a pet as a chld. Dogs have been our companions where other animals have only accompanied us. You don't eat your friends. Don't approve of eating dogs, also don't approve of custom of eating cats and horses. It's not a right or wrong thing, more like an esteem thing. Dogs have earned their right to be not eaten.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Reply
    • Garfield

      No, you go ahead and eat dogs. Don't let me stop you. It's fine.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Reply
    • Ken

      I guess this all comes down to the fact that even amongst the supposed civilized, highly intelligent (questionable) animal that calls itself human and sees itself as not what it is as one of the top animals but rather as above the animals and with god, but does not even understand what it means to be a civilized higher life form. The first (in my view) is the capacity to protect and care for those weaker than us be it another of ours species that is injured, disabled, young, old, or another species that feels what we feel and choses to love us even when it could easily kill us. Creatures that also love their young, often grieve when they lose a human companion or their mate or offspring. This is why if we chose to torture, kill, eat those same creatures, we can't really call ourself civilized. What if the roles were reversed and we were less intelligent than the dog? Would it be right to arbitrarily lock us up for food or given a life as a loved pet, not because we were lesser than some other human, but by a coin toss. How about another image. I will bet those poor dogs who lost the lottery, many will wag their tails and get all happy when their keepers come to feed or clean the cage, only to have it be their time to die. I wonder if the look of fear, confusion, betrayal on the unfortunate animal affects the handler (murder) when he dumps the dog in hot water or oil alive to separate its skin and fur from the meat and flays it alive. Think about it. If you can't understand it maybe you should be on the other side of the equation, cause you don't make the standard for us supposed higher life forms.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Reply
  28. Kurt

    We should seperate humans into high grade and low grade too. Kill the low grade and feed them to animals. It would save on all these awful social programs that Democrats push through. Then we would not have to raise the debt ceiling and could lower taxes on the people that actually work and contribute to society.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Reply
    • Garfield

      I can just tell somehow that you would be one of the low-grade humans.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Reply
      • Shipwreck

        Garfield you sound like a P[_]SSY!!!

        July 1, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Shipwreck

      ABSOLUTELY!!!! Just LOVE your way of thinking!!! When you run for office YOU GOT MY VOTE!!!!

      July 1, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Reply
  29. Shipwreck

    So my dog and I went on an adventure in my 45 foot sailboat. We got caught in a storm, lost the ship and were stranded on a small islet for about 10 days. I must have gotten delusional with hunger and let the dog see something in my eyes as we sat around the small campfire. Although I fought the thought down the dog was unsettled enough to pull a knife on me!!! Well goes to show what was going on in my dog's mind!!! I also found that cookbook "How to Serve Man" in her belongings! So I snuck up from behind and HOT DOGS!!!

    July 1, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Reply
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