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 (2,498 Responses)
  1. DK

    "First of all wolves are not prey animals, they are predators. Korea is only about 100 years old it was split into the North and South around 1945. America had people here long before the Europeans arrived, so I don't get your ridiculous point of who has the older culture. There's nothing worse than a dumb c***. Maybe too much doggie is rotting your brain."

    Korean civilization is 4,000 to 5,000 years old. Just my family tree book I have in my room that dates back about 700 years which I believe is older than this country. My father's family tree is written in stone, so i'm sure it goes back further.

    The only thing I would kill and eat is fish. Here is some information I know about Koreans and dogs. FIrst off, dogs are a delicacy in Korea, only a minority of the population eat them. They don't eat pure breads, I heard once that they don't taste as good. I've heard strayed dogs were the best, just like wild boar. They are treated a lot better than the animals that we eat in this country. I pretty sure most "civilized people" will not eat what they would kill these days. What's the difference between killing and eating a dog, pig, or a duck? You know the Indians worship the cow right? Imagine how they must feel about us.

    Here are some other "barbaric" countries that have been enjoying dog meat in the past/present:
    Hong Kong
    East Timor
    North Korea
    Native Americans

    July 1, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Reply
    • Joe S

      This is clearly factually wrong but is typical of how Korea and China is attempting to cover up this issue. Korea in fact attempted to get restaurants to take dog off the menu in time for the Olympics.

      The truth is this. Dogs are not "treated well". Here is how the dog is prepared for food:

      1) It is kept in a small cage with other dogs
      2) The dog to be prepared is bound and hung by its hindquarters
      3) The dog is then beaten with a stick while still alive
      4) The dog is then skinned while still alive, typically by burning off the skin

      This is done to elevate the level of adrenalin because they believe that this will give the consumer of the meat increased libido and strength.

      So please stop repeating the lies that you have been told.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Reply
      • DK

        that is from your readings, my comment is from my own experience of how I witness them prepping the dogs

        July 1, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
      • Joe S

        Really? You have observed Koreans prepping "stray dogs" and feeding them "dried anchovies for 24 hours" as you suggested in your other post? Please let us all know where you have observed this. There are a few videos posted below, please view them. I do not see a single dried anchovy in them.

        July 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
      • DK

        Well this was 20 years ago when I saw my dad feeding dried anchovies to a stray dog for few days. Then I heard my sister scream when she opened a pot one day... So i'm guessing oh..... Btw majority of Koreans don't eat! I only knew one people in my life which was my dad for the past 35 years. It's a delicacy like eating a frog.

        July 1, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
      • kls817

        Yes that is a shame and it needs to stop. But here in the US, we also treat our food animals with no mercy. They are crowded together and have nowhere to stand or sleep. Our food lobby is so powerful and inhumane that it is now becoming illegal in the US to take pictures of the abuse.

        July 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
      • Joe S

        DK – from your post above: "Trust me, dogs are not mistreated in Korea". Care to retract, or modify that statement based on what you have learned today?

        July 1, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Changling42

      So DK, you'll only kill and eat things from the most endagnered ecosystem on the ENTIRE planet?!? The ecosystem that has been pulndered and pillaged more than any other, putting it on the verge collaspe in the next decade!!!! This makes sense how exactly?

      July 1, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Reply
      • DK

        The only thing I would kill and eat right now is fish because that's the only thing I can stand to kill and eat.

        July 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
      • Changling42

        "The only thing I would kill and eat right now is fish because that's the only thing I can stand to kill and eat." So, because you choose to rationalize your eating habits this way, that makes it OK?!? Are you insane?!? Just asking.

        July 1, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
      • DK

        You're over analyzing everything i'm saying LMAO.... plain and simple.... i didn't say what is right or wrong.... I said, currently if I had to kill and eat something it would be fish... Have you ever went fishing? I mean I can go out there a shot a bird or a pig, but to skin, pluck, and all that gross thing I have to do... I rather catch a fish... it's easier to clean and I can eat it raw.

        July 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
      • Changling42

        "You're over analyzing everything i'm saying LMAO.... plain and simple.... i didn't say what is right or wrong.... I said, currently if I had to kill and eat something it would be fish..." – Again, you are rationalizing here but apprently informing you of that some how means I am over analyzing?!? I am having a real hard time following your line of thinking.

        "Have you ever went fishing?" – Yes, many times as a kid, never as an enviornmentally conscience adult. What does this have to do with anything? I guess I should also add that I only practiced catch and release when I fished as a child.

        "I mean I can go out there a shot a bird or a pig, but to skin, pluck, and all that gross thing I have to do... I rather catch a fish... it's easier to clean and I can eat it raw." – So again, more of this carzy logic... because it's 'easier' and you would 'rather do it' it is somehow ok to catch and eat animals from an ENDANGERED ECOSYSTEM (you understand what that means, yes?) rather than eat animals that can be farmed, are not threatened are have been raised for the consumption of food? I am sorry but you make NO sense to me what so ever. It's just SO illogical.

        July 1, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • wag-da-dog

      "They are treated a lot better than the animals that we eat in this country." You don't believe your own BS right ? I bet you never set foot in Korea...In your ancestors' country, dogs are beaten with sticks to tenderize the meat before they are skinned alive... When you left the tourist paths, you could see some a few years ago hanging upside down in small villages streets. I would urge you to travel to Korea, meet some of the folks you should be able to track if you indeed have such a great family tree and learn about your own culture.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Reply
      • DK

        So you actually witnessed this yourself? I grew up watching my dad prep dogs to be cooked and I didn't see any mistreatment versus the stories from my neighbors who work at Purdue and Tysons. Btw they became vegetarians after working there. The processed meat that we eat are injected with a lot of crap vs "free range" dogs. Koreans have been eating dogs since the modern stone age.

        July 1, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  2. amy

    What's wrong with eating Emily Lodish?

    July 1, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Reply
    • German Shepherd

      Well, you'd have to buy her dinner and a show, then get her really drunk. But if she was okay with it, I guess it wouldn't be wrong.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Reply
  3. Amom

    I am a dog lover but don't like cats. I would eat the dog before I would eat the cat.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Reply
  4. Dude

    What happens when a person from another country decides to come to America and eat dog? What happens when people from other countries come here, settle, and vote? Perhaps, it's time to value our own culture a little and take a second look at globalism.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Reply
  5. Dude

    Do they eat dogs in Annandale, Virginia, or San Francisco's China town now? East is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Reply
  6. John

    This article makes no mention of which activist organization tried to stop the dog farmers. For all we know, this was a Korean-run activist organization – which means that Koreans are also against it.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Reply
  7. Brent

    I got something you can eat.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Reply
    • Mr. Fabulous

      Ooo, you naughty boy! Where can we meet?

      July 1, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Reply
  8. Jessica

    I don't see what the big deal is. Yeah, as an American, I think it's kind of gross to eat a dog, but it's not violating any human rights issues and it's not like they're illegally killing dogs. It's part of their culture and we should respect that. Part of the Islam religion is not to eat pigs because they are considered a dirty animal yet they're able to respect the fact that Americans like it. Hindus do not eat beef due to their religion, yet they respect that fact that we eat beef. It's all cultural, so I don't see why we can't be mature enough to just GET OVER IT.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Reply
    • Robin

      F U C K I N G MORON.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Reply
  9. patricia

    IT is like eating cows and pigs. that is EXACTly why I"m vegetarian.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Reply
    • DK

      I wonder if Vegetarians taste better than us.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Reply
  10. Alana

    I just can't eat an animal that I would cuddle with.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Reply
  11. spammerstakeahike

    The biggest issue here is how the "meat dogs" are raised, transported and slaughtered. The other issue is of course, people eat dog meat not because they're starving or lack protein source but they eat it because they believe dog meat will remedy this and that which is nothing but nonsense.

    1. Dogs are born and raised inside tiny wire cages that are raised above ground. There's no floor, just wires to make it easier to clean. Dog poo piles up quickly under the cages. They can't sit or lie down comfortably. Many dogs develop sores because of the wired "floor".

    2. Dogs aren't given proper food – they live on food waste (some resources claim 1/3 of all Korean food waste is taken care of by dogs. Now, if you've been to Korea you know Korean food in overall is salty and spicy. Make a mental note of that.

    3. Dogs aren't given any water even during summer time. It is believed that water decreases meat quality. Think about it. No water when sun is scorching down on you 24/7 during the summer months.
    But still, many dog farmers confess that the dogs are usually happy when they go near the cages. They wag their tails. They know the dog farmer is their master. On a large scale, some dog farms hold thousands of dogs. The dogs could very well be fed 100% automatically with no human contact. But the farmers claim the dogs need to see people once in a while for some reason.

    4. Dogs, when ~ 12, 18 months old, are ready to be butchered. One by one, they're taken out of the cages, thrown, forced and packed into even tinier wired cages, stacked and put on a truck. Transport time could be hours under the scorching sun, of course no water.

    5. Dogs farmed near Seoul will probably be dumped off at Moran Market, the largest market for (all kinds of food) meat dogs in Korea. At the market they are brutally forced out of their cages, thrown into larger cages and there they stay, exhausted, waiting for a customer to single them out for slaugthering.

    6. Slaughtering methods – a) electrocution (dogs usually do not die only become paralyzed) b) hanging – a slow death, takes 5-10 minutes to squeeze the life out of them c) hanging combined with beatings – this is common in the rural areas outside Seoul, where some (many) believe a tortured dog will produce a better meat.

    I see lot of people talking "dogs raised as pets" and "dogs raised as meat", but I suggest you take a closer look, google it up. There are "meat dogs" but there are also plenty of abandoned or stolen pets gathered and raised together with the "meat dogs". The larger pet dogs can be sold as meat but the smaller ones, they make into Gae-Soju (dog-tonic) which is supposedly good for your health.

    Some photos and video clips. Viewer's discretion is advised.


    Hanging "meat" dogs (note the white one, which is not a common "neuronggi" or yellow dog that is commonly used as meat dog. also note that the white dog wasn't raised on a dog farm, it still has its collar on. the dog thinks someone took him out for a walk) :


    July 1, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Reply
    • spammerstakeahike

      More video clips:


      A common dog farm :

      July 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Reply
      • Tortured Dog

        Holy F**k these people are cruel. People??? ANyone who does this is not human.

        July 1, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Robin

      Thank you for the truth. This story makes me sick to my stomach.Really.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Reply
      • spammerstakeahike

        @Robin – You're welcome. One should know how the meat dogs are treated before saying "it's okay to eat dog meat, it's part of their culture blah.."

        I should note that many Koreans are indeed against dog eating practise, many consider it a shameful thing. Actually, the dog industry recently stated that their sales have declined. That's why they wanted to have a dog-meat festival. Dr Dog Meat (Ann young-geun) is one of the fiercest pro dog-meat guy in Korea. He's a professor in nutrition but still make crazy claims like : Dog meat is good for your stamina. It makes your knees warm. It makes your white hair turn black. It remedies depression, strengthens your intestines and you won't believe all the crap he is saying and writing. The thing is, he has a degree and has a title. Therefore many people believe what he says. He claims he's researched over 10 years on dog meat and its benefits but can't name one, back any of his claims with scientific methods. Instead he falls back on ancient Asian medicine (where you once believed a leaf shaped like a lung would cure lung diseases) and there you don't need scientific backup. For him it's a win-win situation. Very sad.

        July 1, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  12. Girum Dagne

    I am so sad to see this kind cruelty on DOGS man best friend .

    July 1, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Reply
  13. Dude

    I feel a lot better about my English ancestors traveling around the world, kicking everyone's arse, and making them wear pants. Turns out they were right and other cultures are barbaric.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Reply
    • German Shepherd

      Dude, if they were barbarians it wouldn't matter so much, but these are good people in many ways. That's the really odd thing: how can they be so civilized and still eat dogs.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Reply
  14. ALF

    Hey! I eat cats! Ha! I kill me!

    July 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Reply
    • wag-da-dog

      Cats are ok ALF. Taste like rabbits only the bones are different. Do you eat yours mustard style or red wine baked 😉 ?

      July 1, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Reply
  15. Siri

    Disgusting. Primitive. Unnecessary. Inhuman. Those farmers are monsters and the civilized western world should boycott everything South Korean. I know I will.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Reply
    • spammerstakeahike

      @ Siri – as I've said earlier, most Koreans are against this brutality and backward part of their "culture". What you guys can do to help isn't boycott but sign the petition to begin with :


      July 1, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Reply
  16. Ivan M.

    its just like "people in cambodia eat kids. its ok, thats their culture"... its just wrong, dogs have been interacting with humans in different ways for a long period of time now.

    Ive been reading about this and neither Korea or China have dogs as traditional foods.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Reply
    • German Shepherd

      What's 'traditional?' Americans started eating macaroni and cheese around 1950. They eat dog now.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Reply
  17. Eric

    Dogs wouldn't hesitate to eat us!

    July 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Reply
    • spammerstakeahike

      @Eric – What's that supposed to mean? People sometimes eat people too. Civlized people. I'm sure you know the true stories about the football team that crashed in the Andes. Or Franklin's Terror expedition. I could go on.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Reply
  18. End Jonezs

    I Have had some dog meat. It was great.

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

    No offense intended to Asian people but it is about time they get rid of these non sense assumptions based on popular culture or legends that eating certain animals like dog , tiger or rhino will give them a lot of sexual stamina. it is a complete macho-ignorant approach that can not continue. these people fuel the black markets and poachers of endangered species like tigers and rhinos with their demand for these endangered animals.. and as far as eating Dog it is simply repulsive, common sense dictates these animals are domestic pets in all cultures and societies for long time in history. Governments in these countries should educate their people about these fundamentals of eating habits, making changes will not take away from other positive aspects of their ancient culture.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Reply
    • spammerstakeahike

      @Jorge – some men eat dog meat to increase their ability to give women pleasure, but most eat dogs during the "bok-days", the hottest days during summer, where dog meat is believed to remedy excess body heat. Which of course is completely baloney.

      July 1, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Reply
  20. Maude

    The Koreans were waiting with knives and forks when Snoopdog and little bow wow landed at Seoul Airport..

    July 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Reply
  21. Jeff

    I'm sitting back and wondering how so many people can come out in support of dog-eating. As I read the comments, I can't help but think of a college freshman taking sociology 101 for the first time who thinks it's edgy to write a paper in support of female circumcision.

    Dogs are for adopting, not garnishing.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Reply
    • GnatB

      You've obviously been well brainwashed by PetSmart's ads trying to sell you gourmet dog foods made by well known top chefs... or whatever the latest pet absurdity is.

      July 1, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  22. mike

    American culture tells us dog is man's best friend; that doesn't apply in many countries around the world, and we can't hold those countries to our personal dietary practices. We are not talking about an endangered species here. Dogs are a plentiful species, so eat up if you're offered dog while vacationing. I'm sure it tastes pretty good!

    July 1, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Reply
  23. shooter2001

    Having enjoyed both, I can tell you that dog tastes better than horse. Guinea pig is nice, too:

    July 1, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Reply
  24. spammerstakeahike

    Dog meat transport. They're treated like sacks of rice.


    July 1, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Reply
    • mike

      Have you ever seen a chicken killed at a farm? There's nothing pretty about butchering an animal, but it needs to be done before eating.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Reply
      • spammerstakeahike

        @ Mike – yes I know how chicken, cows, pigs are raised and slaughtered. I'm vegetarian.

        July 1, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
      • mike

        I respect your opinion if you are vegetarian then, but for the others who eat meat (myself included), we can't say its wrong if we eat any other animals. Dog, chicken, pig...its all the same

        July 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
      • spammerstakeahike

        @Mike – but the unnecessary cruelty that is involved in the dog meat industry – should we not be discussing it because the same cruelty (or worse) is happening to chickens every day?

        July 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
      • Joe S

        It is not the same. The dogs are INTENTIONALLY tortured before being killed. The belief that that the meat will contain benefits if the dog is tortured before being killed. And I am a vegetarian as well but that makes no difference.

        July 1, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  25. Yeah Sure

    The best thing about eating dogs is they're really easy to catch because they come when you call them.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Reply
    • ricky14

      Your birth certificate is an apology letter from the condom factory. Yeah Sureeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

      July 1, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Reply
    • spammerstakeahike

      @Yeahsure – Indeed. I've read stories where a backyard dog hobbyist farmer (usually keep couple of dogs as guard dogs or "pets" until they're ready for the meat market) took one of his dogs, beat it to tenderize the meat and somehow the dog got loose and ran away. The master called his dog back and he/she came back, tail wagging, the trust was still there. He, the master, of course continued to beat the life of of his dog.

      July 1, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Reply
  26. Charles Martin

    What the hell is wrong with you?

    July 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Reply
  27. Steve

    What a stupid title to this story! What's "wrong" with eating dogs? Well for one thing, dogs have been man's pet for thouands of years. You don't eat a loyal companion. How about killing off some people if you have to resort to eating your pets. If the writer of story asks what's wrong with eating man's best friend, then ask what's wrong with killing off people?

    July 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Reply
  28. Julie

    I know many of you are being "piggies" but this hideous and heinus, however nothing new. Many coats you wear are adorned with dog fur this winter. Look @ your Made in China lables ya'll! Coming from Asia nothing is immune. These people still hunt and kill whale. dolphin, big cats...uyou name it! They are a ruthless society. Void of heart! Doesn't anyone have an ounce of empathy in them. It's disgusting. There should be many more Buddhists among us....be a kinder, gentler world.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Reply
  29. fuuuu

    All claiming the side of the dogs: you are IGNORANT to the ways of other cultures, and most seem to be trolls. If your country is poor, and dog is the meat available, you WILL eat it. This is what is wrong with our western culture, always quick to criticize, without any knowledge, just our feelings. For shame.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Reply
  30. Maude

    Minced dog meat pie with Yam. Tender flakes of dog meat marinated in oyster sauce served on triscuit. Side of greens and grape pop to wash it down with. Delish....

    July 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Reply
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