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. Bandunk

    I would never eat my dog cause then it I wouldn't have that dog available to lick peanut butter off my genitalia.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Reply
  2. tgif

    im korean. i don't eat dog, nor does anyone in my family. or any of my friends for that matter. what's with all of the racial insults and attacks. RUDE.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Reply
  3. Scott

    I own a dog, but what about the mice and birds that my dog catches and eats when I'm not around. Who's gone to protect them. And, how about them damn lions and bears. They just think they can eat anything. Who's gone to stop the sharks and alligators. Animals must be subjected to the same laws if they want us to protect them. Until, then, it is a eat or be eaten world!

    July 1, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Reply
  4. Common Sense

    Only savages eat their companions.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Reply
    • GnatB

      Only children play with thier food.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Reply
  5. Mazyar Momeni

    I hope everyone who posted that this is disgusting and should be abolished realizes that opinion is just that… an opinion, which is based on your individual cultural and social upbringing. In contrast, consider that hindus from India believe cows to be sacred (not just their alleged best friend) and the consumption of beef to be morally reprehensible. However, Americans consume beef more than any other meat, and in massive quantities at that. You don't see or hear about Hindus, who have a large population in the U.S., attempting to abolish our beef consumption, let alone complaining about it. This is because, as demonstrated by this comment board, they posses something the average American does not: an understanding and respect for other cultures. Grow up people. A dog is a dog and they're all born that way. It only becomes your alleged "best friend" if you raise it that way. Just like a pig is a pig unless you raise it to be your best friend (and thus become attached to it). Stay classy America.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Reply
    • Joe S

      Why would you respect a culture that intentionally tortures dogs because they believe that tortured dog meat imparts special health benefits?

      July 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Reply
      • Mazyar Momeni

        First, I never said torturing dogs was okay. Stop manipulating what I said. Second, if you believe that raising dogs to eat them later is torture, then we've been torturing cows, chickens, pigs, sheep, turkey, etc. for years. And I'd be willing to bet, given our capitalistic nature, that the method in which we choose to raise these animals for consumption is far worse than anything those dogs in S. Korea are facing. I was only trying to make one point: You need to stop trying to understand other cultures through the lens of your own. Not all countries place the same high premium on dogs as pets that the U.S. does. In fact, there are many cultures that don't give a damn about dogs; and that's okay because it's their society and their culture, which they have been shaping for 1000s of years, and therefore, it's there right. In a nut shell, don't belittle another culture because it differs from yours; especially for something as trivial as a dog. Why not waste your time on something that benefits your own kind, such as world hunger, the economy, or spreading world peace. Or hey, here's a novel idea, why don't you do something about the environment. I bet your dog would appreciate that.

        July 1, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  6. kls817

    i, too, think it would be disgusting to eat dog meat, but that is only because of my culture. When you think about it, eating dog is no worse than eating beef or pork. So let them, as long as they don't steal someone else's pets, and the dogs are treated humanely while alive.
    Of course, dogs are not an economical source of meat because dogs need to be fed high-priced food (i.e. they are meat eaters) so dog will remain a delicacy and not for mass consumption.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Reply
    • spammerstakeahike

      @kls817 – farmed dogs are fed with food waste. Old fermented kimchi etc.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Reply
  7. JimmyD34

    Obvious trolling by CNN here. Eating dogs may not be morally worse than eating pigs, however, dogs are revered in American culture. There doesn't need to be logic behind this, it's just our culture. I'm sure the writer understands this...

    July 1, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Reply
  8. Phil

    Okay, since everyone here seems to be quite opinionated and overly bothersome, I'll happily lay this out for all of you. For centuries, Dog meat has been used in Korea, along with Horse, Fish, Whale, Pig, chicken, and Cow meat. It's a common enough meat that it is served in many restaurants, and is eaten by a fair majority of the population.

    Now, every person that screams that this is wrong and immoral. Shut up, sit down, and learn that another country is not going to change their centuries old way of life just because YOU think it's immoral and wrong. That would be like going to France and telling the people there that they have to speak English because you don't speak their language and they're "supposedly" being intolerant towards you.

    It's stupid to claim that you know better and try to force another culture to change. Oh wait, too late, we've been doing that for over 150 years.

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

      @Phil – I agree it's a sensitive thing to openly criticize a culture that isn't yours but the criticism comes from within. In Korea, demonstrations are held every week against dog eating. Thousands and thousands of Koreans write petitions, try to educate people, raise awareness.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Reply
    • German Shepherd

      What we do is tell them "Learn English, or our music and tv will go right over your heads." They don't have to change and become Americanized, but they do, and that's why the Arab countries are so scared of us. Our culture dominates, and when we disapprove of eating dogs, they will bend to our will in the end because they have become us. It's why we can't keep the Mexicans out, and why people speak English everywhere.

      July 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  9. Maude

    You eat what you are ! Korean's love to do it "Doggie Style".

    July 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Reply
  10. Claire

    " They're treated like sacks of rice." Worse!!!! That large dog was picked up by the ears and thrown into the cage. How can they expect 4 or 5 puppies to fit in a box that small. With treatment like that, I wouldn't be surprised if the quality of the meat was very very poor.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Reply
  11. Taylor

    The Chinese have been eating dogs for thousands of years. The only reason some of you people have something to say is because dogs are cute and cuddly. If this was a article about someone stopping a trailer full of cattle then there wouldn't be a forth of the comments. Does anyone know that we are overfishing bluefin tuna to the point that they could be extinct in 3 years?(source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/04/14/us-tuna-extinction-idUSTRE53D00320090414) Does anyone care? No, because they aren't cuddly like dogs. There are a LOT of extremely idiotic comments here. Like, an extremely depressing amount...Think before you speak, people.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Reply
    • spammerstakeahike

      @Taylor – we can't discuss everything at once can we. If you want to discuss beef, pork, chicken industry fine, I'm all open for it.

      Earthlings, Farm to fridge, you can pick any of them and we'll discuss that if you want.

      But AFAIK the topic for today is dog meat.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Reply
    • furby

      @taylor "Think before you speak, people."

      Seems like u have to tell that to yourself

      July 2, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  12. Veggy

    i'm a vegetarian but after seening this article i'm now converting!

    July 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Reply
  13. GnatB

    I'm american, and have to say that there is nothing whatsoever wrong with eating dog over/above what some people (not myself) would consider wrong with eating any other animals. Ditto with Rabbit and Horse. It's not like any of them are endangered and need protection from over hunting.

    There is no difference between a dog and a cow or a pig. Heck, from what I understand, Pigs are far more intelligent than your average dog, so it's not like intelligence is some deterministic for what's ok to eat and what isn't.

    It's not my problem that so many people lack such confidence/real friends that they have to rely on food for companionship.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Reply
  14. Chris

    Sometimes I wanna eat my cats, but the wife gets pissed at me when I say that... Oh well...

    Go cook up some hamburgers in India and see how well that goes over. Dogs, cows, horses, whatever, some people eat one, other people eat the other, so long as you're not going around pilfering animals out of peoples homes and yards who cares. It's a food source.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Reply
    • Maude

      You should eat your wife stead, you freak.
      India has 190,000,000 muslims they all eat beef.

      July 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Reply
      • Mazyar Momeni

        and 827,578,868 hindus who don't (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinduism_in_India)… yet, they seem to be capable of living together without disparaging each other for something as trivial as what they eat. Id tell you to respect other cultures but you clearly lack an ounce of understanding and intelligence and your head is so far up your ass you can taste whatever animal it is YOU ate for lunch. Grow up peter pan

        July 1, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  15. dan

    if i hear one more story of horny ignorant men justifying the slaughter and destruction of this planet and the creatures on i think i will puke.. human kind will never evolve as long as stupid ignorant horny men control the world.. they are freaking hopeless!

    July 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Reply
  16. Such an argument

    "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."

    Cannibalism is performed in some countries. Just because we don't do it in the U.S. doesn't seem to make for a very good argument?

    July 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Reply
    • curzen

      that's nice. now try answering the question instead of just spamming it up.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Reply
  17. curzen

    if the dog is farm raised and processed like any other meat, nothing is wrong with it. At the same time I don't have an issue with keeping a pig or chicken as a family pet.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Reply
    • spammerstakeahike

      @curzen – One of the reasons Taiwan banned dog meat for consumption was that they concluded it is impossible to raise meat dogs in a humane way.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Reply
      • curzen

        I'm pretty sure breeding and inventiveness can overcome that problem. Beyond that: Hunt strays like deer or rabbit then.

        July 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • spammerstakeahike

      @ Curzen – Yes, the farmers are indeed inventive. Some pierce the puppies' eardrums to suppress barking.

      July 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  18. Deeperthinking

    QUESTION: If dogs ruled the world, how do you think they would treat us?

    July 1, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Reply
  19. broski

    It is repulsive to eat a cow in India but millions of cows are killed in the U.S
    It is repulsive to eat a dog in US but thousands of dogs are killed in Korea
    it a difference of idea so don't judge them for it

    July 1, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Reply
  20. Jim Bowie

    All animals are meat. All humans are animal. :Humans are meat. The great chain of life is awesome as long as you are the top predator.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Reply
  21. tmm77625

    I've had dog overseas. It's not bad, kind of similar to buffalo actually, but I much prefer beef, lamb, pork, chicken, fish and many of the other wonderful animals we humans eat. What's the big deal? If you eat meat, choosing dog over beef is not a lot different from choosing to eat pig brains over bacon.

    And yes, I own a dog, and a cat (I've eaten cat, too, can't recommend it) and no, I won't eat him or let anyone else eat him.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Reply
  22. Nick Zanoni

    Its all culturally relative. Singer wrote years ago in Animal Liberation that we are speciesist. That is, we favor ourselves. No argument there. The argument for intelligence being a bar to eating some animal fails if you take retarded non thinking humans or infants into the equations. Ie its not ok to eat a person just because they are brain dead or not intelligent. 1000 lbs of bush meat from high apes is consumed annually in London alone. Look it up. I'm a grandson of a butcher and eat meat, preferably good meat. But I'd rather be on the vegetarian side of the debate if push came to shove. We eat other animals only because we can. No right or wrong, no divine permission, no need.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Reply
  23. Dan

    Why is every odd bit of an animal considered to be good for "stamina" in Eastern culture?
    That crap doesn't do anything for anything, yet you always hear about how poachers are grinding up rhino horns, tiger dong, and all sorts of foolish stuff and selling it as some kind of "sexual effect" placebo.

    All it really tells me is that there are a lot of people in those cultures who are 1) rock stupid and 2) can't get it up. Way to go.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Reply
  24. AJC

    First off if your country says its legal to eat dog then go ahead. The only problem is that will you kill an animal that is loyal to humans. Pigs won't die for you , most animals wont die for you. I would diie for my dog just like my dog would die for me.

    July 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Reply
    • Maude

      Pigs do die for you . Every year numerous police officers are shot and killed.

      July 1, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Reply
    • German Shepherd

      Maude, if they were shot in the line of duty, then they probably weren't pigs. Pigs are the ones hiding behind the cruiser while the suspect runs away. Real cops aren't bullies or cowards.

      July 1, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Reply
  25. www.earthlings.com

    There is a lot of talk here about different societies and cultures having the "right" to choose which animals are worthy of our love and mercy and which ones belong on our plates. Sadly, we as humans can't see past our own selfish needs and wants enough to give a thought about what the animals want. Think for a moment about those whose fate YOU decide every day. Might doesn't make right. Just because we CAN kill and eat animals for food simply because we like the taste of their flesh doesn't make it our birthright. It is not a matter personal choice or opinion because the decision you make does not only affect you – it causes pain and suffering to another creature. That's where your right to make food choices should end. The animal's right to live its life of its own free will trumps your right to eat it. If you're eating flesh, you are forcing your choices upon other living beings less powerful than you. And before anyone brings up the "food chain" argument, if man is at the TOP and we are the ruler of all, think for a moment what kind of responsibility that places on our shoulders. I'd say we're doing a pretty sh*tty job of being the superior species if all we do is view the rest of the living world as a giant smorgasboard.

    July 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Reply
    • Changling42

      Don't all top teir species view the species below them in their collective ecosystems as a giant smorgasboard as well? Couldn't the same be said of the shark of patrols the waters of our oceans viewing most things that he can catch as food? Is the same not true of the bit cats? Or bears? Or birds of prey? or Monkeys? Or giant snakes and reptiles?

      I found the Earthlings argument to be weak and full of holes. Not to mention this idea of specisim, as being used by non-meaters to further their agenda, does not address the hypocrisy surrounding the eating of many plany species. To cut down, slash and burn and uproot causes just as much death and suffering to plants as it does to animals. Not to mention that there are lots of new studies out that show, tilling or plowing the earth for feilds to plant is extremely damaging to the ecosystems in the soils. After a field is tilled just a few seasons, the damage done to the soil takes decades to reverse.

      July 1, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Reply
  26. Peter

    Our way of seeing dogs doesn't have to be everybody's way of seeing dogs. I feel that I must respect cultures that eat dogs. But nothing is black and white. I abhor the practice and cannot imagine doing it myself. But that is only because of the very closer relationships I have had and currently have with dogs. Spend some time with a bull that would otherwise be slaughtered for meat. You'll get to know the bull, the bull will get to know you, you will interact, and eventually you might find it barbaric to eat beef. Some people already feel that way. If you find it hard to eat dog meat, consider the fact that you eat other animals. I say this as one who enjoys a juicy flank steak every once in a while.

    July 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Reply
  27. henry de vita

    i have nothing but disgust for this artlice i am sick that this is going on

    July 1, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  28. Argle Bargle

    Them eating dogs explains a lot of things. I think I understand them as "people" much better and where all the dogs are disappearing to in my neighborhood since that Korean restaurant opened.

    July 1, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  29. whizbangskippypop

    dog meat is advertised to help men with "stamina." Whale is advertised to help men with "stamina." Tiger, Rhino horn, gorilla, shark fin soup are advertised to help men with "stamina." What the heck? I guess if i wanted to sell something most find abhorrent i just have to make one certain non-scientific claim.
    Anyone know how to start the rumor that all of these sources of protein actually ruin men's "stamina"...?

    July 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  30. Dariusz

    There people are animals...it only makes sense they would eat dog. Industralized or not...they will always live in the 3rd world in Asia.

    July 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Reply
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