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)

    WHat is the problem with Asians and their "stamina"? Always trying to increase stamina...tiger penis, gorilla hands, dog meat, endangered bear gall bladders, etc.
    Try Viagra guys.....it's alot easier.

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

      I agree....get a freakin' implant if having a woody all the time is so important or use Viagra! Leave animals alone.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:01 am | Reply
    • OvernOut

      Aren't the Ebola virus and SARS, both fatal and extremely contagious, transmitted from eating "exotic" meats? If there is brain-destroying "mad cow" disease from cows and other ruminants (sheep), maybe there is a similar disease among canines.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:57 am | Reply
  2. Excuseme2

    It's a GREAT thing that Americans don't consume animals raised in filthy, squalid conditions typical of FACTORY FARMS where animals are cramped into tiny cages inside of unventilated closed off sheds where their quantity is more important than their quality and their bodies have to be literally flooded with antibiotics to keep them alive under conditions that would normally kill them...because that would be hypicritical...wouldn't it?

    Oh wait! It's not fascisim when WE do it?

    Nothing to see here folks, industry can regulate itself and the welfare of humans/animals will always trump the almighty dollar int he eys of big corp!!


    July 1, 2011 at 10:00 am | Reply
  3. LarryP

    The problem I have is the cruel way the animals are treated. These idiots believe the meat is better if the animal is scared and full of adrenaline at death. They hang the animal until near death several times then burn the fur off while it's still alive. Check it out , it's all available on YouTube. When the people in charge of the animals are toothless retards that find it entertaining to torture...it's just wrong, in Korea or on US factory farms.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:00 am | Reply
  4. ShaneB

    Too many dog pets for my taste buds. But honestly, if I got hungry enough I would.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:00 am | Reply
    • Jess C

      Too many people on the planet...eat them.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:02 am | Reply
  5. Julie Collins

    This article turned my stomach and i would assume Emilly has no pets. I have four dogs and love each and every one of them. I would also like to say that everyone in this forum that is comparing dogs to sheep, pigs and cattle is absurd. How many cattle do you know of that protect thier owners and thier owners children? My dogs stay outside without chains and not in kennels and they never leave the yard as long as anyone is home. I have two pure breds and two mixes. They are all special good dogs that love my family and are a big part of our family. It makes me sick to think even in the civilized coutry of America that people wouldn't have a problem eating dogs (man's best friend!!). You people are sick. if meat is meat then let one of your family members take you out back and bludgeon you to death and your meat product down to some cannibals in the amazon!!!!

    July 1, 2011 at 10:00 am | Reply
    • MannyHM

      I feel the same way, nauseated while scanning this article. I was told by a Korean friend (who doesn't eat dog meat and abhors such idea) that in Korea, these dogs that are slaughtered for meat are actually specially bred for that. They're not kept as pets just like cattle, hog, or sheep.

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

      Oh how true!

      July 1, 2011 at 10:14 am | Reply
    • sigh

      These people aren't Americans and aren't eating the family pet. You're also mistaken about the ability of other animals to bond with humans, to include pigs, cows, horses, burro, etc. The bottom line is you want the world to live according to your values and standards, yet see no need to conform with the value and standards of the rest of the world. The very freedoms the US was founded to embrace are the very freedoms you wish to trample over. You want to take away the rights of others because you don't like them. Imagine someone coming in and telling you to get rid of your dogs because they cause allergies that make their child deathly ill? Yet, you admit yourself that you don't confine or chain up your pets, thus putting the lives of others at risk. Whose life are they endangering by eating dogs?

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

      Stop trying force your cultural ideas of food on other cultures. As long as the animals are humanely treated and slaughtered I don't care who eats what (and no I do not include humans in that). People keep pigs as pets, maybe we should force others not to eat that. People in India worship cow, maybe they should come over here and tell us what horrible disgusting people we are for that. Not every culture consider dogs mans best friend that is a western idea, not a human idea. Don't get me wrong I think dogs and cats are cute and all but I would give their meat a try (same with horses and rabbits and people keep those as pets).

      July 3, 2011 at 1:09 am | Reply
  6. steve

    Eating dog is no more immoral then eating pigs or chickens, its just a stipulation in the US that dogs are friends and above other animals. But if you were to grow up with a family pig or cow you would feel just as bad about eating from their species. The perfect comparison is to the Hindus in India who would cringe at the thought of eating cow while we eat it once a day, even worse they are genetically modified and raised in awful conditiions here. If you dont want to eat anything living than you can morally starve alone, eating other creatures is not just a part of human life but of all life.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:01 am | Reply
  7. KBell

    I think China should be wiped off the face of the earth for eating dog meat. How disgusting. I say, let's rescue all the dogs and bomb the F*$# out of China.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:01 am | Reply
    • Khrys


      The picture maybe pointing to Chinese dogs, but the article itself actually describes the South Korean dog meat trade. So why not as you aptly put: "bomb the F*$# out of" South Korea too. Oh, while we are at it, since India's sacred animal has always been consumed in large quantities by Americans, why not let India "bomb the F*$# out of" United States too? I believe India has recently become NUclea capable.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:09 am | Reply
      • Khrys

        Meant to say nuclear capable.

        July 1, 2011 at 10:10 am |
      • Robin

        Correction:- India has not 'recently' become a nuclear power ... it has been one for decades.

        July 1, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Garfield

      No! Let them eat dog!

      July 1, 2011 at 10:39 am | Reply
  8. Dr. Doom

    That dog looks so sad! I wanna take him home, give him a bath, a bowl of good food and a soft bed where he just realx as long as he needs too. Bet hes covered with fleas too.. poor baby.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:02 am | Reply
  9. veggielover

    As a vegetarian I don't understand what the difference is between eating a dog raised for meat and eating a chicken raised to be slaughtered. Meat is meat. And for those who think it is inhumane to kill dogs for food, just look at where your meat is coming from in the US. The way the raise and slaughter pigs, cows, and chickens are atrocious, so where are we to pass judgment on another culture's practice and customs?

    July 1, 2011 at 10:02 am | Reply
  10. Tonelok

    Crazy I agree with another commentor. Although I don't believe the eating of dogs to be morally wrong. I think that most American's(and much of the developed world) looks down at the consumption of what we call our pets. We live a life that has been far removed from having to resort to eating dogs, but for some that's not true. Of course there are the frindge idiots that eat dog for "stamina"(they probably value rhino horns too).
    People keep pigs as pets all the time, miniture pot-belly pigs are quite cute, but it is a weird reversal and it is seen as strange to keep "food" as a pet.
    All in all, we have a soft spot for an animal as loyal as a dog is, and I myself would have a tough time eating one if I knew. But I wonder what would happen if this article was about eating cows in India.
    Different strokes for different folks.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:03 am | Reply
  11. cannibeth

    this story made me hungry. I would totally try dog. you think different breeds taste differently?

    July 1, 2011 at 10:03 am | Reply
    • Shish-Ka-Dog

      Small dogs taste like chicken wings – boney but tasty. Large breed dogs have more fat and taste like bald eagle.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:32 am | Reply
  12. Rob

    Hitler should have included vegans on his hit list.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:03 am | Reply
    • dogs rule

      That comment is twisted and evil in so many ways I can't even find the words. Shame on you.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:55 am | Reply
  13. Hermanocleas

    Didn't read all the posts but... the reason I believe these dogs in particular should not be used for consumption is that they are clearly domestic dogs. These dogs have been originally bred to be our companions not our dinner. It is cruel for this fact alone. People who eat domestic dogs are clearly lacking in the civility, compassion and responsibility sector or are starving to death and simply have no other choice. I commend those who work to bring knowledge to the people who support this unnecessary, inhumane, lower tradition. It is should simply be below the people of Korea and any other developed country to eat domestic dog.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:03 am | Reply
    • Khrys


      I sincerely hope you do not consume beef at all. Otherwise, you'll need to beg forgiveness from a billion Hindus for consuming their sacred animal.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:15 am | Reply
    • Cosmetics Designer

      What about dogs for research? I've seen a hundred cute beagles caged in a small building (in the US) for toxin research.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Reply
  14. kilcourtney

    You all love dog meat anyway, anytime you go to a chinese restaurant what do you think your eating?

    July 1, 2011 at 10:03 am | Reply
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Bigot. I know the people who run my local Chinese restaurant, and they are ok. American people might be putting raccoon or possum in the burgers down at the Burger Clown, but the Chinese are touchy about their food.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:43 am | Reply
  15. JoeW

    There are a couple of reasons why eating dogs in civilized society is wrong (I use the term "civilized society" b/c in situations like Shackleton's expedition to the South Pole where you have problems keeping the humans and the dogs live–those are atypical and extreme worlds where normal rules don't apply).

    1. Dogs have been bred over centuries to produce a creature that uniquely seeks human approval. We've bred chickens or cattle or other lifestock to enhance their agricultural productivity. The unique element about the selective breeding of dogs (which has produced hundreds of distinct breeds many of which have very specific purposes) is that dogs seek human approval and want to make us happy. To eat dogs is effectively to betray the species.

    2. To argue in theory that "meat dogs" are okay b/c they bred and raised to be food is much like the theory that prostitution is okay b/c it's between two consenting adults–it ignores the reality of the situation. In theory prostitutes are consenting adults. In reality they're often minors, forced into, placed in extreme situations where to say "no" is to be beaten or even killed. Homeless or abandoned dogs, runaways, in some cases even stolen dogs end up in the "meat" category. Furthermore, there is often little or no regard for the dogs themselves. There are hundreds of video and documented accounts of dogs raised in pens too small to turn around in, or dogs who never exit their crate until they go to be killed and processed, or dogs who are inhumanely killed (the account above of the puppy barbecue is not the norm but also not surprising).

    3. Just b/c something is "tradition" doesn't mean it should continue. We've got a near extinction of rhinos and something that's driving it further is the belief in some cultures that pieces of the rhino (like the genitals) have some medicinal value (so we see poaching and illegal marketing). Does anyone want to argue that should continue just b/c it's a cultural tradition? How about killing whales? While those two examples involve species that have seen their numbers reduced greatly, the point is that there are plenty of times when the world says "we don't care if this is a cultural tradition–it needs to change."

    July 1, 2011 at 10:03 am | Reply
    • sigh

      Cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, and more are all bred and have distinct breeds with distinct qualities. I have horses, yet I also know the value of their meat. Burro is the same. The problem is you want to apply western philosophy and values to another culture. They didn't invite our involvement and it's purely a cultural/internal issue that doesn't warrant us jumping in. Before you get too critical, then research every cultural and religious objection to what's in your diet and give those items up when someone opposes the consumption. Once you've done that, then you may have grounds for dictating what others may or may not enjoy. As it stands however, you're attempt to restrict the freedoms of others to live life on their terms is far more appauling than them eating dogs.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:22 am | Reply
    • GAH!

      @sigh: Yes, but cattle as we see in the west was specifically bred long, long ago as a source of meat and milk. Horses were bred as beasts of burden. Dogs, on the otherhand, were bred from wolves to specifically assist humans in hunting and herding. Dogs have been bred to seek human approval, and to be our companions for thousands of years. Cattle have not been bred in such a fashion. Futhermore, there is strong evidence to suggest that dogs, unlike cattle, are sapient; that is to say that they are aware of their own existence. For most people, sapience marks the line between beast and personhood. That is the difference, and to ignore it is stupid. I condemn anyone who raises dogs for food.

      July 1, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  16. NUinNC

    I think this is a relevant question. Most of us are aware of the great abuses within the U.S. beef and pork industries, yet we continue to eat cows and pigs. Pigs are extremely intelligent creatures, and cows are usually gentle giants. We either eat sentient beings or we don't... to pick and choose is just imposing personal value systems on other cultures.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:04 am | Reply
  17. Brian

    The difference between dogs / cats / horses and other production farming animals is that dogs / cats / horses have obvious compassion and understanding in their faces. Look at a cow / pig / sheep / goat and tell me that it understands anything...

    How anyone could work in a "dog farm" and not feel like a complete waste of life is beyond me.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:04 am | Reply
  18. tcf098

    Sorry, we humanize our pets – whether they're dogs, cats, fish, birds...whatever – and treat them as family. Consuming a dog or cat in this country is akin to cannibalism. It's just not a societal norm, and rightfully so, never will be.

    When Rover dies, we don't throw him on a grill and eat him. We cry and mourn for weeks after giving him a proper burial, much like how we'd treat a death to one of our close human counterparts.

    This isn't a "discussion" that can be had on CNN.com, or anywhere else in the US.

    To the author, I ask you this: will you eat your mother when she passes away?

    July 1, 2011 at 10:04 am | Reply
    • Khrys

      Well put, the key phrase in your response is "in the US". However, the article is about the dog meat trade in South Korea. It is strange where a country that prides itself on the freedom of speech would impose certain views upon the citizens of another sovereign country. Let the citizens of the said country decide on their own what to do. The article acutally pointed out that due to many objections of the South Korean citizens, one of the traditiona dog meat eating event was cancelled. So, leave the South Koreans alone. They are doing fine just by themselves. We have too much of our own issues that need our attention.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:28 am | Reply
      • tcf098

        This article appears on the front page of the US edition of CNN.com. My argument is this is not a discussion that needs to be had in the US.

        I'm all for allowing other cultures to do what they want as long as it is internationally lawful (i.e. the international ban on whaling and Japan's refusal to abide).

        July 1, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  19. Sean

    I'm glad that CNN found this worthy of their homepage. Another USELESS post they put up... this might as well have been entitled "crap I heard from while at the mall."

    July 1, 2011 at 10:04 am | Reply
  20. Patrick

    For me, it's a feeling of connectedness to dogs which make me feel like eating them is out of the question. When I see a dog, I immediately see a friend – not an animal – and it might stem from humanity's bond with dogs that goes back thousands of years. In my lineage dogs were herders. My ancestors couldn't have survived without them, which is true for many of us in the West. In the East, where agriculture was king, maybe that wasn't the case as much. I have no scientific proof and I have no idea what I'm talking about, but that's how it feels. I would eat my own arm before I would eat a dog.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:04 am | Reply
  21. NotForYou

    Meat is meat. Get over it. Animals are on this earth to be our food.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:05 am | Reply
    • Jess C

      You narrow view, not mine.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:06 am | Reply
      • Khrys

        Of course it is his/her point og view. He/she said it. The name says it all: "NotForYou".

        July 1, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • Luthien

      Humans are meat too. I dare you eat a family member of yours when it dies. Using the term "Meat is meat" is stupid.
      Go to the Amazon, they will gladly hunt, torture you, and then you eat you.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:09 am | Reply
  22. Amiee

    It is disgusting. But only because were not from there. In the Hindu religion it is a horrible act to eat a cow. There really is no difference between eating one mammal over the other except the stigma that is created in a particular culture. However, you won't find me eating a dog myself, but then again, I try my hardest not to eat any mammal at all. I love all animals, and they should never be treated poorly, even if they are to one day become food. It is not the eating of an animal that is inherently wrong, but the manner in which they are treated by their caretakers on the journey to their fate. And in the Western World, we have nothing to brag about. Factory Farming is just as horrifying as what is going on in China with the dogs.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:05 am | Reply
  23. tcf098

    I'm seriously considering dropping CNN.com from my daily pages to visit. This is just garbage.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:05 am | Reply
  24. Brett

    Some people have pet pigs. They think you're a heartless evil villain when you eat pork.
    Some people have pet cows and others worship them. They think you're a heartless evil villain when you eat beef.
    You people have pet dogs. You think they're a heartless evil villain when they eat dog.

    Why are you more right than they are?

    July 1, 2011 at 10:05 am | Reply
    • Brian

      1. Pigs are, well, pigs. They don't understand anything and they wallow in / eat their own feces. I've met some wonderful micro pot-bellied pigs but in the end their just a mindless eating machine.
      2. People that worship anything are daft to begin with.
      3. As I said farther up, dogs are companion animals. If cows or pigs sought human attention, helped humans to tame the wild (in any sense other than providing food) during expansion, saved lives on a daily basis, helped people to live better lives on a daily basis (in terms other than providing food) then I would view it differently.

      Comparing production animals to something that has aided the human race (in terms other than providing food) for thousands of years is completely absurd. Dogs are inherently attatched to humans. They seek interaction, they seek to help, and they seek to comfort. You don't eat something that has been bred to be your companion.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:17 am | Reply
  25. JagPthr

    Emily Lodish is just another CNN "noobreporter" looking to move up the ranks with a controversial topic. Moving on.

    The only thing that can be gathered from this article is that many (not all) Asians are too incompassionate towards traditionally non food-trade animals, preferring to consume them for needless purposes (Asian men needing erections, puhleeeeeze, consider getting a penile implant losers!).

    July 1, 2011 at 10:05 am | Reply
    • Khrys

      Wow. Generalizing much, JagPthr?

      This Asian man is satisfying an British/German wife everynight. Does that make yours shrivel a bit? You Bigot!

      July 1, 2011 at 10:43 am | Reply
  26. !!!!!

    What's wrong with eating dogs??? Have you ever owned one? Ignorant humans! Animals have no choice we are inhumane barbarians to do the things we do to animals. But we live in blindness because this society claims it's normal to inject animals with hormones cage them up rase them to kill them. How humane is that!

    All living creatures have souls and emotions. What's wrong with eating humans then? We're the one's distroying this world and overpopulating it! If it's okay to slaughter, mistreat, and eat what was once a living creature?!

    I don't know what this world has come to but it's not going to end good! We are distroying this earth and it's the very thing that gives us life!

    July 1, 2011 at 10:05 am | Reply
  27. Rick Brackeen

    People are so cruel. Anyone who would do this to a dog, cat or any pet animal isn't fit to live themselves.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:06 am | Reply
    • Hungry

      These cruel people should be killed humanely and then consumed as delicacies.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  28. Susan

    It's just wrong because it is. We do not naturally hunt wolves for meat (except for ceremonial purposes – yuck). But for sustenance, we eat hooved, herding type animals or fish, etc. That is meat on the hoof, not dogs. Dogs are our companions. This is not cultural, it is anthropological. People would only resort to eating their dogs in a severe famine, and it was regretable. You don't need logical arguments to be against eating dog anyway, it's just wrong in your heart – and that's what people in these countries are starting to embrace finally.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:06 am | Reply
  29. Ron

    I was going to say that we have become more civilized and do not need to eat dogs but after I read a lot of posts here I changed my mind!

    July 1, 2011 at 10:06 am | Reply
  30. Mustang95

    Ah, yes... This simply provides more verification for the guiding theorem and principle I have believed most of my adult life that most of this world, the "human" world that is, is a backward, barely civilized and generally smelly ****hole in which every kind of inhumane brutality is valued by some tribal fuzzy-wuzzy somewhere. The fact that the United States seems to be moving in the same direction with its bold advance back to the 18th century utopia of "The Founders" (genuflect please) demonstrates that all complex systems will eventually reach equilibrium.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:06 am | Reply
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