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. Ezenwa Azuatalam

    I'm an African and I love dogs-I have four and we play like friends-One shouldn't eat dogs for the simple reason that the good books said one shouldn't eat them; remember? Eat only the hoofed animals... we have enough animals on the menu(excluding pigs too; they'll eat even a dead man) to eat even though we all know vegetarianism is best-Vultures, cats, dogs, Pigs, carrion eating animals, like Lions, eagle etc are not for food-see Leviticus-Are Goats, sheep, Cattle, Rabbit, fowls like; chicken, duck, turkey, doves etc not enough? In Nigeria, recently, a dog eating tribe ate all their dogs and were left without natural warning when their enemies came at night to kill them on their beds-:)
    I love the debate, perhaps, it would save one dog's life!
    Imagine creation, man was not even meant to eat animals at all; only seeds, herbs and fruits were meant for both man and animals-we only added them to the menu when God cursed the Earth not to yield its strength...Please save our friends-Ha, man, what would you not do to offend your creator without reason???

    July 1, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Reply
  2. UnivPress

    Human First – Pets are not people – is the truth... Emotionally charged phrases like pets are people too only works with animal lovers who have gone so far that have lost their bearings as humans.

    If a human being thinks the rest of us are no different than the animals s/he has already shifted to the other side and should start calling him/herself an animal and not a human.

    July 1, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Reply
  3. Man's Best Friend








    July 1, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Reply
    • KOREAN3

      i do not eat dead things imagine eating mans best friend but you are for sure a living graveyard

      July 1, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Reply
  4. Isa

    I feel so disgusted, because I have a dog as a pet. Can imagine I eat my dog any time? It´s terrible think about it!
    My mother died and nowaday my pet is my only companion in my house.

    The love that we receive from dogs help us to feel alive when we´re alone. So People should stop to eat dog meat, it´s something inhumane!!!

    July 1, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  5. Roni

    I read some of the comments and my conclusion is: people leaving in reach countries have too much food on the market and too many options and don’t understand life in poor counties. When is one is hunger can eat everything, literary everything.

    July 1, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  6. Kleimi

    You son of a bitch, I have a husky and my wife and me is like our son, far from being a pet is part of the family, my son.

    July 1, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Reply
  7. John

    The practice of eating dog in Korea is fading away. Most of them are elderly who grew up with dog as a folk medicine. The youth of Korea have not developed a taste for it yet and prefer a hot fresh Krispy Kreme instead. There are more dog fighting operations in the U.S. like Michael Vick was once associated with than dog farming operations in Korea. Add to that the greyhound racing industry that has several owners that kill or abandon the animals when they can no longer produce at the track despite greyhound rescue groups that are willing to come pick them up and take them off their hands. Add to that the dog breeders in states like Missouri that have lobbyists to keep state regulators passing puppy mill friendly legislation. Spent five years stationed in Korea and while I knew there were restaurants serving dog, I never saw it. The government made it illegal before the 88 Olympics. They were still there, fewer in number, and you had to know where to look. And it was much more expensive than beef because it was illegal, it was a folk medicine and it was more expensive per pound to raise than cows.

    July 1, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Reply
    • spammerstakeahike

      @John – good observations. I agree mostly with what you wrote. But some younger people also enjoy dog meat. Younger men eat it for their sexual performance. Even some girls eat dog meat. As you know, some young Koreans have anti-Western sentiments (I'd say it's a result of a long and systematical brainwashing from the pro-stalinist people) and those people will go out and eat dogs just for the sake of it, whenever criticism is heard from the Western part of the world. So one have to tread carefully when venting criticism as a Westerner – the effect would most likely be the opposite.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Reply
  8. KOREAN3

    "The government made it illegal before the 88 Olympics."it is not legal or illegal here,another american ignorant how many are you anyway

    July 1, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Reply
    • spammerstakeahike

      @Korean3 – well, if you read the law surrounding dog meat, you'd be surprised how even Koreans are confused by the wordings. Basically some part of the industry is legal and some part isn't. Officially dog meat is actually considered as "disgusting food". Add to the fact that law enforcement are doing very little to shut down any illegal operation. Occasionally you'd see a dog abuser (dog meat operator) being taken in for questioning after having bludgeoned a dog to tenderize the meat and got reported by passerbyes.

      July 1, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Reply
      • KOREAN3

        the country's animal protection law passed in 1991 considers dogs to be "domestic pets." however authorities are giving the dog meat trade their silent blessing by turning a blind eye to this outrageous bloodbath throughout SK the illegal industry has organized itself well.It bribes government officials and police, hires thugs to intimidate animal welfare campaigners, and persuades newspapers to extol the "virtues" of dog meat.all facts are out there go get them

        July 1, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • spammerstakeahike

      @Korean – probably all true. Animal welfare law by the way is a joke in Korea. If you abuse your animal and get caught, authorites cannot take it away from you. You pay a small fine and that's all there is to it.
      But amendments to the animal welfare laws in Korea is on their way.

      July 1, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Reply
  9. KOREAN3

    we have over 600 farms raising dogs for meat in SK.get the facts and then come talk again.lets us fight this madness and stop eating dead corpses only vegans can talk in this pathetic american post

    July 1, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Reply
    • spammerstakeahike

      @Korean3 – nobody knows how many dog farms exist in Korea. Count in the bigger ones you probably are right in numbers but what about the many tiny backyard farms consisting of 10 dogs or less? Or the thousands of abandoned dogs that are caught and used as dog meat.

      July 1, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Reply
  10. Cyberpueblo

    At least they are eating them and not letting them go to waste. In the United States we slaughter them and send them to land fill.

    July 1, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Reply
  11. DRB

    The issue, which people seem to be missing , is one of the ability to humanly raise and slaughter animals. Regardless if they are smart, can be pets, know how to talk, are sacred etc. – all animals, pigs, chickens, sheep, dog deserve to be housed, fed and killed in non distressing or cruel ways. The problem with dog as a meat animal is because of their diet and social habits there really is not an economic way to maintain a facility. The cost of a high protein diets and adequate space would make the expense of raising the animals more than the market would bare. Because of that the dogs are raised in extremely poor conditions with inadequate food and sanitary conditions, disease is rampant (some communicable to humans including rabies and cholera) so the dogs are pumped full of antibiotics. The meat produced is often very low quality and there are substantial health risks to the consumer. Any regulations that would make the HUMANE raising of dogs for meat viable would render it uneconomic. While regulation might lend respectability to the dog meat trade, it would ignore the fact that there is no humane, economically viable method of commercial dog meat production. The inherent nature of the animal makes cruelty free farming an impossibility. With herbivores this isn't the case. I'm not saying cruelty free is the norm for them, but it is possible and still profitable and also becoming more prevalent.
    I will say the fact that the dogs die slowly in severe agony – the way they are killed is worse than any horror movie I have seen – is appalling. The slaughter of "standard" commercial animals (cows, chickens) is also often painful and should absolutely be improved upon, however the methods they use are designed for efficiency, NOT to purposely inflict as much pain as possible. I will throw out the morality card on that one. One of the reasons meat is aged and Kobe beef is slaughtered in specific ways is to prevent or break down the adrenalin that a scared animal releases in to the meat. It toughens it.
    As for the "improved vitality and stamina" – show me the scientific study on that one. The same one that shows that ape, bear and tiger paws, rhino horns, shark fins – fill in any endangered animal part – do. Yeah, didn't think so. Just saying something provides a certain result doesn't make it so.

    July 1, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Reply
  12. SamuraiShonan(at)blogspot(dot)com

    Dog eat Dog, so why not human eat dog?

    July 1, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Reply
  13. New Meanings

    Kind of gives a new meaing to Sheppard Pie! 🙂

    July 1, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Reply
  14. Lowchen20


    I wonder about Koreans and other Asian countries since it is a fact that they also bury animals alive when doing mass exterminations due to communicable diseases. They have recently buried thousands of pigs due to Hoof & Mouth disease. Local villagers said they heard the pigs crying under the ground until they finally died. I think this is BARBARIC. Why these animals are not killed first is a legitimate question. Is it cheapness???? Too many cruel acts against "food sources" occur in these countries. Believing that torturing dogs to get a hard-on and have sexual stamina is plain pathetic. Torturing and skinning dogs and cats alive to get a more tender meat... plain old ignorant and disgusting. Who can defend this???

    July 1, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Reply
    • Hi

      Buried alive? Gross!

      July 1, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Reply
  15. Hi

    No matter how much you post on this website, and no matter how much you are for/against eating dog meat, it's going to happen. We need to realize that some cultures are different that the standards in which you or I were brought upon. IF they want to eat a dog, then let them go ahead and eat one. These stories shouldn't affect your daily lives, and your affection for dogs. I have a dog, and reading this article doesn't change anything. I will always love my dog, and never EVER eat dog me. That's just me. WE need to learn to respect different cultures, and not arguing like idiots on this website!


    July 1, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Reply
    • DRB

      As mentioned by another poster, it was once culturally acceptable to own slaves. Or to allow children to work all day in a factory. Or to mass exterminate their own people. People both of those, and from other cultures, DID let these things affect their daily lives and I think the change was for the better. Saying " that is someone's culture we need to respect it" doesn't always make what they are doing acceptable or excuse people from pushing for change.
      You are a dog owner who loves their dog, if someone were to grab it off the street, torture and beat it to death, and then say well that is acceptable in my culture, I have a feeling you wouldn't have quite the same live and let live attitude.

      July 1, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Reply
      • -0--

        Being respectful of a different cultures view is different than the actions those culture chose to act upon. Owning slave, or completely wiping out a race isn't acceptable for any culture. Some cultures eat pork while others do not; some cultures eat beef while others do not.

        If someone came and snatched my dog while walking him, beat him in front of my eyes, then that person would have to fun for his life. That's how we see our pets in America!

        July 1, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
      • Marky

        If that statement had anything to do with what is really going on in Korea, I might agree with you, but it doesn't. No one has even suggested the Koreans are snatching people's beloved pets right off the leash and beating them to death right in front of the owner then eating them! Where is the common sense in this "discussion"?

        July 2, 2011 at 2:58 am |
  16. Lanceton

    Eating dog is wrong because most people living in developed countries only have about the same mental capacity of a Golden Retriever.

    July 1, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Reply
  17. Ivan

    This is so sad, The picture of that man petting that dog. I eat meat, beef, pork. but this is just different.Dogs are the most loyal creatures on earth. After seeing this article, I am extremely angry. If I saw the person or person`s killing these poor defenseless pets so they can have a delicacy I would certainly make sure, this would be their last day on this planet. I understand different cultures do different things, but this is just murder.This article opened my eyes. I have just made up my mind to become a vegetarian. I like dogs more than I like many people.How would the people killing these dogs like it the shoe was on the other foot, and it was them going to get slaughtered? I just can`t believe that humans can be that cruel.Wait until judgment day. Maybe they will be reincarnated as a dog!

    July 1, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Reply
  18. ann

    Dogs do not behave as other animals do. If I start crying my dog stops whatever she is doing and crawls up in my lap and tries to cuddle up with me. I have never seen a cow, pig, whatever do that or even try. I had a pet chicken as a child and it couldn't give to figs about me and my well being. It is wrong to kill and eat something that cares so deeply about human beings. It is a betrayal of their trust and loyalty and to the bond that has been formed with humans. I cannot imagine taking a trusting loving dog and eating it. It sickens me. Anyone who would is a callus being.

    July 1, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Reply
    • DK

      Have you heard stories where a dog ate the owner after they died. Dogs will eat other dogs to survive.

      July 1, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Reply
    • Ivan

      Ann, very well said.

      July 2, 2011 at 2:13 am | Reply
    • Marky

      People need to have a bit of sense about some of this. We had a case in our area where a woman's beloved Rottie ate her 3 wk old baby (who was in her crib). As the dog was being removed from the house, the mother of the dead baby said, "Please don't take my dog, I can never replace my dog! I can have another baby!" This is a true incident, and appears to be reflective of the way many of you think. I love my dog, but not more than my children, and I'm not blind to a sensible order of life.

      July 2, 2011 at 3:08 am | Reply
  19. Susan

    What's wrong with eating dog meat? You don't eat your friends.

    July 1, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Reply
  20. spammerstakeahike

    All the talk about India and their sacred cows that they respect. Didn't you know India exports a huge volume of (cow) leather to the rest of the world?

    July 1, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Reply
  21. Jim

    I'd like to eat my neighbor's dogs – that at least would shut them up. Maybe I can find some good recipes on a South Korean cooking website.

    July 1, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Reply
  22. Peter Warren

    Yes, that is a SMART questions. what IS wrong with eating dog? Now I come to think of it, what's wrong with eating people? If dog farm are OK, why not people farms, junk people, refreshing summer people soup and tasty barbecued people? If you can figure out what is wrong with that one, you might j u s t be able to figure out what is wrong with dog soup.

    July 1, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Reply
    • Thai

      Why are posters here comparing eating dog to eating humans? Do you compare eating pigs and cows to eating humans?

      July 1, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Reply
  23. Eat People Not Cows

    Most Americans have never seen a cow cry, scream, and bawl with suffering, or mourn the separation of their calves, but we eat cows. Pigs are very intelligent and have personality, yet Americans eat those too. I don't eat my pets, but Americans think they are on some moral high ground because they don't realize that cows also have personalities and suffer. Is this humane? It's yet another pitiful cross cultural attack by some stupid pigly American. Oh yeah, sheep bleet like someone getting murdered when they are killed for meat too. Personally, I refrain from dog eating, but around the world people must eat.

    July 1, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Reply
  24. Hot dog lover

    I love me a hot DOG or even a good ole corn DOG! Yum Yum!

    July 1, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Reply
    • -0--

      I'm sure you love yourself a hot dog between your buns too......!

      July 1, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Reply
  25. Brian

    The entire concept of right and wrong is based on the premise of popular culture. Currently, in America, the culture has dictated that dogs are man's best friend. Therefore, eating dogs in our minds is wrong. If another country's culture is to eat dogs, then it is not my place to judge them for what their culture deems okay. 60 years ago, this country's culture believed in segregation. Less than 200 years ago, this country's culture believed in slavery. Times change, and perceptions change. We can judge what they do if we want, but where does that really get us?

    July 1, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Reply
  26. Nelson

    I can say that I am one of a few Americans have have eating dog before. Mind you I was a child and my family background is of a culture where eating dog was acceptable. I was young enough that I don't remember the taste or texture, but I can verifiably say I have tried it. Today, I am still a meat eater. But, I am also a dog lover and own a very adorable beagle.

    Western culture holds dogs to a very high standard in society. "Man's best friend" is not anything you're readily hear in many Eastern cultures. But in the United States and in other equally modern and "civilized" cultures, dogs are almost humanized. Movies have been made with dogs as the central characters. They wear clothes, sleep next to us in our own homes and beds and even share food at our tables. It's easy to see how morally wrong it is to eat something we hold so dear as our best friends.

    However, in keeping away from being the ugly American, what may be morally wrong for us is morally acceptable for them and who are we to judge what other people find as a means to survive? We are lucky to have the food options we do, to the point where we can specialize our diets: carnivores, omnivores, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc. But if it's either eat the dog or die, I chose to not die.

    Mind you, I could never eat dog again as I'm such a dog lover now. I've seen first had how they slaughter dogs and it isn't pretty which is why I chose not to partake, however, I understand why people eat dog and I do not and will not impose my morals on another just because I think it wrong. That's their deal, but thank you very much for the offer.

    While we see images of cute and cuddly, they see delicious. It's all about perspective and I for one, don't want to be damned by someone just because I chose to eat beef or chicken or corn because they consider it sacred.

    July 1, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Reply
  27. Tom

    According to the Humane society 4 million dogs and cats are put to death each year in animal shelters in the US alone. In my local animal shelter the euthanized animals are sent to rendering plants where they are converted into fertilizer and pharmaceuticals. Its also estimated that nearly 5 million people die every year due to starvation. These are abysmal numbers but when put side by side its even worse. How many people could be saved if we utilized these unwanted pets as a food source? We will never know.

    July 1, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Reply
    • spammerstakeahike

      @Tom – I even hear euthanized pets from animal shelters, dead animals from animal testing facilities are ground up, processed and become pet food. In America. How much truth there is to it, I do not know.

      July 2, 2011 at 4:39 am | Reply
  28. One Starving 3rd Worlder

    Overfed, underproductive westerners are living a good life by robbing resources and enslaving people of poor nations.

    When you are near the death moment because of starvation, you will eate other humans, especially your fat western compatriots, let alone dogs that are just "mild manner" wolves.

    July 1, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Reply
  29. Tim

    Cultural differences are important and I agree that one should respect other cultures. That being said, I am so happy that this festival was protested to the point that it had to be canceled and that globalization has accomplished something that I agree with for once. If I could rescue all of those farmed dogs I would. just my opinion based upon our culture and my notion of morality.

    July 1, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Reply
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