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. Patrick

    I'm in the military and lived in South Korea for 18 months. After meeting some of locals, they took me to dinner one night. It is common practice to eat what you are served in Korea and it is considered impolite to refuse.....you at least have to try it.

    On the menu was dog meat stew......and I'm happy to report that it is actually pretty good! Who knew?

    July 2, 2011 at 2:34 am | Reply
  2. SkyJelly

    So many of us americans feal we have high moral standards, We think everyone in the world should follow our example. We make up almost 5% of the World population. We are Ranked by country 20th (not great) in education, but we think we are 1st. Look, no one wants to kill your dog. No one is trying to force you not to eat beef (which is domesticated btw). Lobsters get boiled alive... should we be more humane and kill them first? lol
    How about this... try googling delusions of grandeur: if you run across any big words try dictionary,com

    July 2, 2011 at 3:07 am | Reply
  3. Eric

    Does a bear worry about the morality of eating a fish? We have the luxury of worrying about the morality of eating the flesh of any creature because we are spoiled by the bounty we possess. There are people on this planet who would sacrifice their life in order to provide sustenance for their child. Go ahead and pass judgment on them for doing whatever it takes to survive. It is easy to be morally superior when you can afford it.

    July 2, 2011 at 3:16 am | Reply
  4. Harry

    There is a book that tells us what animals we can eat but seeing this crowd seems morally and spiritually ignorant i would hate to waste your sick minds to take time to read it. Does Genesis ring a bell you morons

    July 2, 2011 at 4:28 am | Reply
  5. Rocco

    If you eat meat you would eat any kind of meat it'd taste good to you. And I agree it could be any kind of meat from ligs to crocodile to humans, no difference, someone has been killed/suppressed whatever. The choice is to eat meat or not, we as humans are able to make a choice.if you make the choice of eating meat please dont't be a silly judgemental person.

    July 2, 2011 at 4:30 am | Reply
  6. Minji

    I am Korean and I have lived in South Korea for my whole life except for a 3 years in America and I have never seen anybody who eats dogs. And even if there were a lot of people, isn't it as bad as eating a cow or a pig? Why is this considered morally wrong? As a dog lover, I would never eat a dog but I don't understand people who have eaten animal meat all their lives and be disgusted at people eating dog meat.

    July 2, 2011 at 4:39 am | Reply
    • spammerstakeahike

      @Minji – I am Korean too and it's worth noting how you and I have different opinion on this matter. I know why you say meat dog is okay because I've had plenty of opportunity to discuss the issue with many Koreans. All of them say ; meat dog is different from a pet dog.
      As people have already said hundreds of times ; dogs have been bred to be a companion animal to humans for over 15000 years. It's in their genes, it's their instinct to wanting to become a companion to Man. You can't erase that hardwired fact no matter what some Koreans often fall back on as their mantra – "Meat dog and Pet dogs are different". They're not different, take my word for it when I say a meat dog is no different from a pet dog. I've had opportunity to interact with mixed white Jindo's (which also are used as meat dogs) and they're as playful and have all common pet dog instincts as my Shih Tzu has.

      Take a look at this link, "a meat dog's diary". The neurronggi ("shit dog", a.k.a "meat dog") was rescued from Moran Market. It became someone's pet. Would you easily categorize this dog as being different, e.g. a meat dog?


      Take a look at the movie clip showing a typical dog meat farm. All the dogs are at least to say very eager to interact with the camera man, wagging their tails, jumping up and down. Who taught them to behave like pet dogs? The farmer? Or natural instinct?



      You can't deny that dogs and humans exist to interact, a give and take relation. If you then take one of the meat dogs out and hang it, bludgeon it to death, it's called betrayal. Simple as that.


      July 2, 2011 at 5:40 am | Reply
    • spammerstakeahike

      For all of you who plan to visit Korea and want to try dog meat (out of curiosity, or doesn't want to upset your hosts) just don't do it. Would you eat foie gras, go and see bullfigthing, drink bear bile just because you wouldn't want to offend someone or wanting to live like a local? Don't deceive yourself into believing you're open minded. A small change of attitude matters. Always.

      July 2, 2011 at 6:27 am | Reply
    • Chris

      Minji is a liar! I lived in Korea for 3 years and Boshintang restauranst are everywhere! Go to another Takeshima protest and leave the sane people alone.

      July 2, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Reply
      • spammerstakeahike

        @Chris – I don't think Minji is lying. I've been to Korea numerous times too and you really have to look for the boshintang houses. Last time I was in Seoul, I saw 1 boshintang house. None in Busan. They're not really easily stumbled upon. You see more McDonalds and Papa John's.

        July 3, 2011 at 4:41 am |
      • Joe S

        The reason you don't see restaurants in Seoul that serve dog meat is because because SK try to clean up its act for the Olympics. For some reason they thought serving dog would make them look like a savage and backward country. Wonder why. But you can still get it in Seoul. They just don't put it on the menu,

        July 5, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  7. Kim She

    Dear neighbor,
    I like grilling dog in a kitsch rub. One neighbor has made a point of writing to a large public audience how disgusted she is with the smell of my grill. This Grillocracy shows just how stuck up people are about what is supposed to smell good. My mom thinks the slow smoked dog is gourmet. The audacity that someone else's taste automatically makes my great grilling smell bad is a direct insult to culinary values. so lady, if you think my grilling stinks, you haven't experienced from my side of the street, where is smells plain and simply putrid.
    keep you stink in you own back yard.

    July 2, 2011 at 4:42 am | Reply
  8. WonderSpring

    You NEVER eat your friend, human or animal, unless one is literally starving to death(Even then humans must not be killed to be consumed). Dogs meant to be humanity's friends, NOT food.

    July 2, 2011 at 5:11 am | Reply
  9. spammerstakeahike

    @ Re: Pray for the Dogs
    "Hello All, Rather than attacking each other, here are two websites to look at. They are demonstrate that we have many brothers and sisters in Korea who are working to help end the suffering of sentient beings.


    True, well said. There are many animal right organisations in Korea, and they're very active. KARA, Care and many others work hard for a change every day, fighting the battle against dog meat traders and ignorant politicians. It's comfy to discuss uncomfortable things on the internet where you don't have to see dogs and other animals being abused 24/7 to make men's bodies cooler and increase their darn stamina, all myths based on blatant lies and misconceptions. Give these people some credit!
    By saying dog meat is a part of a culture, we shouldn't raise our voices, dog meat tastes like chicken etc you're just spitting the hard working people in their faces.

    July 2, 2011 at 5:20 am | Reply
  10. ron brooks

    Thailand, the land of smiles is also know for eats dog eating ways in the country. They generally let their dogs breed and just live in the cities and round them up when they have too many and are sent to the market to be sold for food.

    July 2, 2011 at 5:23 am | Reply
  11. spammerstakeahike

    More movie clips to those who insist "meat dog" is different from "pet dogs".
    Look at these meat dogs and ask yourself what makes them different from pet dogs.




    July 2, 2011 at 5:48 am | Reply
  12. Melissa

    You go Maya....I support you 110%. These people on here saying they would eat dog are just horrible. They are one step away from eating their fellow humans. A dog is a companion. Period. They love us, protect us, assist some people with disabilities. They are capable of showing affection and truly have a soul. Obviously a few humans here are lacking a soul and a brain for that matter.
    Eating dog is wrong and Korea, China and other countries doing so should all be boycotted.

    July 2, 2011 at 8:33 am | Reply
  13. barb

    Dogs have been companions to humans since caveman days. You can see the deep genetic betrayal of this friendship in their eyes when we slaughter them. They trust us, they love us...........and these people slaughter them in front of each other. This is a profound and DEEP BETRAYAL of the protection, companionship and love this species has given us since we lived in caves.
    This is wrong on so many levels. Looks at these dogs faces "I loved you for THOUSANDS of years, and even protected your children and you do THIS the me??"

    Heartbreating and horrific.

    July 2, 2011 at 8:35 am | Reply
  14. Chris Scott

    Killing an intelligent creature is murder. Period.

    July 2, 2011 at 8:44 am | Reply
  15. Slade

    Intelligence is a subjective term and cannot be defined. This is a cultural issue. Strict Hindus do not eat beef as the cow is a protected animal and dairy cows are treated like members of the family because of the milk and ultimately cheese that it provides. There is a strong connection with horsed all around the world but there isnt as much of an argument when it comes to eating horse meat although horses could certainly be considered intelligent creatures. If the culture evolves in Korea to the point where eating dog is taboo, then thats part of evolving culture, not some strict set of more standards that are different the world over. Be more receptive to other peoples ideas but if your morals lead you to want to stop the eating of dog, you have every right to protest, which will in turn, over time, change the culture. But one thing that doesnt change culture, arguing on a silly blog comment. Ron Paul 2012

    July 2, 2011 at 9:08 am | Reply
    • Maude

      Hindu's also drink their Urine. There is no credibility there. India is rotting in its own filth.

      July 2, 2011 at 10:17 am | Reply
  16. Jonathan Sorrell

    Obviously this headline was designed to provoke and attract a deluge of feedback, and subsequent backlash, which it succeeded in doing very nicely. In all seriousness, it's clearly a nonsensical question – and I hope the cancelling of the Seoul festival signifies that strength of feeling in numbers does contain sufficient potency to bring about change and reversal. Now we have to look at the far bigger mountain – China – and may this snowball continue to gain momentum.

    July 2, 2011 at 9:32 am | Reply
  17. Rebecca Alexander

    No, it is NOT ok to eat dogs or any other animal. I hoe they all get rabies(the humans eating dogs that is)and DIE. And ONE of the things that often happens when humans eat dogs is that they do get rabies(amongst other things)and die/karma

    July 2, 2011 at 9:38 am | Reply
  18. Maude

    Try this:
    1lb of fresh dog meat. Heat little olive oil in a wok. Place dog meat in the wok and let is simmer for three minutes. Add half a clove garlic, two teaspoon sugar, some ginger and fresh onion (to taste). Add two tablespoon soy sauce.
    Add chilli paste to taste. Serve with rice or noodles. Yum Yum enjoy. White wine please.......

    For desert some monkey turd on a stick.

    July 2, 2011 at 10:11 am | Reply
  19. Maude

    Dog fried rice with turnip greens served piping hot. Side of cat paws and a cold drink.

    July 2, 2011 at 10:24 am | Reply
    • Jonathan Sorrell

      I hope this comment was sarcastic.

      July 2, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  20. Linda Camac

    The question is 'what is wrong with eating dogs'...where do I begin? Dogs are COMPANION animals, dogs lead the blind, aid the police, aid soldiers, secure our borders, dogs love us.
    Dogs also do not enter into slaughter passively or quietly. They are smart and they feel the despair, the hopelessness, the terror of being with humans who want to do them in, and of course they feel the pain.
    Tradition is NEVER an excuse for cruelty to animals.
    Would you want to bathe your best friend in BBQ sauce and grill them up? Unthinkable!

    July 2, 2011 at 10:28 am | Reply
    • Max

      I've actually had BBQ dog and it wasn't that bad. Like with any meat it just depends on the chef.
      Your argument is silly. No animal passes quietly whenthey're being turned into food, and cows and pigs are much brighter than dogs, yet I still have no repulsion at eating either species. Death isn't pretty, but it's their death that gives us life. They're not companion animals, they're simply another animal we've domesticated to lose its killer instinct. At the end of each day, whether its a toy poodle or a turnip, your extended life will be responsible for another creature's death.

      July 2, 2011 at 11:16 am | Reply
      • Common Scents

        Your view is well thought from the karmic standpoint. All life takes life. But the farther down on the food chain (plants such as beans, greens, nuts), the more effiecient is the supply. A ton of beef will produce a pound of beef in a day, while a ton of bean plants will make a ton of beans in a day. Well grown veggies contian up to 20% protein and other essentials. Indulgence for flavor is just another addiction.

        July 2, 2011 at 11:34 am |
      • spammerstakeahike

        @Max – Koreans aren't starving. They eat dogs because they believe in its mythical properties.

        July 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  21. Common Scents

    Dogs are carnivores. Only scavengers (hyenas, zorillas (google THAT) eat carnivore carcasses.

    A cat will kill a mouse and eat it. A dog will kill a cat, but NEVER eat it. Pretainted meat is even rejected on the feral level. I;ve seen dogs in India eat everything and anything just to survive...but never another dead dog.

    The meat we DO eat is putrid enough. Go to meat org (put the period in there). Make your own choice once we're well informed and not just "commercially" conditioned.

    July 2, 2011 at 11:24 am | Reply
  22. Different View

    how would one reply if India who regards cow/cattle as holy condemns western countries as barbaric for eating beef I wonder?

    July 2, 2011 at 11:25 am | Reply
  23. Leslie Dear

    I think that is general...humans need to be moving AWAY from meat...

    Not saying meat should or can be stopped immediatly..

    But this..eating great companion animals..
    ..would be a step backwards on the evolutionary path...

    July 2, 2011 at 11:59 am | Reply
  24. Dog's Best Friend

    I wouldn't consider eating my best friend.

    July 2, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Reply
  25. oh please

    these people are like freaking primitives

    July 2, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Reply
  26. oh please

    these people are like freaking primitives

    July 2, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Reply
  27. Buster

    What any oxymoron that this article appears under the keywords ASIA and CULTURE when these so-called "customs" are so completely revolting and immoral. What a disgusting, LAZY way to feed such a backwards (yes, obviously backwards), overpopulated part of the world.

    The one thing they will notice is when we stop opening our wallets. Don't buy their cars. When you see MADE IN _________ walk away from it. BOYCOTT them. period.


    July 2, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Reply
    • Jonathan Sorrell

      I completely agree – the only problem is practically everything we touch and use today contains a component or material that has come from China. So it is practically impossible to boycott in real terms – but worth avoiding as many labelled products as possible. Hit their pocket – it's the only thing they'll feel !

      July 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Reply
  28. Nathan

    I, too, think it's wrong to eat dog. But what makes eating a chicken or a cow or any other animal for that matter better than eating a dog? Nothing. It's how we live in North America. These are many of our morals and not those of any other society or country. To say we are right and everyone else is wrong is just a stupid comment to make.

    July 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Reply
  29. Ho

    Before civilization, humans would eat anything they could to survive.

    Civilization comes along and humans corral cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, lambs or anything that is docile and has no clue as to humans raising them to kill and eat them.

    Excessive population and humans would eat anything to survive; EXAMPLE: ALL countries that are OVER populated, currently eat dogs, bugs and any docile food substance available to survive; it is acceptable to the population of the country.

    We as Americans we are being subliminally steered into accepting bugs (and greater bug contaminates in our food supplies), dogs and any docile food supplies available due to World Over Population.

    Face it, eatable food will always trump Gold, any time, any where.

    July 2, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Reply
  30. dogisyummy

    i like mexican dog. chi wa wa with taco sauce. very good and make me more like doggy style too

    July 2, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Reply
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