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. Paul

    We also do have teeth similar to dogs, wolves, and lions. They're called canine teeth, canine meaning dog.

    July 4, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Reply
  2. drstanley


    July 4, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Reply
  3. Osama

    All horses, dogs, cats, rats, bats, and mice should not be on anyones menu!


    I heard human is very delicious! Put I'll pass.

    July 4, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Reply
  4. Philip

    Anyone who advocates the killing of a dog is wasting space on this earth. The organizers of the "event" should be rounded up, sold to the highest bidder, and eaten live on the internet and pay-per-view.

    July 4, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Reply
  5. Dr. Alex

    I am disgusted and saddened by this story. I am especially appalled by the callous tone of the author of this piece, who stated, "Just because we don't do it in the U.S. doesn't seem to make for a very good argument." Really? Hey Emily, how's this for a scenario . . . I take your dog out of his cage (and let's assume he has been in a small cage with five or six other dogs for his entire life, just like in South Korea, with infected sores all over his body, no proper food or water, in a state of constant misery, and in pain and a state of terror the whole time), and I proceed to hang him from his hind limbs and viciously beat him with a bat, slowly, over the course of about an hour (this is done, according to bogus South Korean folklore, to ensure he suffers enough so that he releases lots of adrenaline, the chemical that is supposed to make his flesh taste better and increase the sexual prowess of whoever eats the flesh). He then dies a horrible, unspeakable death. Hopefully at this point he is truly dead, because the next step is to take a blowtorch and burn off his fur and "condition" his flesh for cooking. Now, I ask you, Is this something anyone in the modern world, anyone with even a speck of humanity left in their soul, would summarize as, "Just because we don't do it in the U.S. doesn't seem to make for a very good argument." You write this story, Miss Lodish, as if you were reporting on the latest trend in Manhattan eateries, not the barbaric and widespread slaughter of man's best friend in South Korea. The fact that a large group of morally reprehensible and greedy people in South Korea think it is okay to brutally kill our canine friends for food because it is part of their "tradition," does not make it acceptable behavior in today's world. In fact, I can't think of another recent story that made me as sick to my stomach and deeply touched me as much as this one did. Kudos, Miss Lodish, for your cold-hearted approach to a subject that we Americans apparently feel much more deeply about than you do. Torturing, lifetime mass caging, and brutally killing dogs for food and profit is morally wrong and it is a sin against the natural order of the world. This must stop, Miss Lodish, and South Koreans will–hopefully sooner than later–have to explain their complicity in this savagery. It is simply indefensible.

    July 4, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Reply
    • Jin

      I hope you don't eat other meat because if you do, then I hope you can explain how okay it is to brutally kill cows and pigs.
      And, I don't see why people who eat dog meat have to explain themselves to you. I'm all against dog meat myself, but I don't see why an outside culture has to have a debate about it. Do Americans explain their cow eating habit to Hindus?

      July 5, 2011 at 5:18 am | Reply
      • Paul

        Agreed 100%. This is what's wrong with many Americans today. They believe that their beliefs and culture is the correct one and don't even think twice about others or are ignorant towards them. It's just arrogant. You guys better wake up soon, there are many emerging powers out there with wildly differently cultures and traditions. Get use to it.

        July 5, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
      • Boop

        Cows and pigs are not tortured to death in the US as a matter of fact if anyone is caught doing it gets in trouble for it. And the majority of Asians do not eat dog meat and are fighting filth like you who believe it's ok. so Americans have nothing to do with this story.

        July 5, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
      • Paul

        Not once did anyone here say it was good to torture a animal to death before consuming. Learn to read. We are simply saying that there is nothing wrong with the act of eating dog itself. It is no different that eating a cow or a pig.

        Yes cows and pigs are not tortured, but their living conditions are horrendous. They are fed things that they were not meant to eat simply because it is a cheaper options. America is far from perfect when it comes to animal rights and humane methods of cultivations.

        July 6, 2011 at 4:18 am |
      • Jin

        @Boop- Did I say anywhere that I thought it was okay to eat dog meat? I specifically said I was ALL AGAINST dog meat. So do not put words into my mouth. What I am saying is that it really doesn't matter what any outside country thinks about the eating habits of another country. And that's why I bring Americans in to the picture. Why should Americans feel the need to have this long debate about the ethics of eating dogs when it's not even their own country? I think it's just pure ignorance that people can't accept other cultures when it contradicts with their own.

        Dog meat has declined in recent years and you know what, just some 60-70 years ago, when the country was going through severe poverty, people commonly ate dog meat. That eating habit from those years does not just disappear. Some older generations that were alive back then do continue such eating habits. The fact that in recent years, there has even been a debate about the problems of eating dog meat means progress. I believe that in the future, dog meat will be gone from Korea but it's not going to happen overnight. But it really doesn't matter what the US or other countries think. Unless Americans are ready to start debating about the ethics of other forms of meat, I don't see why they should be the one judging other countries. If Hindus began writing about the problems of eating cows, what are people going to say?

        I hate dog meat myself. My whole family has never eaten dog meat. Heck when my mom met my dad, one of the things she first asked him was if he ate dog meat. So both sides of my family and myself, have never eaten dog meat. So I think it's really ignorant when some people just give me these judging looks just because I tell them I am Korean. Even if I did eat dog meat, why should I be judged by a country that has no right to judge?

        July 6, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Jack

      Such savagery in killing dogs is deplorable – I could not agree more. I however cannot say that it is morally reprehensible to consume dogs. It is a matter of cultural difference. But animals are still living creatures and if we are to use them for human consumption, than it is only humane that we see such animals killed in the least cruel method deployable.

      July 5, 2011 at 6:15 am | Reply
    • spammerstakeahike

      Dr. Alex – well said. And rest of you guys who keep talking about pigs and cows : give up your mantra. It's not working. Dogs are able to defend themselves, and the farmers know it. Therefore, raising dogs that are constantly scared of you is mandatory. They are hit, abused and handled roughly. To make them obedient cattle-like animals. Dog meat industry cannot be separated from a lifetime of cruelty. And note that many of us who oppose this sick practice have repeatedly informed the rest of you that we're vegetarians.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Reply
  6. Chuck U. Farley

    If you don't like the customs of Korea..............DON'T GO TO KOREA! Don't make these people 'wrong' just because they indulge in certain practices that you find offensive. It isn't the responsibility of Americans to re-create the entire planet in our image!

    July 4, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Reply
  7. Mark

    My uncle went to a place that slaughter cows. He came back and vowed never to eat cow. He saw them crying before being slaughter.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:55 am | Reply
    • Michael

      Cows DO. NOT. CRY.

      Stop giving other animals on this planet a higher shelf just because YOU value them as something besides meat.

      And definitely stop telling other people in other parts of the world how to live their lives.

      End of discussion. Moderators, close the comment section.

      July 5, 2011 at 8:56 am | Reply
      • Mark

        Yeah, cows do cry. My uncle butcher pigs for a living and is okay eating pigs because he said pig don't cry. I am not sure of that. After his visit to a cow butcher plant, he came home crying.

        Now, he doesn't eat beef at all.

        July 7, 2011 at 4:43 am |
    • humanity

      Yes, cows do cry in a way or tearing and really TEARS IN THEIR EYES BEFORE KILLINGS

      July 5, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Reply
  8. grayland

    This is a very slippery slope. I'm an old farm girl and have no illusions or denial about where food comes from. I love dogs, too, but it's a cultural thing. Yes, the idea of eating dogs disgusts me, as does the notion of eating horse meat, but I'm sure opening a McDonald's franchise in New Delhi or a BBQ join in Tel Aviv wouldn't go over all that well, either. My point is, whatever creature we choose to consume, we have an obligation to treat it well, give it the best care we can in terms of basic food, shelter, medical, and social needs, and kill it in a quick, painless, and non-frightening manner. Temple Grandin has done a great deal of study in this area and her ideas should be implemented in the meat industry. In my own experience, whenever we had to have a steer "processed" for our family's consumption, my dad would remind us that a life had to be taken in order for us to eat, and for that reason never to waste or take food for granted. I still enjoy steak, but I inwardly apologize to the cow and thank it for its sacrifice.

    July 5, 2011 at 9:32 am | Reply
  9. Austin

    Many of you are saying that eating dog is horrible. We eat cows, which are sacred animals in India. I'm sure many Indians feel the same way about us eating steaks and hamburgers as many of you feel about Asian cultures eating dog. I doubt many of you would give up eating beef just because another culture and/or some people within your own culture disapprove.

    July 5, 2011 at 10:54 am | Reply
    • Steph

      There's at least one intelligent person on earth. Thanks Austin...

      July 5, 2011 at 11:45 am | Reply
  10. Ted

    Yes, other animals besides dogs are intelligent and have feelings. That's why we shouldn't eat any animals. STOP KILLING AND EATING ANIMALS! Just sayin'.

    July 5, 2011 at 11:58 am | Reply
  11. Dee Dee

    Evolution??????? STOP.. GOD made everything here on earth, We were put on this earth to eat anything we want. There are also consequences to what we eat. The bible says that we eat natural foods, and you shall lie a long life (health wise) and we sacrifice a lamb in his honor to eat,m that's really the only meat that we are really allowed to eat. Just like why is pig meat unhealthy? Dog meat is not something to eat without there being a consequence for eating it.

    July 5, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Reply
    • Mark

      You do understand that every society seemed to come up their own god right? See all the natives? See all their gods that we laugh of as a joke?

      Do you see that you're just like them? Your god too is made up. It's true that man is made to eat other animals, but to think that the bible told you so is wrong.

      July 7, 2011 at 4:53 am | Reply
  12. Boop

    Westerners have nothing to do with the movement against dog eating in Korea. It's Asians vs Asians. The dog in the picture above was saved by Chinese activists. However we are all free to have an opinion. Viagra is a better and more reliable option to the "benefits" of dog meat.

    July 5, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Reply
    • Katie

      Yes- by Chinese activists in CHINA. Not really Asians vs. Asians considering how nations like China consume more dog meat and they have the festivals. You make it seem like Chinese activists were rescuing dogs in Korea- just clarifying.

      July 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Reply
  13. Hillary

    I love dogs, it tastes good

    July 6, 2011 at 11:38 am | Reply
    • Yellow Chinese Dog

      I love humans. They taste good, part of my culture! Can I bite your leg. Human fingers deep fried served with BBQ are good too.

      July 6, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Reply
  14. JBlooze

    If you eat cow, pig, chicken, fish or anything else but veggies and you rail against eating dog on some moral grounds, you are full of crap. End of argument. A dog has no higher standing than a cow just because we make them pets. I have never eaten dog but there's nothing inherently evil or disgusting about eating one. Take your blinders off. If you're out there trying to stop dogs from being eaten but not other animals ask yourself why is that ok? Why does the cow deserve a life of being prepared for slaughter? Why a pig? Why a chicken? Why any of the other countless animals we dine on? Grow up. You are not better than anybody else because you don't eat dog but you eat other animals. There is no moral high ground here.

    July 7, 2011 at 7:35 am | Reply
  15. spammerstakeahike

    This is one of many ways dogs are killed for consumption in Korea, by hanging. Note how the death isn't immediate. They suffer for several minutes :


    All of you who keep ranting about "Indian people don't eat cows, so it's about culture difference" Tell me how to raise "meat dogs" humanely, humanely transport them and humanely end their lives.

    July 9, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Reply
  16. Trish

    Not only is a dog a companion animal, with higher intelligence, and loyalty, but they just want to be loved. Eat a cow not a dog!

    July 9, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Reply
  17. Dog the Bounty Paper Towel Hunter

    Eat me.

    July 13, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  18. Al

    meat is murder!

    July 14, 2011 at 2:47 am | Reply
  19. Nicole

    If you eat one kind of meat it's kind of hypocritical to give another type of animal "special status" just because certain cultures or individuals think they're somehow more worthy of life due to being a popular pet. I love animals, but I eat hamburgers, and I would eat dog too if it were served to me. Vegans-like most extremists-give a very biased and emotionally based argument, and arguing emotion against logic just doesn't make sense. Come to the table with facts, and don't think that just because you may not agree with something, that that makes it wrong. We could all stand to be a little more open minded.

    July 14, 2011 at 6:23 am | Reply
  20. Andrew

    Nothing about eating dog is any more wrong than eating cow. Speaking of which, the robust and woolly cattle local to the Scottish Highlands have a tendency to develop a more pet-like relationship with their owners, similar to the role of a family dog, but bigger and more placid, plus they give wool and cream. Oh, and cows are vegetarian. So are some dogs.

    As far as the early comments about humans eating humans? (turns out our meat is not much different from that of a pig, maybe a much-less-greasy bear...) We already did. More specifically, one reason the human race seems so physically unique among animal species is, we ate all our relatives. We hunted the species and subspecies most closely related to us until they all went extinct – and we're working on chimps next! (Still uncertain why Bigfoot stays out of view? I'm not.)

    July 14, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Reply
  21. seymour butt

    dogs are mans best friend. And a good source of protein. yum...yum

    July 25, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Reply
  22. spammerstakeahike

    Zarnaik – I am vegetarian. May I speak now?

    July 27, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Reply
  23. Arturo

    I have work before in small pig slaugtherhouse in my country, if you think that the pig dont have soul and fealings you have never withness the slaugther of a pig, pig cry like a dog or worse.

    August 1, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Reply
  24. shaun180

    Late comment but needs to be said, everyone here against the consumption of dogs and yet are okay with the consumption of other animals are complete hypocrites. The argument that some animals are meant to be eaten due to their level of intelligence and sociability is completely flawed and you people seriously should just stop talking until you get sufficiently educated.

    I have cared for dozens of injured wild animals and abandoned pets and in some cases I have had wild and domesticated creatures of the same species. Here are some facts I gathered from personal experience:

    Some species of wild animals can be domesticated and become highly socialised.
    Some domesticated animals such as pigs and sheep can be brought up as a pet and be very socialised.
    In some cases, wild animals can become more socialised than their domestic counterparts of the same species.
    Some 'domesticated' dogs are highly difficult to socialise and pose a danger to humans.

    It's great that people think killing dogs is wrong but you ruin it (along with your credibility as an intelligent being) by stuffing your face with KFC and McDonalds.

    August 8, 2011 at 7:10 am | Reply
  25. Julie Hamilton

    The sheer thought of dogs suffering and ending up in the 'meat' trade is deeply heartbreaking, but I feel equally the same for the pigs, cows, ducks, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, fish and any other creature that the human decide is fodder to appease taste buds – yes, it all amounts to a moment on the lips cost animals to suffer and die. Why? Because I don't believe in self-preference or self-interest terminology of what is companion, domestic farm, or wild. All are sentient beings and have a right to live free of human exploitation, human inflicted pain and murder. So wrong in our arrogance are we to think solace and pain are exclusive to the human race and its beloved companion animals and that the human animal and non-human animal are not connected by any means. All is inter-connected and scientific evidence is bringing forth such proof at a rapid rate.

    Viva vegan!!! The only ethical life-style to change the world for the better for human and non-human.

    August 24, 2011 at 7:43 am | Reply
  26. Gabriel

    Dogs give love unconditionally and completely loyal? Might want to tell the pregnant woman who was killed by her loyal and unconditionally loving dog.

    August 25, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Reply
  27. spammerstakeahike

    @Gabriel – it was a sad news to read..! But note that it was a pitbull. A breed known for its aggressions towards humans (and animals). Pitbulls should be banned.

    August 31, 2011 at 10:39 am | Reply
  28. Joe

    “Dogs depend on us for survival” – So do pigs.

    “Dogs are smart!!1” – So are pigs.

    “Dogs were bred to be docile towards humans” – So were pigs. Animals are easier to farm when they don’t want to kill you.

    “Dogs do rescue work, sniff out landmines, chase criminals, etc.” So? Dogs don’t do this because they are noble. They are trained to think they are playing a game. They find the right scent, bite the guy on the arm, they get a reward. They have no idea they are ever in any kind of danger. If dogs are so magical and noble, then people who are against eating dogs should think using them for this kind of work is horrible. A dog out on the battlefield isn’t willingly risking its life for some noble cause anymore than a toddler with a bomb strapped to it is.

    Also, cats don’t do these things. So does that make them okay to eat? 😉

    “Dogs are man’s best friend!!1” Dogs aren’t best friends to me or billions of other people. I prefer to have humans as best friends, not animals that are incapable of assessing character traits, holding conversations or having an interest in anything other than food and chasing a ball, etc. I could kidnap children and brutally murder them in front of my dog and he’d still “love” me just as much as he does now. Blondie “loved” Hitler just as much as any other dog “loves” their master. A dog is pretty much guaranteed to like you no matter what as long as you give it stuff. Having to resort to a dog being your best friend seems kind of sad.

    “We don’t eat carnivores!11” Just because you don’t doesn’t mean it is morally wrong. Also, billions of people eat tuna. Tuna are predatory fish. Is eating tuna barbaric?

    “@Gabriel – it was a sad news to read..! But note that it was a pitbull. A breed known for its aggressions towards humans (and animals). Pitbulls should be banned.”

    Actually, American Pit Bull terriers score higher on dog temperament tests than Golden Retrievers. Dog aggression and human aggression are not the same thing. My dog is a Jack Russell mix, a breed that was created to kill other animals, so I cannot let him be around smaller animals unsupervised as there is a good chance he will tear them to shreds. There is a reason why canine behaviorists are against BSL – it doesn’t work and is based on ignorance of dog behavior. Also, it causes many dogs that aren’t even APBTs to be taken from their families and killed. Just look at the dog Lennox in Canada.

    September 17, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Reply
  29. bja

    We could stop world hunger by exporting the millions of dogs we kill each year in shelters to countries where eating dog meat is perfectly acceptable. Better to use that protein source than burn it.

    October 22, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Reply
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