What's wrong with eating dog meat?
A Chinese animal lover consoles a dog after a convoy of trucks carrying some 500 dogs to be sold as meat, were stopped along a highway in Beijing on early April 17, 2011, and the dogs were later rescued to the China Animal Protection Association. There were about 58 million pet dogs in 20 major Chinese cities at the end of 2009 and the figure is rising about 30 percent each year, according to a survey, as pet owners in China spend an estimated two billion USD a year on their animals.
June 30th, 2011
02:05 PM ET

What's wrong with eating dog meat?

By , Global Post

Barbecued dog and steamed paws?

These and so much more were to be had at this weekend's dog meat festival near Seoul.

Alas, it was not to be.

Animal rights activists put up such a stink that the organizers, from the Korea Dog Farmers' Association, said there was no way they could go through with the event.

"We couldn't possibly go on with the plan due to endless phone calls of complaint ... now there are few willing to rent us a place for the event," Ann Yong-Geun, a professor of nutrition at Chung Cheong University and an advisor to the association, told AFP.

Organizers of the festival had wanted to showcase the positive side of the dog meat industry in South Korea, where there are about 600 farms that raise dogs for meat, according to Ann.

Dog soup, or Boshintang, is a summer delicacy in South Korea, though the Wall Street Journal reports that it isn't as popular as the media would make it seem.

A minority of people eat it regularly. It’s consumed most frequently in summer but is available year-round. And it’s more popular with men than women and is said to possess qualities that "help stamina."

They were, for example, going to show videos of farms raising dogs under sanitary conditions — something, they will tell you, that would become a more ubiquitous practice were the industry legalized and regulated.

But for many activists, the humane treatment of the dogs is beside the point. To them, dogs are companions not a main course, end of story.

Read: North Korean propaganda.

The irony is that in South Korea, that wasn't really true until more recently. And even now, it's really only true in the city, where they raise "pet dogs," as opposed to "meat dogs."

As William Saletan wrote in Slate a few years back:

In the country, they raise "meat dogs," also known as "junk dogs" and "lower-grade" dogs. But you don't become a "lower-grade" dog by flunking an IQ test. You're just born in the wrong place. Then you're slaughtered and fed to a man who thinks he's humane because he pampers a Golden Retriever that has half your brains.

So, what's really wrong with eating dog? Just because we don't do it in the U.S. doesn't seem to make for a very good argument.

GlobalPost's Dog Meat Mafia series, delves into the seedy world of the booming dog meat industry in Southeast Asia.

Post by:
Topics: China • Culture • East Asia

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soundoff (2,494 Responses)
  1. Sandeep

    Sorry but this is just insane if not inhumane to me.

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

      I think you mean incanine.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Reply
  2. ElMEJOR

    Although I have yet to enjoy the taste of dog meat (that I am aware of). I do know people who have partaken and they were not displeased. In fact, you can find recipes online. Most of the negative comments here are not regarding eating dog meat, but how the animal is killed for the meat. These are two separate issues. If you want to focus on an animal being killed in a cruel fashion, then argue that. Do not argue what happens to the meat.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:07 am | Reply
  3. Iris

    I'm a vegetarian and I have 3 rescued stray dogs and would never knowingly or willingly eat a dog. but there are people who have pet pigs, pet cows, pet sheep who also have similar loving feelings toward their pets, yet in America it's totally acceptable and maybe even encouraged to eat these animals. Pigs are smart, trainable, and make great pets, yet bacon is such a popular and ubiquitous meat. I think it gets very tricky when you start to argue that some species of animal are "better" or "more deserving" than others..
    It's just what you're used to- you can't try to place American cultural framework upon a different country and then call it revolting and horrible. Besides MOST Asians, especially the younger or more educated, do not eat dog meat. It's a small minority that'll probably continue to dwindle in the future. SOME dogs are very smart, loyal, sweet, playful etc. but some are also violent, aggressive, etc. Be honest, not every dog is a perfect FIdo ready to pull its owner out of a freezing lake etic.
    Think about this too- thousands of homeless & unwanted dogs are euthanized each day in American shelters, they're overbred, tortured, discarded like trash. We have our own problems to work on here, before you start bashing on the "uncivilized Asians"

    July 1, 2011 at 10:07 am | Reply
  4. futurelawyer2005

    Are we forgetting that Koreans CLAIM to be Buddhists? And that, according to Buddhism, harming of sentient beings is unacceptable, especially if it's for purely personal, entertainment or selfish gain? (Rules self-defense as ok) Really....what a bunch of hypocrites.... Here's a verse for ya that probably most of those "animal activists" are living by, Mrs Emily: "Respect all sentient life as we are caretakers of things great and small"–Metta Sutta. IF you're so ignorant that you can't interpret what that means beyond it's superifical meaning, here ya go: in terms of nature, humans SHOULD be at the bottom of the food chain i.e. we don't have the sharpest claws, the highest jump, the longest life, the best memory, the stinkest spray, run the fastest, etc and etc and etc on into infinity. BUT......WHAT WE DO HAVE....is this mushy matter inside our skulls called brains. All we have is our intelligence. And our intelligence calls us to higher order behavior.....and eating "DOMESTIC", "COMPANION" animals is NOT higher order behavior. To all those of you here drawing analogies between cows (and Hindu beliefs), snakes, fish, etc....HUH?? Do I seriously have to point out to you that LIVESTOCK or WILDLIFE are NOT DOMESTICATED, COMPANION animals??? Seriously?? (and...please...let's stick to the situation presented, not 15 slightly related tangents)

    Lastly, Buddhism calls humans to use our brains, which actually put us at the superior end of the food chain, for good, not for bad. Siddartha Gotama recognized that, while humans can use our brains for such great things i.e. cure smallpox, build skyscrapers, the internet, it can simulatenously be used for such evil things i.e. cruelty, torture, inhumanity. Which do you think the Buddha wanted us to choose? And which do you think that the hypocritical, Buddha-claiming Koreans are choosing? I see evidence of both choices.....when it should really only be the one choice, in every action, in every value. Such hypocrites.....(and yeah, we could have conversations aaaalllll day long about how all religions are hypocrites in some way.....so spare me....and let's focus on this particular situation that is presented....thanks)

    July 1, 2011 at 10:07 am | Reply
    • Iris

      Buddhism is going out of style...most Koreans these days are die-hard Christians

      July 1, 2011 at 10:13 am | Reply
      • Mustang95

        That explains it...

        July 1, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • Doug At DailyHealthBlitz

      @futurelawyer2005
      Only about 1/5 of South Korea is Buddhist! Some lawyer you're going to make!

      July 1, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Reply
      • futurelawyer2005

        @Dave@DailyHealthBlitz (geez...self-promoting AND eating/self-esteem issues):

        You forgot to take into account that I taught English in Korea for several years. I am not wrong about the majority being Buddhist. Nor am I ignorant to the tenets of Buddhism as it applies to this topic (a direct result of having lived there for years). But, for the sake of argument, which you clearly love, let's suppose I am wrong about the FRACTION of Koreans who are Buddhist....what does that logically have to do with my being a good lawyer or not? Oh wait....it doesn't. Seems your logic and critical thinking are defective....which is usually direct reflection of the person themselves. I graduated in the top of my class and am currently a hard-working transactional attorney in Dallas. What are YOU doing??? I can only imagine you espousing daily rants at those who choose to cook their food or drink out of a bottle with BPA. hahaha Oh wait...I'm being trivial like you. So, back to being a mature adult, I confront and deny your misinformed fraction and troll-like behavior with my first-hand knowledge and experience. Have a nice day, mate.

        July 5, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
  5. Gross

    Dogs and Cats are part of my family, just like the humans! If someone was a lower grade of human I wouldn't eat them!! Sick.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:07 am | Reply
  6. Chris

    Dogs are different then other meat because dogs can become loyal, save people, comfort people. No other animal really does that other then cats.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:07 am | Reply
    • Anon

      Pigs do all of those things as well, as do horses and I'm sure many other animals. We only think of dogs and cats differently because as Americans we are used to these animals being pets.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:08 am | Reply
    • Jtau

      Pigs do that too. British police use them to find lost persons. Farmers use pigs to find truffles.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:09 am | Reply
    • Mich x 2

      To add to that sniff out bombs, drugs, find missing people . They are allowed to be companion animals and work with the blind and disabled . Yet some with eat the under the belief that they have special powers? That right there shows the ignorance of the person's eating them. Just because they can doesn't mean they should. If you followed this photo when it came out this truck was stopped by activists and paid off the driver to leave the dogs behind. They later found many of these dogs were ill and most had been family pets gone missing. Sick, sick, sick....

      July 1, 2011 at 10:24 am | Reply
  7. Anon

    American liberals always think they know best what everyone else should do. Just because some people keep cats and dogs for pets does not make them different or special biologically than any other animal. Some people keep pigs, cows, and ducks as pets too but that doesn't make them inedible. God put all plants and animals on this Earth for our benefit, what each group of people chooses to do with these gifts is entirely up to them, not us.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:07 am | Reply
    • Not All Docs Play Golf

      Your "God" put animals on earth for the sole reason of feeding your ignorant right-wing gut? Boy, I'm really glad I don't share your distorted right-wing wacko world view. Then, in your religious holier-than-thou self-righteous superiority, you hatefully bash "liberals." You are so typical, so classic, of the right wing self-centered world view.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:14 am | Reply
    • Matt from Dallas

      If that is what you actually believe then your god sucks. I suggest finding a new one.

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

        Sorry Matt but there is only ONE to choose from. And He gave us animals to use for different reasons - some for food, to help us in our work, or to be companions. God is awesome!

        July 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • fake_liberal_hypocrites

      not entirely agreeing with you but want to add one point.how can you call yourself a liberal when you object to someone else's behavior that has no consequence on you? just like gay marriage will not affect your marriage, other people eating dogs will not affect your diet or dogs. hypocrites. not that i am for or against it, let people choose for themselves

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

        It does affect the dogs though, who are sentient beings.

        July 1, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Atheist

      God is so awesome that He also put the dog eaters on this earth.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  8. Sue

    They are just sick. I have a dog and if anyone every touched him they would have to deal with me. These people who kill and eat these dogs should be slaughtered themselves.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:07 am | Reply
    • So hungry

      ... and eaten with wasabi sauce.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Reply
      • Mustang95

        And a nice chianti (key-YAN-tee)...

        I forgot a vegetable. How about a nice, quiet sweet potato. "Silence of the Yams!" 8=))

        July 1, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  9. Jtau

    So what if they eat dogs? Indians and many other hindus find our consumption of cattle to be morally appalling. Jews find the consumption of pork to be completely disgusting. I think it's fine if you don't agree on the koreans eating dogs, but if you're going there and forcibly impose your beliefs.....talk about Westernization. Send missionaries too while you're at it.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:08 am | Reply
    • Bingo!

      You're dead on. Not to mention these idiots wanting them to stop eating dog, but I guarantee you they aren't willing to pay for a "humane" solution. Are they going to pay to have the animals fixed? Isn't that "mutilation"? Suggest doing that to people and now we've crossed the line. Are they going to fund shelters? Are they going to do all this at their own expense, or dump it on someone else? I bet as soon as that bill comes due, they'll run for the hills and deny having anything to do with it.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:16 am | Reply
    • We all hunger

      It's a dog-eat-dog world.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Reply
  10. rATL

    You shouldn't be eating meat of any kind. There are way too many alternatives out there that are much healthier for your bodies and the environment than meat. An animal shouldn't have to die so that you can eat. Plant based diets are much healthier.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:08 am | Reply
    • Likes many forms of fungus

      A close friend told me he doesn't eat meat of lower-intelligent beings because "you are what you eat".

      July 1, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Reply
      • Mustang95

        So he only eats college professors, physicists and members of The Mensa Society?

        July 1, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  11. animalover

    Dogs, unlike other mammals, can understand the intricacies in different emotions of the human face. Its been proven that dogs can pick up on 99% of non-verbal cues from their owners...hence, "man's best friend"
    To eat them is disgusting, especially in a world where there is plenty of other options for food. To me, the equivalent of eating monkey or dolphin- neither of which I am interested in.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:08 am | Reply
    • Idiot

      Most animals can. Try hopping on a young horse when you're nervous and see what happens. Doesn't make them taste any worse, or less valuable as a source of nourishment. Are you going to foot the bill for taking care of all these dogs, or just try to force your will on them and then let them deal with the problem? You pay to keep them alive and don't you dare ask someone else to foot the bill whether through taxes or other. Still feeling righteous?

      July 1, 2011 at 10:13 am | Reply
  12. crunknasty

    Dogs are our friends. You don't eat your friends. Reading about a dogmeat industry makes me sick. Its true. Asians will eat anything with a heartbeat.

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

      Yeah, you were looking good until the last part. Did an Asian do your mom or something?

      July 1, 2011 at 10:11 am | Reply
    • Likes many forms of fungus

      Asians will even eat fungi--and tofu!

      July 1, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  13. !!!!!

    And to the ignorant idiot who said animals are on this earth to be our food. Read a book do some reasearch so you can educate yourself and see it's not the case!

    July 1, 2011 at 10:09 am | Reply
  14. melissa

    Whats wrong with it? Just about everything.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:09 am | Reply
  15. Eddie

    I think the analogies to eating pig or cow are valid, but just lead to the point that we shouldn't be eating any of these animals. With factory farms and rampant maltreatment of animals leading up to their slaughter in the meat industry, meat is both immoral and unhealthy. It made sense to consume animals at one time, but I think that time has passed. Not to forget that we have a growing global population with limited space and eating meat is not sustainable nor as efficient as eating vegetables.

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

      I agree. I've mostly stopped eating red meat. It's unsustainable....not to mention how much meat goes to waste. At one point we would use every part of the animal. Now, if something's not cooked "medium-rare", we throw it down in the garbage. So wasteful.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:49 am | Reply
  16. Matt from Dallas

    Emily Lodish – Please allow me to respond to your article as eloquently and thoughtfully as I can. Your argument is as gutless and heartless as it is logically fallible...I could make the same case for cannibalism using the, "well, other cultures do it, so don't judge" argument. In all sincerity, please do the word's gene pool a favor and never, ever breed.

    And CNN, shame on on you for putting this tabloid level crap on your website just to generate clicks.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:09 am | Reply
  17. Primitive Man

    They were the glowing eyes outside our campfire light, until one day when they came and joined up with us. They were the cry in the night that woke us in time, the lightning-swift attack that saved us from a beast, the fierce and loyal protector who guarded our families while we hunted. They fought rats for our food supply in deadly winters while we slept exhausted, and ran barking beside our horses as we rode to the hunt. No cow or horse or goat will step up and die to save you out of love. We brought them out of the caves with us, and we owe them for their loyalty and service, so eat something else.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:10 am | Reply
    • Greg

      Well said.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:59 am | Reply
    • aubrie

      NICE!!! They are a gift to humans from God.... God spelled backwards is DOG.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:10 am | Reply
  18. CW

    This article just ticked me off and made me hate people even more. That poor baby in that picture!

    July 1, 2011 at 10:10 am | Reply
  19. RC

    Anyone who kills a dog for food should be killed themslef, unless it is an absolute life or death survival situation. I would love to get my hands on ANYONE who kills an animal, especially a dog. They would regret their deeds 10 fold. ANYONE who abuses or neglects an animal needs to have the same form of abuse done to them for the amount of time the abuse was done to the animal...cowards!!!!!!!

    July 1, 2011 at 10:10 am | Reply
    • Fast Eddie

      So, do you remember the EXACT moment you took leave of your senses?

      July 1, 2011 at 10:14 am | Reply
    • Jamie N.

      So your a vegetarian?

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

      You spoke nothing but ignorance. I love the taste varies meats. Rabbit, goat, deer, lamb, are very tasty. The book the that I read doesn't mention that I will eternal damnation for consuming such meats. Which book you ask...The Bible. If you can point where it says that I will have eternal damnation in that book, I'll change. Until then nothing you PETA people say really matters!!!

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

      Wow, a real fire-breathing internet badaz. You don't see those every day- oh wait, you do. Yes, you are a dangerous guy, and you'd rip off their heads and pee down their necks, because you are pure awesomeness. Yawn.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:47 am | Reply
  20. Hypocrits

    In India they worship cows. Muslims consider pigs unclean. In Denmark, they eat horse. In Italy, they eat burro. If you're feeilng righteous enough to try and force your morals and values on others, are you willing to give up eveyrthing in your diet that others find offensive? Give up that beef, chicken, fish, pork. lamb, etc? People around the world view different species in different light. Personally we need to stay out of it. If you don't want to eat it, then don't. I'm passionate about horses, but don't have a problem if others find them delicious. I'd rather see one humanely put down and used to feed people over suffering from ailments due to old age. I guess that raises another point. If they let the dogs live, are you going to foot the bill for taking care of them? Don't tell me you want to ban the consumption and force others to foot the bill when you get your way and they have to figure out what to do with them because of you.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:10 am | Reply
    • SamuraiShonan(at)blogspot(dot)com

      Excellent words and I agree with you.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:14 am | Reply
  21. Dan

    It's a cultural thing, which of course the Western world wouldn't understand. Having been in Asia, there are parts that find it barbaric that we eat cow, or that we kill horses for glue, dog food, etc...

    It's all about cultural norms... The "barbaric" views work both ways is what I'm saying.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:10 am | Reply
    • SamuraiShonan(at)blogspot(dot)com

      Well said.

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

      You mean dogs eat horses?

      Dogs are just as bad as those Koreans.

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

      The slaughter of horses is illegal in the US. Do a little research, champ.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:23 am | Reply
      • ryanzzzz

        Wrong, Brian. Horse meat consumption is not illegal in the US and some horse slaughterhouses still exist. More ignorance (why don't you do some research, pal?)

        July 1, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • Likes many forms of fungus

      You're right; it's cultural. But our culture is entirely hypocritical about this, which you would realize if you were to witness how health research with dogs is carried out in the US.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Reply
  22. M. Python

    My dog's got no nose.
    "How does he smell?"
    - Awful !

    July 1, 2011 at 10:11 am | Reply
  23. SamuraiShonan(at)blogspot(dot)com

    Nothing wrong with eating dog meat in my opinion, as long as it was not raised as some persons pet before. I have eaten it in Seoul.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:11 am | Reply
  24. Wizard1234

    It is wise to remember that when canis lupus became canis lupus familiaris some 15,000 years ago Rover was not viewed as a family companion but a working animal (hunting, herding, hauling, protecting). We selectively bred the dog into the hundreds of recognized breeds we have today, many of which are basically worthless except as a pet.

    That some cultures chose to use the dog as a source of protein is not surprising. Other instances of use of he dog as sustenance abound. Read the account of Roald Amundsen's race for the South Pole and discover the fate of the dogs he used to haul the supplies on their journey.

    As some of the posters point out, we humans are not particularly fussy about the way we harvest domesticated animals for food. That dogs are unceremoniously slaughtered for food should come as no surprise.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:13 am | Reply
  25. Fast Eddie

    In the west we tend to romanticize dogs as 'man's best friend', but in other parts of the world (it's a BIG world, kids) they are just another animal; one that is not especially rare, endangered or deserving of any 'protection'.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:13 am | Reply
  26. C

    Why does every other animal meat or bi-product from that region of the world supposedly increase "stamina". What a bunch of BS and moronic people.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:13 am | Reply
    • Jtau

      The same type of mentality that believes invading Iraq will guarantee freedom and safety. Placebo effect is great.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:53 am | Reply
  27. surfighter

    BOO HOO! Killing dogs for food in Korea is just so baaad ... Koreans should do what we do in the US, put the dog in a kennel for a month and if nobody adopts it, euthanize it. Should Koreans also shoot up theirs dogs with chemicals to make them fatter or produce more milk or have more babies (like we do here)? What a bunch of hypocrites!! There are other cultures, norms, and world views other than our own. Happy 4th of July! Celebrate our freedom – but remember to resect the freedom of others as well.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:13 am | Reply
    • aubrie

      ??????? You say to respect their freedom and then at the same time say that Koreans should do as we do... Make up your mind.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:15 am | Reply
  28. Jamie N.

    Dog meat has been on the menu since ancient times. It's nothing new; it's just being made more public now. American's have a hard time understanding the need to consume certain animals because we see them as intelligent creatures with a willingness to offer friendship and love. Cats, rabbits and guinea pigs are among other animals that have been regularly eaten in other parts of the world; so this should not be a surprise to American's who happen to revere dogs as friends.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:13 am | Reply
  29. Ras

    Here's is perfect reason why dogs are not food:

    If you and your dog were on a lost on a hike and starving to death. Your dog would not eat you even after you die. In fact that makes them better that humans.

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

      That's a nice thought, but actually, I think there have been cases where the owner died and the dog nibbled on the corpse before it was discovered. Few animals (humans included) will ignore food when they are starving and there are no other options. It's just basic survival instinct. I guess the only way to know for sure is to run an experiment, but that wouldn't be very fun, would it?

      July 1, 2011 at 10:18 am | Reply
    • Fast Eddie

      How stupid are you?! A dog would ABSOLUTELY eat you if you died. Dogs, unlike humans, don't really care where their sustenence comes from. Marie Prevost, anyone?

      July 1, 2011 at 10:18 am | Reply
    • aubrie

      NOT TRUE. I personally know a guy who died in his house. It was over a week before someone discovered the body, and his two dogs had become VERY hungry. Use your imagination...... The dogs didn't starve.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:17 am | Reply
  30. Byrd

    They were eating anything that moved in Germany and Japan during the waning months of WWII, and through manipulation of the media, many of the civilians didn't even know they were losing the war until Allied troops were marching through their towns. I wonder what they'e not telling us? What's the recipe for next week? Rats?

    July 1, 2011 at 10:14 am | Reply
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