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 (2,495 Responses)
  1. Stu

    Wow! What an article. I will remember the name Emily Lodish to see what other types of mess up skewed perspectives she can provide on other subjects in this world. The fact that CNN would publish an article like this is way beyond me. Wow! There really are no words to describe how messed up Emily Lodish must be as well as whoever at CNN thought running this story would be a good idea. Why don't we run a story about the benefits of female circumsision? How about the benefits to families in poor countries who abort all their female fetuses? In the US we certainly have a very arogant warped opinion on these types of things. How about the benefit of women not being allowed to drive in Saudia Arabia? Maybe Emily could let us know about how much safer their streets are because of this law? How about the Burqa? Doesn't that encourage a woman to remain pure for all the middle eastern guys? We just don't understand the benefits of these sorts of things. But thankfully Emily is here to explain these things to us.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:14 am | Reply
  2. ivan

    That country is a toilet. Those people should be exterminated without regard to being human because I do not see them as human and neither should the rest of us!

    July 1, 2011 at 10:14 am | Reply
    • Likes many forms of fungus

      Ivan, you've got your blinders on so you can denigrate another group of people. You really think this makes you superior? Would you think your geek-hater friends should also be exterminated for looking the other way while the US sacrifices thousands of really cute beagles caged for repeatability in spurious health research?

      July 1, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Reply
  3. Kelly O

    HUMANS ARE NOT THE SAME AS ANIMALS!!! Yes, there are some that have the ability to form bonds with humans, but people should be smart enough to use discretion. You can't over generalize things! An animal that saves peoples' lives is most likely a person's pet so of course it wouldn't be given up to eat! It was taught to view humans as a caregiver/companion. In the wild, a wild dog would eat you just as eat anything else! Would you try to pet a wild African dog?!!! Hell no! They are vicious and would eat you within their pack!

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

      A wild African dog is a wild dog, a domesticated dog is a domesticated dog. They are related but not the same.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:19 am | Reply
    • Stu

      Doesn't look to me like the dog in that picture is about to eat the hand that is petting it. It looks like a completely domesticated animal. I would think they believe that domesticated dogs are much easier to raise and control than wild dogs. It also doesn't look to me like the dogs in this picture have been raised under stellar conditions. Don't argue with me that cows are domesticated. It's a dog, bred to be man's companion.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:38 am | Reply
      • KC

        Second that.

        July 1, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  4. Deeperthinking

    What is acceptable in one culture is not always acceptable in another. Do I find it disgusting that Koreans eat dog? Yes. Do the people of India find it disgusting we eat cows? Yes. We cannot impose our will on cultural diversities we disagree with, but as the world becomes smaller, more and more of the outdated cultural issues will most likely disappear. There is nothing wrong with showing them an alternative, and allowing them to make the decision to continue or abolish a practice. What the real concern is the treatment of any food animals before slaughter. Are they taken care of? Killed humanely? We can't even treat our own species with respect, so how can we trust ourselves to treat other species with it?

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

      Great argument but it seems that most people here are set on emotional reasons rather than rational.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:58 am | Reply
  5. wilson

    how could you post that picture on the front page of cnn? so sad!!!!

    July 1, 2011 at 10:14 am | Reply
  6. I'Sheet M'Drurz

    When the real depression hits the US you'll be eating your own dogs too.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:15 am | Reply
  7. Stephan Hawking knows MORE than you

    Many of the dogs in question here are domesticated breeds who were bred as companion pets, not as a meat source, which is the problem most civilized human societies have with serving them at meal time.

    This is also part of the emotional reaction we see whenever these stories pop up.

    Now, if Koreans were farming a specialized breed of WOLF that wasn't bred as a companion pet, that would be a little different. Granted, there would still be those who'd oppose eating wolf meat, but Koreans would be able to defend their practice by alleging that they're farming an undomesticated animal which is much larger, which means fewer deaths for per pound of animal flesh.

    Also, a larger, specialized breed of wolf to serve as meat would be more difficult to argue against. After all, these wouldn't be the cute little puppies people buy at their local pet mart.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:15 am | Reply
    • Stephen Hawking knows MORE than you

      And btw...

      It's "man's best friend," not "man's best snack."

      July 1, 2011 at 10:27 am | Reply
  8. Pants

    Eating dogs violates Rule No. 1 of meat eating: No eating cute animals. No dogs, baby animals of any kind, cows, or pigs. Only chickens and fish are acceptable to eat.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:15 am | Reply
    • Woody20

      You obviously haven't had some good veal. Mmmm... mmm... tasty baby cow.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:24 am | Reply
    • Jtau

      Or Portuguese baby eels. Yum. But I guess that's outside of your "cute" criteria so it's ok.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:59 am | Reply
  9. ricky14

    and why not human flesh? meat is meat , no wait i don't like eating stupid bitches like Emily

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

    This is why if push comes to shove, we gotta nuke them Chinks first.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:16 am | Reply
    • Kelly O

      Hopefully after we've paid them our debt...since in the financial world...they own us! That way we wouldn't be so barbaric and keep things fair.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:26 am | Reply
  11. dude

    if you eat a dog you are a soulless bastard, plain and simple. it does not matter where you come from. talk about evolution...?

    so bring on the subsequent posts about "what's the difference between a dog and a pig, etc...". if you still don't get IT...read the sentences above repeatedly until you do or go watch the videos that John649 posted links to. then...if you still don't get IT you are still a soulless bastard. case closed.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:16 am | Reply
  12. John in AZ

    If I HAD to eat dog, I would demand that it be fried in kitten oil. Delicious! Eating any meat is gross (says the vegetarian).

    July 1, 2011 at 10:16 am | Reply
  13. Renelle

    I understand that when an animal is abundant- it tends to be food for somebody. However, these people need to understand why so many people are against the inhumane treatment of dogs, and eating dog meat. One of the ways that science tests for animals intelligence is whether or not they can follow the famous human finger point. Dogs are one of the few animals that can understand exactly what it means when a human points at something. Dogs are intelligent, but not that intelligent....They can follow this point because of thousands of years being a companion of humans. It breaks my heart to know that there are places where dogs are raised just for meat. I personally don't enjoy eating any kind of meat. But i really can't understand predator eating predator. I hope that soon we can come to a common understanding about what a dog is to a human. Friend, not food. ❤

    July 1, 2011 at 10:16 am | Reply
  14. Kelly O

    Wild African dogs view humans as prey...like a rabbit or elk.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:17 am | Reply
    • Stephen Hawking knows MORE than you

      Killing undomesticated species who hunt humans isn't the same as killing a Chihuahua.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:29 am | Reply
  15. Maya

    For ignorant people who keep bringing up Hindus and cows, get your info straight, they are VEGETARIANS. Pigs are not like dogs. If a pig escapes a farm it becomes a wild pig. It physically changes back into a wild animal within weeks. A family's dog gets loose, in a few weeks it's still a dog running up to people!! Can't believe how uneducated some people are.

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

      That's a gross generalization... not all Hindus are vegetarians... many Saivites only abstain from meat on Fridays.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:20 am | Reply
    • Maya

      Most Hindus are vegetarian, is that better? Continue to chase your tail in circles...

      July 1, 2011 at 10:32 am | Reply
      • Stan

        No... "most" would suggest a numerical majority when the number is closer to 45% are vegetarian. Characterizing Hindus as "mostly vegetarians" is just as bad as using the strawman argument that the cultural taboo about eating cows in India as some sort of correlation to Koreans eating dogs.

        July 1, 2011 at 11:26 am |
      • Maya

        Um no, I was in India a few months ago, practicing Hindus are vegetarian, vegetarian Hindus is much higher than 45%. MOST places yes MOST have extensive vegetarian menus, in areas with tourists, Christians or Muslims there is more meat on the menu.

        July 1, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  16. Stan

    If you balk at eating a dog but will eat any other animal flesh, then you are a hypocrite. The only ones that have any moral ground to be judging others on this topic are vegetarians or vegans.

    Personally I'd try dog if it were offered to me; it can't be all that different than eating bear meat.

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

    Eat dogs ??!!! What next ... eat your own children ? No debate on "good" meat or "bad" meat then. Burrrrrrpppp !!!! What joy ! Hail the human race !!

    July 1, 2011 at 10:17 am | Reply
  18. movenorth

    What the hell is all the big deal?! I'd have a dog burger any day, I bet they're great! This is an animal that was and still is eaten since it has existed, by humans. We here in America have gotten too damn use to our "own" ways and not that of our ancestors or the the rest of the world. " Politically correct" attitudes can go hug a tree for all I care.

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

      I don't know about dog burgers, but whale burgers are delicious!

      July 1, 2011 at 10:22 am | Reply
  19. JJU

    Its funny how humans see themselves as more higher-level beings than animals. Its true that our intelligence is higher than that of animals, but we've also created these ideas of souls and afterlife to comfort ourselves regarding death and in the end, they make us think human life is somehow more valuable, and help us to feel less guilty for killing animals.

    But before people here in the USA want to start protesting about others eating cats and dogs, we should start applying the same logic to ourselves. Hindus dont eat beef, and yet we've never thought twice about that. Maybe we should look at their perspective to change our own habits before we try to act wise and pious enough to change the ways of others.

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

      I agree. We will keep a convicted killer in prison for 50 years, but slaughter homeless cats and dogs, puppies and kittens, after 7 days in a shelter. We, as a species, have a long way to go.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:28 am | Reply
  20. Byron

    Okay there are many good reasons why not to eat dog and why it is okay. But you have to understand culture and the reason behind South Korea eating dog meat. The reason why Koreans still eat dog meat (like many other Asian cultures in poor living situations) is mainly because of the Japanese Occupation. The Japanese took everything valuable and useful from the Koreans so that they couldn't live their normal life and eat normal food. So, what did they do? They had to eat their dogs to survive. Wouldn't you do the same for your family? For your children? I would place the life of my son or daughter or the life of my dog. Many of you may disagree but this is a cultural thing, not an immoral or intentionally cruel. I'm not trying to change your mind, but just offer a different perspective. I personally don't eat dog meat but understand that some people may. Its their choice in the end.

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

      Quite right, my friend.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:24 am | Reply
  21. Tiffany

    While I wouldn't eat dog myself, for anyone to argue that since they are "companion" animals no one should eat them is a silly argument at best. The article states that certain dogs are raised for consumption. Gross to me but so is eating cows in India or pigs to Jewish people. Pigs especially have a high intelligence and can be very caring pets.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:17 am | Reply
  22. Wendy

    No way should anyone eat a dog!!!!!! Or any other meat as far as I am concerned! We need compassion for all living things!

    July 1, 2011 at 10:18 am | Reply
  23. Adam

    More holier than thou attitude from Western jingoists. Ask ourselves...what's different with a cow and a dog? What's different than a pig in a dog. Honestly, we like dogs because they're cuter. But if you look at resourcefulness and usefulness, maybe we shouldn't eat pigs then because of their usefulness beyond being livestock. But no – we don't like being objective and then force our opinions and judge other cultures.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:18 am | Reply
    • Matt from Dallas

      Well the answer is obvious, but since you seem to have a 2nd grade level intellect, I will explain it. Dogs are not wild animals. They haven't been wild animals for thousands of years, not since wolves were first domesticated by man. They have been bred quite specifically to be companions to man (in addition to guard dogs, hunting dogs, etc.) ever since. Millions of people around the world have dogs in their homes that are a part of their family. Nobody keeps a cow as a pet.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:24 am | Reply
      • Knucklehead

        Ever heard of "wild dogs." They exist. And pets will go feral when let loose.

        July 1, 2011 at 10:40 am |
  24. My genuis Golden is offended

    What's with the needless and completely unwarranted dig in the article at a Golden Retriever?
    "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."
    There is no dog with twice the brains of a Golden. Maybe twice the brains of a Beagle, that I could see.
    Golden Retrievers rank 4th on the smartest dog list, Beagles ninth on the dumbest dog list, but I personally think that is much too high.

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

    It's barbaric to eat any kind of meat in our society. If we did not have livestock to feed we would have even more food. Do you realize how much corn, etc livestock consumes? I grew up on a farm it is an enormous amount! Don't forget about all the water wasted in processing.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:19 am | Reply
  26. Name*carole strasburg

    This is so heartwrenching!! How can anyone do this? This is so inhumane! what can we as activists in the usa do to fight this war on the dog meat trade?

    July 1, 2011 at 10:19 am | Reply
  27. ROSE POTTER

    I think this is the most sick think I have heard of beside people eating horse meat these are our pets what are they thinking my family comes from the meat industry, and when I work there I was sick I stop eating met for a very long time, I can think of why in the world you would eat you pet dog or cat, it makes me sick cows are raised for man to eat not a dog this has to STOP !!!!! this is aA SICK WORLD WE LIVE IN NOW and I find it very sad that we as civilized people but it looks like we are not I feel for the dog & cats, it make me so mad !!!!!!!! that this still goes on sick sick and very sad a law need to be passed to stop this NOW !!!

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

    The arguments here are lively, as they are revealing. Many arguments though should be dismissed when anecdotal "evidence" is the sole basis of ones thesis. What I have gathered though: The human psyche is a fragile thing. As such, worldview is therefore a matter of perspective. I, for one, would engage in partaking of dog meat if the conditions warranted: Starvation, however noble the reason, is not an enjoyable excercise. The populations of many countries engage in this practice due to cultural normalization, or lack of more sustinable "domesticated" supply chains. The inhumane treatment of any animal, though, should give pause to any consumer. This though may never be as long as one mammal systematically consumes another. I will not, however, as Good Queen Bess stated: "seek to pry windows into men's souls" and regulate what they shall or shall not eat. Rather through patient and careful consideration make purchases and endorse products that are the lesser of many evils. The slaughtering of any animal is death to that creature the same; we can only seek to lessen the suffering. IMHO

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

    That is just what overpopulated countries need: something to help their "stamina"

    July 1, 2011 at 10:19 am | Reply
  30. Corvus1

    It's not so much eating dogs as it is how horrifically they're treated before butchering. Slaughtering animals for food should be quick and painless.

    That said I would have no problem if the practice of eating dogs, cats, and other companion animals went the way of the dodo.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:20 am | Reply
    • Knucklehead

      Those dodos would still be around if they weren't so d@mn tasty...

      July 1, 2011 at 10:21 am | Reply
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