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 (2,494 Responses)
  1. Knucklehead

    We kill thousands, maybe millions, I don't know, of dogs every year because we can't take care of them and can't have them going feral and running amok on our streets. Why not butcher them afterwards and export them to Korea? Would help the trade deficit.

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

      Intruiging proposal. I am not sure though if a free range scavaging carnivore would be the best export to offset the trade imbalance.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:26 am | Reply
  2. grownup124

    no use in trying to reason with imbeciles...i'm an american and i don't eat dogs but what part of 'having a perspective' do you people not understand? the center of morality is not based on the american culture. eating dogs sounds disgusting to me but people have no right to judge others. muslims don't eat pork, indians don't eat beef and americans don't eat dogs...get a f***in grip and get off your high horse

    July 1, 2011 at 10:20 am | Reply
  3. Sarah

    In my opinion, eating pet style dogs is wrong, but I can understand why people do it. They have been bred for centuries to be docile, trusting, amicable animals, not the wild, untrusting and dangerous wolves that they once were. Something kind of seems wrong about breeding an animal to be "mans best friend" to where it has no defenses and then raise them en' masse to slaughter. I suppose animals like cows are more trustworthy and we raise and eat them without batting an eye. Pretty sure they weren't bred through the centuries as pets first though.

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

      Dogs were domesticated for practical purposes like protection and hunting, etc. Early man found or created a symbiotic relationship whereby dog and man could exist together and both benefit from the relationship. It was a working partnership. They weren't domesticated so man could have a furry, cute little critter around to pet. That evolved later as we modernized, to the point where we really don't need them so much anymore, so let's eat them. But don't worry, as we enter the next Dark Ages, and civilization erodes away, that bond will be renewed.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:26 am | Reply
  4. smokey

    mans best friend/emergency ration

    July 1, 2011 at 10:20 am | Reply
  5. jj

    I'm sorry, this is just wrong. But I'm a dog owner and I love my mutt. Not gonna grill my dog. I understand cultural differences though. To each his own.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:21 am | Reply
  6. Knucklehead

    One man's meat, as they say...

    July 1, 2011 at 10:21 am | Reply
  7. Renelle

    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Sergeant_Stubby (great story of a dog promoted to sergeant in ww1

    just another reason, we shouldn't eat dogs...?

    July 1, 2011 at 10:21 am | Reply
  8. afb

    What's wrong with eating dog meat? Everything!!

    July 1, 2011 at 10:22 am | Reply
  9. Steve Bishop

    There's no difference between eating meat from a dog, and eating meat from a cow, or a pig, or a chicken. The only difference is in your head. Meat is meat. End of story.

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

    How can they look into the eyes of the puppy in that picture and not see the sad expression on his face?... He knows he is being mistreated... He knows he would be loved by someone in a country that doesn't ask friends to give the ultimate sacrifice... Cows are expressionless animals who are happy eating until they die... They don't know things like dogs... My dogs are like my children... You people are sick...

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

      Wow, you're perceptive. You think you know what dogs and cows think and feel? Who are you, Dr. Doolittle?

      July 1, 2011 at 10:28 am | Reply
  11. mmmmm

    ok, i can't stop the chinese from eating dog meat, but really! the chinese are the cruelest people. they skin animals alive and sell them that way in the market so the meat is fresh. they raise their animals in the most inhumane ways. these people want to be respected because they have an inferiority complex which is driving their rise to the top of finance, etc. and they still maintain a culture that is on the reptilian scale. btw, i'm 1/2 asian so i know from what i speak!!!!!

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

      Do you know what we do to cows and chickens in this country??? Do you know how they make veal??? Give me a break.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:29 am | Reply
  12. Richard Cheese

    Is there anything wrong with eating a dog? Absolutely not. It's a persons personal choice and right to eat whatever they want to. What is NOT ok is pushing someone's personal mores onto another. Get that through your thick head first.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:23 am | Reply
  13. Joe

    Having lived in Korea I can say that the country has more than enough farmland to raise whatever livestock is needed to feed the population. While I dont think our Government should not dictate the diet of countries we trade with, they should at some point raise the issue. Why does a country turn a blind eye to this kind of barbaric behavior? Maybe because as long as both sides are enriching themsleves with goods that we trade, then it's acceptable behavior. Why do we alloow Japan to defy a world ban on whaling? Well, they happen to hold a massive amount of US debt and I guess that means they hold the upper hand. In short. capitalism has turned this countries politicians into the biggest collection of money grubbing whores on the planet. They have little regard for the environment....and even less regard for their own citizens. The sooner they go the way of the dinosaur, the better off we will all be.

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

      Joe! Point well said, anytime our country benefits from money, we do turn the other way! Why did we attack Iraq? To gain access to their oil... a no brainer.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:47 am | Reply
  14. David

    Why not eat humans? There is no reason other than custom that prohibits it. As someone put it meat is meat. Food availaability and cost will drive change in our habits which are mostly cultural.

    I have three dogs I love dearly and would protect at all cost but dogs raised as farm animals are not pets they are a comodity..

    July 1, 2011 at 10:24 am | Reply
  15. Jennifer

    Domestication and breeding has evolved dogs in to creatures that bond emotionally with owners. We have created an animal that needs and loves us – I get the hypocrisy but can honestly say I just don't get how anyone could eat any animal be it pig-dog-monkey that is capable of bonding so intensely with humans. "But you mustn't forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you've tamed. " — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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

      I completely agree. It is wrong to eat an animal that has been bred to be your companion! I love the quote.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:27 am | Reply
  16. Anathoth

    It's gross to us to eat dogs but we have no problems with the other animals we eat. That's the culture. In Israel & Muslim Countries they don't eat pork. Indians don't eat beef. I've been to Asia several times and have eaten dog. If taste a bit like a dry hamburger.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:24 am | Reply
  17. Agent_C

    Dog can be quite a delicacy, but it must be prepared correctly. One doesn’t eat an old dog, as the meat becomes gamy and toxic over time. The ideal dog is about 2 years of age and a large breed.

    Bake extremities at 350 degrees for 45 minutes – Rum and round cuts should be cooked longer at higher temperatures.

    Season to taste and serve over a bed of rice.

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

      I read this and just got vomit in the back of my throat, are you trying to make us all sick?

      July 1, 2011 at 10:44 am | Reply
  18. Snarks

    Say what you want about dog meat. We westerners were not raised on eating it. Parts of asia may love it, and considering they have the longest life expectancy by many years, who are any of you to say anything? Japan, then Hong Kong, are first and second place respectively. USA is ranked 36.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:25 am | Reply
    • Jen

      Wtf? Seriously? Who cares how we are "ranked", it's inhumane.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:43 am | Reply
      • Snarks

        Please, instill me with your knowledge. How is it inhumane to eat an animal?

        July 1, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  19. Crys

    I personally would never eat a dog. I've had them my whole life, snuggle with my black lab any chance I get, etc. I pamper my pooches and love dogs in general. I guess in a way I'm the typical American, hyprocritiical in nature when it comes to eating meat. I can eat pork, chicken, beef, venison, etc because I am removed or distanced from killing it myself or seeing it be killed. If I owned pigs, cows, and chickens, chances are I wouldn't be able to eat them. If I saw those animals as companions, I would like be a vegetarian. If I observe a deer walking in its majesty, I couldn't bring myself to watch it being shot, field dressed, prepared, and eaten. Yet, if it were cut up in a grocery store it seems to remove some sort of moral responsibility from my sight. The only thing I admit is after I come home from the grocery store, my hypocrisy often tastes very good.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:25 am | Reply
  20. EarlGrayHot

    THis is a disgusting habit and no, eating dogsd is not at all the same as eating animals specifically raised to be eaten. Even those animals should be treated well and killed humanely, for that matter. But dogs and cats have been domesticated by mankind as companions and as such shoudl not be treated this way. They are intelligent and bred to help us in our lives and as such should be treated with respect and not as food. People who eat companion animals are horrible and should be stopped at every chance. Again, companion animals are different that food animals. Period. It's more than judging other cultures, it's about treating companion animals with the dignity they have earned over thousands of years of helping mankind. EATING dogs and cats is reprehensible.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:25 am | Reply
    • Snarks

      Cows are domesticated also, have been before dogs and cats, yet you eat them. Just because you have a certain affection for the dog or cat, doesn't rule out that they have been harvested for sustenance.

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

      How circular an argument.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:30 am | Reply
    • Jen

      Hear, hear! Second the Motion by EarlGray.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:40 am | Reply
  21. Jeremiah

    A dog is less intelligent than a pig. If we can eat pigs, we can eat dogs. It's silly to say that eating a dog is morally wrong because it's cute. Either you're against animals in general being eaten, or you're not. Picking and choosing between the ugly and mean animals is irrational. If an animal is not endangered, I say it's a go.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:26 am | Reply
    • Krista

      Although pigs can be social with people, they haven't been specifically raised over thousands of years, to be our companions, protectors, etc. We're part of their pack.. the leaders of their pack, to them. They love us unconditionally.

      Personally, I'm a vegetarian because I don't make the distinction. Whether or not animals want to be our best buds or not, their lives have meaning. They don't exist, and certainly shouldn't suffer, just for our benefit.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:33 am | Reply
  22. Jamie N.

    I find some of these comments completely outlandish. Some of you act as though you've never eaten meat in your life. Where do you think your beef, pork, lamb and chicken come from? People all over the United States are slaughtering these animals in the same manner. I don't see how it's any different except for the fact that we consider dogs "pets". Can you honestly answer why it's different?

    July 1, 2011 at 10:27 am | Reply
  23. Bruce

    Yes, of course it's a cultural thing–and that is precisely what makes it immoral to eat dogs.

    That is, BECAUSE we as a society find it morally reprehensible to eat dogs, it is incumbent upon those who are not anti-social to respect that common societal revulsion and not eat dogs, to embrace society (with all of its arbitrariness) as it is and treat dogs with the love and respect that our society demands of us.

    It's like this–if your child has a strong emotional attachment to a blanket for whatever reasons (and some of these reasons may be good reasons, such as the association of the blanket with security and family and good times), you don't go and burn the blanket in front of them for the purposes of teaching them a lesson about transcending their emotions and that they should favor things like reason over emotion. There is nothing unhealthy about emotional attachments.

    To go about challenging every cultural more for the sake of breaking society away from its emotional attachments, especially in the name of reason, is sociopathic. Eating dogs, in spite of the obvious social stigma against it, is explicitly anti-social and thus immoral to the point of sociopathy.

    We do have an ethical obligation to our fellow man, to respect their emotions even when it might restrict our liberties somewhat. We do not need to choose between starving and eating dogs in this society. If it comes to that kind of choice, no doubt our collective repugnance concerning eating Fido will change and in that case, it would no longer be immoral because our eating of dogs would no longer offend so many people. Until that time (if it ever comes), it is obviously immoral to eat dogs in a society such as is found in the United States, and it seems that societies in China and other places in Asia are becoming more like the west in this specific cultural more.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:27 am | Reply
    • WHAT?

      You're a loon. There's nothing anti-social about wanting to eat, regardless of what it is. Remember that little wagon train up on the mountain? Survival is a core instinct and it's unrelated to social interaction. You're argument is like saying if your a Muslim instead of a Christian, then you're anti-social. Give me a break.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:39 am | Reply
      • Bruce

        So go and prove your point. Raise a daughter and a son. Get them a puppy for their 5th birthday and raise it for a few years and make sure that your child has a strong emotional attachment to that pet.

        Then, on their 12th birthday, you kill the dog in front of your child and make them eat a healthy serving of the pet's meat and finish that serving before they can eat their birthday cake and open their presents. Tell them that the gift you are giving them is the ability to transcend their emotions about Fido and that it is "not anti-social to eat" and then try and tell yourself that you are not a sociopathic @$$h0le and that what you are doing is not child abuse.

        You can't.

        July 1, 2011 at 11:01 am |
  24. DJ

    Dont hurt the doggies :' (

    July 1, 2011 at 10:27 am | Reply
  25. John in AZ

    The ONLY people who can condemn this are vegans and vegetarians...period. If you eat meat, then you are eating animals that have been culturally sanctioned as food...there is no objective metric that makes one animal edible and another not. Around the world people eat frogs, ants, guinea pigs, roaches, cows, pigs, sheep, etc. etc. Whatever emotions you have attached to dogs is all in your head. There's even scientific research showing that dog owners falsely believe they can read their pets' emotions...look it up.

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

      You don't know what you are talking about. Do some research for posting please.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:29 am | Reply
      • John in AZ

        @Daniel...I bet the doggie in the photo looks sad to you right? It tugs at your heartstrings. Ever seen a cow in a slaughter house? Does it evoke any emotion in you? How about chickens, or ducks? I've done my research, and I am telling you, it is all in your head when you think that dogs are somehow more noble than other animals, or less deserving of slaughter. No animal should be consumed by a species that has the technology and the abundance to subsist solely on plants...until you give up all meat, you really have no argument...no objective argument anyway.

        July 1, 2011 at 10:34 am |
      • Stan

        Actually, John would appear to know exactly what he is talking about when he is pointing out the hypocrisy that is very present on this board.

        July 1, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Bruce

      John, you also know that the science of psychology would support the fact that the vast majority of the people in our country have a very similar emotional reaction to the photo at the top of this article. Because of this, any call to people to pretend that they don't have this emotional reaction, or to tell them that they are WRONG to have this emotional reaction (because it is emotional and not, say, rational), is anti-social on your part–I daresay anti-social and even borderline sociopathic.

      That is, it is immoral to be so anti-social with your "pro-rational" rhetoric in this manner. You DO have a moral obligation to your fellow man, to your society, to treat known emotionally-based mores with the respect they deserve.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:44 am | Reply
      • John in AZ

        I agree Bruce, that's why I condemn eating cows and pigs and fish and any other animal...because I find it disgusting and cruel. I have a negative physical reaction to photos of these animals being caught, corralled, gutted and chopped. Are you ready to defend all animals equally? It doesn't sound like it...

        July 1, 2011 at 10:48 am |
      • Bruce

        The day that the vast majority of society feels the same way about cows and pigs as they do about dogs (something you claim you feel), then yes, I will defend cows and pigs in the same way I now defend dogs.

        Today this is not the case, so no, I will not come to the defense of cows and pigs and I will continue to eat beef and pork.

        July 1, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  26. C

    Such a terrible thing.

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

    Remember Dog is God spelled backwards. LOL

    July 1, 2011 at 10:27 am | Reply
  28. Melissa

    Dogs are NOT food. They are pets. Period. Whether thats ok in some countries or not is not the point.

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

      Everything is food. Just ask the worms that will devour your corpse after you're dead.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:38 am | Reply
  29. Krista

    This is like asking "Why don't we eat babies". Other than the ick factor of cannibalism, of course. Dogs have been genetically modified over time and selective breeding to be our companions. They seek our companionship. They love us unconditionally. They are also completely dependent on us. Hurting an animal, much less raising it in factory farm style conditions, is abhorrent, and really more than inhumane, it's inhuman. We should've grown out of this level of barbarity by now.

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

      Tell that to my neighbor's dog...he unconditionally wants to tear my throat out. If he comes over my fence, it's going to be me or him. But don't worry, if it's me, I won't eat him.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:36 am | Reply
      • Krista

        He's protecting _his_ pack and territory. You're not part of it.

        July 1, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  30. Daniel

    I'm sorry, but I don't agree with people eating dogs. I am not some animal rights activist, but as a dog owner I think these animals cannot be put in the same class as cows and pigs (as demonstrated by the fact people all over the U.S. do not have pet cows and pigs in the same manor they have dogs). Dogs demonstrate a capacity to love and to learn and we see this demonstrated with police dogs, dogs used by the military, dogs that help the handicap, etc. To me reasoning with the logic to eat a dog is no different than accepting the notion of eating people.

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

      Then don't. But just because you have an opinion doesn't mean I can't enjoy a little Great Dane now and then. People need to remember to cook them at low heat, because they are so lean. I have a nice marinade I can share if anyone's interested.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:34 am | Reply
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