Save the animals and stop eating dog meat

Would you eat rabbit? Even those who regularly consume meat from chickens, sheep and pigs will often balk at the thought of eating a cuddly little bunny rabbit. But what's the difference? Why do we see some animals as furry friends and others as fair game to chop up and eat? With the Winter Olympics turning attention towards South Korea, dog meat has been put on the media menu. The west has gone into shock mode. They eat dogs? They must be mad!

Dogs are smart and friendly – but so are pigs

But they do. Some of the same breeds we consider man's best friend in England – labradors, beagles, chihuahuas – are eaten in South Korea. More than 30 million dogs are slaughtered each year for the Asian market and served up in dishes like dog salad and dog stew. As a vegan, this appals me. But no more than I'm appalled by people eating chickens and cows. Is there really such a difference? I sense some hypocrisy in the outrage, and perhaps a little dollop of racism (or at least xenophobia) on the side.

The details of the dog meat trade are indeed horrific. Puppies are squeezed into excruciatingly cramped metal cages. They are left alone for most of their lives, yelping for help that never comes. Dog mess collects beneath the cages. Paws become torn and bloody as they struggle for firm footing on the hard wire they are supposed to stand on. Some of them collapse and die. The rest are sent to markets in even more cramped crates. Then they are killed. In other words, it's much like what happens to pigs and many other animals in much of the west. In this context, the recent coverage of Korea's dog meat industry amount to little more than the condemnation of foreigners for having their own food culture.

'If you are a meat eater who is shocked by how dogs are treated in South Korea, maybe you should look at all meat production with fresh eyes.' Photograph: Yun Suk-Bong/Reuters

CNN slammed the "brutal" and "sinister" trade, while USA Today described the scene at a dog farm, focusing in on the animals' "pitiful whines and yelps". The Mirror sent a reporter to write about the "hell" of dog farms, and trailed a follow-up story about "six lucky rescued pups being flown to the UK". The Mail's exposé showed readers the before-and-after of the process: first photos of terrified dogs huddled in cages, then photos of dog soup being cooked.

Frightened animals being caged, killed and turned into food. If you are a meat eater who is shocked by how dogs are treated in South Korea, maybe you should look at all meat production with fresh eyes.

CNN report that the dogs are "left alone in metal cages similar to chicken coops … and it's all legal". But 9 billion chickens are slaughtered for their meat each year in the US. Most of them are intensively farmed. Did you know that 93% of pigs killed for meat in the UK are factory-farmed, and 60% of sows reared here are kept in metal crates just centimetres bigger than their body? Farmers openly admit they cut off the pigs' tails and clip or grind down their teeth without anaesthetic. In 2009, undercover researchers from the animal welfare group Animal Aid filmed UK slaughterhouse workers stubbing out cigarettes in pigs' faces.

Yes, dogs are smart and friendly – but so are pigs. Researchers from Cambridge University found pigs are as smart as three-year-old humans. They can play computer games and recognise people they met several years ago. They develop mua ban nha dat trust and empathy like we, and dogs, do. Few people relish the thought of any animals being slaughtered so it's normal for those who eat meat to try to justify it. Just as westerners get angry about people in Asia eating dogs and cats, many Indians get outraged by westerners eating cows. People shake their heads in disbelief at guinea pigs and alpacas being served up in South America.

But ultimately, what's the moral difference in any of it? It simply can't be the case that the slaughter of all animals ve may bay bamboo airways is wrong – apart from the ones you want to feast on. Once you stop trying to convince yourself of that, a huge weight is lifted from your shoulders. Then you can stand dich vu seo max against the exploitation of all animals, regardless of what they are and where they're being killed.

Chas Newkey-Burden is an author and journalist

Update #12 months ago
HSI is one of the leading global organizations working in countries across Asia to end the grisly dog meat trade. We provide funding to train officials for improved enforcement of laws; help local partner groups on the ground with veterinary and shelter care for confiscated animals; raise global awareness of the suffering involved in illegal dog theft, transport and slaughter, including at China’s annual Dog Meat Festival in Yulin;
Sign Petition
Sign Petition
You have JavaScript disabled. Without it, our site might not function properly.

privacy policy

By signing, you accept Care2's terms of service.
You can manage your email subscriptions at any time.

Having problems signing this? Let us know.