Harrowing Facts About Asia's Dog Meat Trade and Consumption
Mon, April 19, 2021

Harrowing Facts About Asia's Dog Meat Trade and Consumption

Thirty million dogs and 10 million cats are mercilessly killed annually for meat all over Asia, according to Humane Society International / Photo by: amayaeguizabal via Pixabay

 

Thirty million dogs and 10 million cats are mercilessly killed annually for meat all over Asia, according to Humane Society International, the international division of the Humane Society of the United States, an organization that aims to drive positive change for animals. Dogs are usually killed by electrocution in South Korea. In other places they are hanged or bludgeoned, sometimes even boiled alive. 

Thousands of dogs are crammed onto trader’s trucks, enduring dehydration, hunger, extreme temperature, injuries, and illness. In dog meat farms, many of the dogs turn out to be family pets as they still have their collars around their necks, said Animals Asia, a charity founded by Jill Robinson. These were snatched from the streets and endured the same ordeal as the rest of the dogs.

One glimmer of hope for dogs in the region is that there is increasingly vocal opposition to the dog meat trade across Asia on the grounds of cruelty, criminality, and health concerns for people. Dog meat bans now exist in the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Taiwan.

 

China’s Yulin Festival

The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is an annual event held in the city of Yulin every June. Ravneet Ahluwalia of British online newspaper The Independent wrote that the festival started only in 2009 to mark the summer solstice. According to folklore, consuming dog meat during the summer months brings good health and luck. Some say that dog meat can repel diseases or make a man more virile. 

Since 2015, the number of dogs killed at the Yulin festival has declined steadily. However, when it comes to dog (and cat) meat trade, the festival remains as the flagship event. But the Yulin festival is just the tip of the iceberg since the number of dogs killed at the event represents less than 0.01 percent of the Chinese dog meat trade as a whole. Sadly, the trade doesn’t end even after the Yulin festival concludes. In fact, the cruel dog meat trade occurs throughout the year.  

The Yulin festival has attracted negative coverage within China and internationally. Activists have noted that dogs are slaughtered in public using clubs and the hygiene practices at the festival do not abide by Chinese regulations. Visitors also reported seeing some of the dogs with collars. In China, it is not illegal to consume dogs. Every year, 10 to 20 million are killed for human consumption. 

Younger Chinese citizens, animal activists, and celebrities have expressed their opposition on social media about the dog eating festival and the practice as a whole. 

Younger Chinese citizens, animal activists, and celebrities have expressed their opposition on social media about the dog eating festival and the practice as a whole / Photo by: Dong Fang via Wikimedia Commons

 

Cambodia’s Dog Meat Consumption

Cambodian dog meat traders strangle, drown, or stab thousands of dogs each day, traumatizing workers and exposing them to health risks such as rabies, reported Joe Freeman and Suy Se of AFP, a global news agency,  via Yahoo! News. Khieu Chan cried as he described his job, killing six canines a day by slicing their throats. 

The 41-year-old told the 10 dogs awaiting their gruesome death to forgive him because if he doesn’t kill them, he won’t be able to feed his family. Dog meat is a cheap source of protein. However, animal welfare activists noted that dog meat consumption has declined due to Cambodia’s growing middle class. More people own pets and there is also a greater stigma associated with consuming dog meat. 

The trade has flown under the radar in Cambodia, where new research showed a thriving business involving restaurants that sell “special meat,” roving dog catchers, and unlicensed slaughterhouses. An estimated two to three million dogs are killed in the country each year, per the findings of NGO Four Paws. The organization identified over 100 dog meat restaurants in Phnom Penh and “about 20 in the temple town of Siem Reap.” Dog meat and parts are sold to restaurants, making them a popular snack or a $1.25 soup among laborers. 

It is possible for suppliers to earn $750 to $1,000 compared to the wages in garment factories that are below $200. There is immense psychological trauma involved when bringing cheap meat to the table, and people who find a better job seize the opportunity. 

Dog meat is a cheap source of protein. However, animal welfare activists noted that dog meat consumption has declined due to Cambodia’s growing middle class / Photo by: Lor Teng Huy via Wikimedia Commons

 

In What Ways Can I Stop This Cruel Practice? 

Stop and avoid eating dog meat if you live in a country where dogs are consumed, per the recommendation of global animal rescue organization SPCA International (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Don’t dine at restaurants that offer dog meat. You can visit or write a letter to the restaurant asking them to remove it from their menu to help you and other diners feel more comfortable. You can also contact lawmakers and officials, share your views in public or on social media, or sign petitions. 

Even if you don’t live in a country where dog meat is consumed, you can still take a stand by helping your friends and family understand the dog meat trade. You can also sign petitions and provide financial support for activists and organizations. The latter method gives organizations and staff the funding they need to provide food and shelter to the dogs they save. 

The dog meat trade and consumption is a disgusting and cruel practice. This has to end. Working at dog meat farms can be traumatizing for humans. Therefore, they should be given better jobs. Animal cruelty should not be tolerated.