China: Culture of eating dog meat

Dog meat is not as common as beef or pork in China. However, it can be found in every nook and corner of China. The Chinese have been eating for more than a few thousands years. In China, there are laws being drafted to ban the eating of dog meat. It is a rather controversial law, and I don’t see how such law could be enforced in China if it is passed as I don’t think China is ready for such a law at present … maybe another 10 years.

Personally, I have no strong opinion this matter. I have never eaten dog meat, and have no intention of eating it as I am hardly adventurous when it comes to eating meat, though I did taste turtle, wild boar, deer and squirrel meat previously.  I intend to stick to having cattle, poultry and fish for meat in my diet, and not dog, kangaroo, ostrich, whale, crocodile, rabbit, civet etc.

There is no health hazard in consuming dog meat in well run dog farm. Thus, why should it be banned?  I believe one of the reasons is dog lovers in China today form a significant part of the influential middle class. They love the pets dearly, and develop emotional bond with their pet dogs.  Many would squirm at the thought of dogs being made food for human and agitated for new law on eating of dog meat. Another reason is that there are also certain people in China who looks to the West for standard in the civilization and want China to emulate Western practices.

One issue that need to look into is the freedom issue. In a way it is a paradoxical that introduction of Western practice lead to curb on freedom , as the ban on eating of dog meat as being promoted by one group, infringe upon the freedoms of others who want to eat dog meat.

China: Culture of eating dog meat  

By Bu Huang Jingjing |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011



Animal-rights activists are barking mad over news that trickled out over the weekend involving a truck full of 520 dogs that was stopped Friday on a highway en route to a slaughterhouse.

 Discussion of the issue was rife over the next two days, particularly online, with people debating the merits of national laws protecting animals.

  A man surnamed An saw the truck at the Tongzhou section of the Beijing-Harbin expressway at 11 am Friday. Suspecting the dogs were illegally acquired, he forced the truck to stop and asked others for help via his microblog, according to media reports.

  “After overtaking my truck, An’s car abruptly braked, forcing me to make a panicked stop,” Hao Xiaomao, the truck driver, told the Global Times. “It would have been a rear-end collision if I had reacted slower.”


Hundreds of dogs being trucked to Chinese restaurants were intercepted by activists

  After seeing An’s blog, hundreds of animal activists began arriving at the scene with mineral water and food. Some celebrities and foreigners were also rumored to have shown up.

  Their presence jammed the highway temporarily and forced police to shut down a nearby exit, according to reports.

  The police later found that Hao had all the necessary paperwork, including regarding animal quarantine and immunity, for the dogs, but activists refused to abandon their rescue effort.

  After nearly 15 hours, the incident ended with a pet company and an environmental conservation foundation co-buying the dogs for about 115,000 yuan ($17,606).

  However, Hao said he still suffered a 20,000-yuan lost due to his failure to deliver the dogs to Jilin Province.

  Accusing the activists of acting improperly, Hao, 33, said, “They were neither the police nor inspectors. Besides, their acts were too dangerous on a highway.”

  “I transported dogs as (I would) pigs, cows and sheep. The country does not ban the consumption of dog meat,” Hao said, adding that the dogs were purchased from their breeders, not stolen.

  As word spread, many animal-rights supporters hailed the saving of lives, but others questioned the legitimacy of such action.

Dog-saving stirs debate

Qin Xiaona, director of the Capital Animal Welfare Association (CAWA), called the move “a brave act,” adding that “society should encourage such moves, despite their risks.”

  Qin, who rushed to the site with six colleagues, told the Global Times yesterday that the dogs were in the custody of China Small Animal Protection Association in Beijing.

  Zhu Feng, a volunteer and a veterinarian who works in an animal hospital and who saw the dogs, told the Global Times that most of the dogs were in serious condition.

  The move was about kindness and conscientiousness in our society, He Jiong, a famous TV host, wrote on his blog.

  However, an online poll by yesterday showed that about 69 percent of about 7,000 voters did not support the activists.

“One group’s love and kindness should not violate others’ freedom, rights and interests, otherwise, they would become evil,” Lian Yue, a well-known columnist, said on his mircoblog yesterday, adding that the activists were no different than home intruders.

 Some people said the animal rights supporters should care more about people, as there are many people who could benefit greatly from 100,000 yuan.

 Wang Sixin, a law professor at Beijing-based China University of Communication, told the Global Times that some online comments may be irrational, but they reflect the division in society over this issue.

Chang Jiwen, a scholar with the Social Law Research Department at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that he hopes the incident promotes the passing of laws on animal welfare.

“As long as animals are consumed, there will be clashes between activists and consumers,” said Chang, who let an expert panel in proposing a law against animal cruelty in 2009, which was sent to the National People’s Congress.

Under the draft, it would be illegal to eat and sell dog and cat meat.

The eating of dog meat has been a tradition in China throughout the country’s history. However, like other traditions, such as foie gras, whaling and bull fighting, this one faces increasing objection from animal-rights groups.

According to the Beijing Times, the South Korean government drew criticism during the 2002 World Cup from rights groups angry about the country’s dog-eating tradition. To avoid such discontent, Chinese authorities ordered hotels to stop selling dog meat during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

 Liu Linlin and Pan Yan contributed to this story.

Global Times


About kchew

an occasional culturalist
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One Response to China: Culture of eating dog meat

  1. H says:

    It’s double standards and hypocrisy. Muslims and Jews don’t eat pork, yet they don’t go around the world trying to ban it. Same situation with Hindus who don’t eat beef (they consider cows to be sacred). Yet Westerners and Chinese dog owners feel they have the right to tell other people what they can or can’t eat, and ban whatever they deem to be bad. I myself am not Asian and would never eat dog meat, but I support people’s freedom to do so. If dog meat should be banned because some people love dogs and keep them as pets, then pork should also be banned because some people keep pigs (miniature ones) as pets too. Where do you stop?

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