While the Chinese government cancelled an annual dog meat festival—during which around 15,000 dogs are slaughtered, many of them inhumanely—in response to an international uproar after gruesome images were circulated on the Internet last year, eating dog meat remains legal and acceptable in many parts of the country, particularly in the northeastern and southern provinces of Guizhou, Guangxi, Guandong and Fujian.
And, like other Chinese laws regarding animal welfare, the ban will most likely not be enforced. China is one of eleven countries left in the world where eating dog meat is legal and socially acceptable. In Guangdong, some breeds are even slaughtered as young puppies as early as 3 to 4 months old to supply the demand for preserved dog meat.
Animal welfare advocates have pointed out the widespread cruelty involved in the Chinese dog meat industry, and animal experts have drafted legislation to protect the dogs from abuse (though again, even if such legislation passes, it will likely not be enforced). One particularly violent instance of animal abuse in the Chinese dog trade involves beating the animals to death to release blood into the meat, reports the International Business Times.
"People actually enjoyed killing them in different ways," said Wang Lingyi, an animal welfare worker from Hangzhou, according to Psychology Today. "I've seen the dogs being stabbed, strangled and even beaten unconscious and then thrown into boiling water. If the dogs regained consciousness in the extremely hot water, they struggled, but the stall holders kept pushing them down and plucking their fur."
Additionally, World Health Organization experts on a fact-finding mission in the capital of Guangdong reported evidence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) in dog markets. There have also been reports of pet dogs being snatched off the streets to be sold on the dog meat market.
To a Westerner, the thought of eating man's best friend may seem horrific, but animal rights organization PETA has pointed out on their blog that, while upsetting to Western thinking, it is no different that all other forms of animal consumption. However, the group forgets that plain fact that the dog-human bond is infinitely stronger than, say, the dog-cow or dog-chicken relationship. Indeed, dogs have been close human companions for thousands of years: Dogs and humans have arguably forged the closest relationship between two species the world has ever seen.
"Pet ownership has grown rapidly among the Chinese, as has a greater consciousness of animal rights," writes Edward Wong in The New York Times. Hopefully that growing consciousness will soon stop the practice of eating man's best friend.
As the late American wildlife preservationist and former ASPCA president Roger Caras wisely observed, "Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." It's high time to take them off the dinner table for good, no matter where in the world they may roam.
- Sign a Care for Chinese Animals petition to ban dog and cat meat in China
- Join Bill Clinton, Paul McCartney, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Bono, Ricky Gervais, Roger Moore, Susan Sarandon, Anjelica Huston, Jeremy Irons, Paula Abdul, Joan Jett, Annie Lennox, Elton John and thousands of others who have signed the TigerTime petition urging Chinese premier Wen Jiabao to call for an end to all tiger trade in China
- Sign a Change.org petition to close China's bear bile farms
- Sign the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW)
- Follow 13.7 Billion Years on Twitter
- Reason #1: China Tortures and Kills Bears
- Reason #2: China Kills Endangered Tigers
- Reason #3: China Slaughters Dogs Inhumanely, Eats Them
- Reason #4: China Is Pushing Musk Deer to Extinction
- Reason #5: China Tortures Animals on Fur Farms
- Reason #6: Chinese Delicacy Fuels Torture and Death of Sharks
- Reason #7: China Is Pushing Seahorse to Extinction
- Reason #8: China Sells Live Animals in Sealed Plastic Keychains
- Reason #9: China Tortures and Kills Monkeys for Monkey Brain Dish
- Reason #10: China Sells Toxic Treats That Kill Dogs
- Reason #11: China Clubbed 50,000 Dogs to Death
- Reason #12: China Supports Slaughter of Elephants for Ivory
- Reason #13: China Abuses Cows and Baby Calves
- Reason #14: China Is Pushing Endangered Rhino to Extinction
- Reason #15: China Is Pushing Endangered Pangolin to Extinction
- Reason #16: China Massacred Tens of Thousands of Cats for Olympics
- Reason #17: China Requires Animal Testing on Cosmetics
- Reason #18: China Kills Endangered Turtles
- Reason #19: China Kills Baby Mice for Delicacy Dish
- Reason #20: China Sells Videos of Animals Being Crushed to Death
- Reason #21: China Allows Horse Fighting
- Reason #22: China Drowns Baby Mice to Make a Health Tonic
- Reason #23: For Countless Animals, China Is Hell on Earth
- Dog Days of Summer: Selected videos of man's best friend
- Second Rock from the Sun: Looking at Venus
- Ars Animalis: Looking at animals throughout the history of art
- Women's History Month: Remembering 22 women in science
- Purity Month: Looking at 100%
- Instead of This, Try This: Starting the new year with change
- Victory Month: Celebrating positive change through grassroots action
- Of Rice and Men: Cooking the world's most important grain for human nutrition
- 21 Days, 21 Reasons, 21 Recipes, 21 Quotes: Eating plants, loving animals
- Rich Dog, Poor Dog: Considering man's best friend
- Physicists & Priests: Looking at the relationship of science and religion
- Deep Space: Staring at the stars
- Gray Matters: Thinking about thinking
- Flower Power: Stopping to smell the angiosperms
- Animal Cruelty: Looking at the devil within
- Chemical Month: Exploring the vast laboratory of our daily lives
- Africa Month: Visiting the world's second-largest continent
- Reports from 2050: Imagining the future