The Dog Meat Trade: Unveiling the Dark Reality

The dog meat trade, a controversial industry that continues to persist despite societal progress, represents a grim reality that demands attention. Explore its cultural roots, ethical concerns, and global efforts for change as we shed light on the hidden world of the dog meat trade, aiming to raise awareness and inspire meaningful action.
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In the United States, dogs are considered to be cherished members of the family. There are special gourmet dog foods at your supermarket, puppy spas, and even aromatherapy sprays for anxious pups. With all the love and regard given to our household pets, it is a huge culture shock, to say the least, to learn that dog meat is eaten in South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, and China.

What Is The Dog Meat Trade?

The dog meat trade refers to the buying, selling, and consumption of dogs for their meat. It is a practice that exists in certain regions of the world, primarily in parts of Asia. Dogs involved in the trade are often raised on farms or captured from the streets, and they may endure inhumane conditions and treatment during transportation, confinement, and slaughter.

The trade is surrounded by controversy du to animal welfare concerns, ethical considerations ,and cultural differences, and the potential risks to public health. While efforts have been made to combat the dog meat trade and promote animal welfare, it continues to persist in some regions.

Recently, throughout social media and television, the dog meat industry, in particular the Yulin Dog Meat Eating Festival, has caused public outrage on a global level. A simple Google search produces thousands of pictures, videos, and first-hand accounts that shed light on the cruelty taking place, including dogs that are brutally beaten, gruesomely slaughtered, and burned, boiled, and dismembered while conscious.

These horrific acts of violence are performed by people that seemingly enjoy it, in front of large audiences as a form of entertainment. The tens of thousands of dogs eaten during this festival and traded as part of the dog meat industry may be strays, bought through retailers, or taken from people’s homes.

Some 2 million dogs are killed for their meat every year in South Korea. In an effort to expose this cruel industry, we’ve teamed with vegan artist Sooyeon Jang and Korean animal rights organization CARE to create an illustrated “Draw My Life” video. This video enables viewers who would ordinarily turn away from graphic footage, to see what’s really happening. Take a look.

Dog Meat Bans

Several countries have taken steps to ban the consumption and trade of dog meat. Those that have implemented legislation prohibiting dog meat include:

  • Taiwan: In 1998, Taiwan banned the slaughter and sale of dog and cat meat. More recently in 2017, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to ban the consumption dog and cat meat.
  • Thailand: The sale and consumption of dog meat are illegal in Thailand under the country’s Animal Cruelty Prevention and Welfare Act.
  • South Korea: While not outright banned, South Korea has implemented stricter regulations and restrictions on the dog meat industry, leading to a significant decline in consumption.
  • Hong Kong: In 1950, the Hong Kong government banned the slaughter and sale of dogs and cats for consumption.
  • Philippines: In 1998, the Philippines passed the Animal Welfare Act, which prohibits the killing and selling of dogs for meat. Unfortunately, the industry continues to exist due to lax enforcement of the laws.

While these countries have implemented bans or restrictions on the dog meat trade, it’s worth noting that the enforcement of these laws can vary. Despite the bans, there are reports of illegal and underground activities related to the dog meat trade in certain regions. Factors such as cultural traditions, lack of strict enforcement, and the existence of black markets can contribute to the continued presence of the trade.

Some argue that the bans may not completely eradicate the practice, as they often require sustained efforts in raising awareness, enforcement, and addressing underlying socio-cultural factors. It is an ongoing challenge to fully eliminate the dog meat trade in countries where it has been banned.

How To Take Action

This barbaric treatment of animals has no place in modern society. You can prevent this cruelty by choosing vegan. Every time you hand over a dollar bill at the grocery store or place an order at a restaurant, you are voting for the world you want to live in. That means you have an opportunity to cast a vote for compassion, sustainability, and health at every single meal!

The battle against the dog meat trade is far from over. In South Korea, the consistent enforcement of laws is crucial for lasting and widespread change to take place. It is imperative that people continue to raise their voices against the brutal practice and actively support efforts to implement nad uphold the new legislation.

Please take a moment to sign this petition urging South Korea’s President Moon to put an end to the barbaric Bok Nal Festival, and continue to raise awareness of the brutal dog meat trade!

Not surprisingly, petitions against Yulin have collected millions of signatures in an attempt to put an end to this horrific “celebration.” While it is important to be socially aware and tolerant of other cultures—and to remember that we have similarly horrific practices here in the U.S. (factory farms)—the horrific mistreatment of animals at the Yulin dog meat festival must not be overlooked. Like all other innocent animals that were born to be killed and consumed, they need the public’s support and protection.

Please consider signing petitions, raising awareness through social media, and donating to one of the many organizations that help rescue dogs in Asia, such as: Soi Dog and the Duo Duo Project. Together, we can stand up and help to put an end to the dog meat industry. We must be the voice for the voiceless. We are their only hope.

Photo by PETA / Manfred Karremann

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