Standing up against eating dogs is not only a social and cultural rule, but it is also something basic human ethics dictates. Though some cultures and religions sanction dog meat consumption, this is still not the case in our current society. Thus, this issue has been an ongoing controversy for years now. In this article, we are going to address this issue and talk about the dog meat industry. This article will also attempt to answer all your queries as to the whats, hows, whens, and whys of the dog meat industry.
What Is Dog Meat?
Dog meat consists of the flesh and other edible parts of a dog. Historically, dog meat consumption is the trend all throughout the world. But in the 21st century, very few countries engage in such consumption. It means dog meat consumption is still part of the cuisine of many countries, and people in these places accept such practice in their daily living.
Are All Kinds of Dog Meat Edible?
Generally and objectively, all meat is edible. Dogs have meat parts, just like any other animal. When it all comes down to the point where we all have to survive on our own, our instinct will lead us to eat all kinds of animals, therefore justifying the fact that we can eat dog meat.
However, we are not at the point of total economic and societal collapse that we are already incapable of producing other kinds of food from multiple sources. There can be no excuse for processing dog meat, let alone eating it.
But in countries allowing dog meat consumption, there are certain dog breeds they procure for consumption. Take note that although we are discussing the possibility of dog meat consumption, we are still not saying that their act is correct. Dog meat consumption is still a taboo, after all.
Therefore, for purposes of cultivating our knowledge on the dog meat industry, here is the list of dog breeds the industry usually procures. But just a quick reminder: dogs are pets, not food.
The Nureongi breed is the most common type of dog for consumption in South Korea. Characterized by its yellow skin, it is the most preferred dog meat among the other types within the country.
Polynesian dogs are “pariah dogs” or dogs that have a stronger sense of freedom and are often found cooped up together. These dogs get their own sustenance from human wastes or from canals in our areas. What makes this dog prone to slaughter and consumption may be that it lives in the slums and cities.
Hawaiian Poi Dog
These dogs are now extinct. Hawaiians treat these dogs as a spiritual medium and a source of food. It is just unfortunate that we will not be able to see these dogs flourish!
Believe it or not, this dog is the primary source of food of travelers during the expedition period in the early European age. They are not yet extinct, so there is still time to save these dogs!
These dogs are brown, hairless creatures. The existence of this breed already began ever since the Aztec Empire Period. Unfortunately, during that period, this breed has become one of the sources of food, which is why people still eat its meat.
Labradors, Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels
Yes, we know. Even domesticated dogs are being made into dog meat! The consumption of these creatures is more prevalent in South Korea. This is another proof of how ruthless the dog meat industry is.
Is Dog Meat Consumption Really a Bad Thing?
There is no correct way of answering this without ever offending the thoughts of others. But for starters, let us try to view dog meat consumption as something based on a person’s culture. If, say, a particular group of people sharing the same religion or belief consider dog meat consumption as something that is a part of their tradition or practice, then such a thing is not inherently evil.
You see, eating dog meat is a big taboo all over the world. Thinking about doing it or seeing someone do it is just as unsettling as how we imagine it to be. Even if this is the case, there can be no absolute rule for its evil nature, because, for every practice, there will always be an exception. In the case of dog meat consumption, it is culture and religion. For most instances in Asia, old male consumers buy and eat dog meat under the (mistaken) belief that doing so will give them health benefits.
In a cultural sense, the majority of Westerners consider dogs a companion, which is why it is a complete taboo to eat dogs. But for the Eastern and Southern parts of the world, like South Korea, Philippines, China, or Vietnam, eating dogs is just like eating any other kind of ordinary food. It may seem harmless at first glance, but what is alarming is how they procure the dog meat.
Dog meat consumption is the main reason why the dog meat industry exists. As if ordinary food production is not enough for capitalist corporations, the Eastern and Southern countries saw an opportunity for financial gain in dog meat production. Desperation is the driving force of the dog meat industry, and this results in unethical means of production, such as engaging in cruelty only to produce dog meat. Can you imagine it?
We can, therefore, say that it is not solely dog meat consumption that makes the act itself bad. It is how industries, for the sake of profit, engage in the cruel and unethical production of dog meat that makes dog meat consumption evil.
What Are Dog Meat Industries?
Dog meat industries are the corporations or institutions engaged in the production of dog meat for mass consumption.
You’re not alone if this reality still baffles you. “Do such companies really exist?” “Are you seriously telling me there are factories devoted solely to produce dog meat?” “Why would they even establish this kind of industry, if eating dogs are taboo in the first place?” Such reactions are valid because the same questions ran through my mind. And it is still incomprehensible to me why people would go to such lengths and capitalize such unmarketable things just to earn money.
Are There Dog Meat Industries All Over the World?
Not really. There are no reports in the Western region regarding the existence of dog meat industries, let alone the dog meat trade itself. The West even emphasizes that most Asian countries’ backward way of thinking is what holds them back, as manifested by the archaic cultural practice of eating dog meat.
The opposite is true in Asia. In fact, Asia considers meat consumption as a form of tradition passed on from generation to generation. Such belief is so pervasive that the dog meat industry exists today. So, across Asia, dog meat industries are present, but they are mostly situated in China, Vietnam, South Korea, and Indonesia. There used to be dog meat industries in Thailand, but nongovernmental organizations deterred them.
What Really Happens in Dog Meat Industries?
There are several ways in which the dog meat industry goes about its business. The first step is “factory farming.” In a general sense, factory farming is an industrial process by which animals are mass-produced for consumption. For livestock and poultry animals, a part of the farming process is the production of what these kinds of animals generate: their eggs, milk, or meat.
As for dogs, factory farming is nothing less different. Dogs undergo the same treatment as ordinary farm animals, only harsher and crueler.
Dog Transport and Caging
In South Korea, the first thing dog meat industries do is to transport the dogs at ungodly hours to the factory for farming.
The next thing dog meat industries do is to place the dogs in cramped cages to prevent them from fighting one another. Most of the time, they bring dogs in their factories for breeding purposes. The captured dogs are often fed with food waste from establishments or restaurants because dog food is expensive.
During transportation, dogs stay inside the vehicles or trucks. It may sound as if the dogs are doing okay, but their crate is too small for them to breathe. These creatures even get to the point where they become so stressed in the situation that they lose their minds and eat their kind. Yes, you read that right. As a result of stress, dogs eat other dogs both in the process of farming and in their transportation. This fact is not at all surprising because dogs are animals. Although they are not humans capable of communication, that does not necessarily mean that they cannot feel any psychological strain.
During the farming process, the dogs are extracted from their cages and killed inhumanely. These ways include electrocution, butchering, flaying dogs alive, or even roasting them to death. In South Korea, dogs are decapitated, and their heads are boiled and cooked before delivering them to the sales point or the seller.
In particular, their deaths happen through electric shock or slashing open their jugular veins. But dogs do not immediately die after electric shocks. In fact, they are still conscious after giving them such a shock. They are left paralyzed and vulnerable, which adds to their stress. Plucking their skin also usually comes after electrocution.
As if that’s not cruel enough, dog meat industries also subject the animals to strangulation, beating, and drug infusion to disable them before the slaughter. It was also reported that in some other countries, dogs are slaughtered in front of customers by using muscle relaxants.
As you can see, the processes inside the dog meat industry are just unbelievably inhumane. Yes, some may argue that dogs are animals and not humans, but that does not mean that they are devoid of some rights. Part of dogs’ rights is to be treated with kindness, just like any other creature. The dog meat industry should not abuse dogs because dogs do not deserve such cruelty.
How Do Dog Meat Industries Procure Dogs?
In Asian countries, middlemen snatch the dogs wherever they may find them, even when the dogs are just peacefully walking along the streets. Some buy the dogs from their owners, or, worse, dog meat industries just steal the poor dogs from the backyards of their owners.
Is There Any Way to Stop Dog Meat Industries?
Yes, there is! As mentioned, some nongovernmental organizations devote their time and resources in putting an end to these cruel dog meat industries. Aside from raiding dog farms across Asia, these organizations also launch campaigns to prevent and deter others from engaging in such an unethical business. Of course, they also conduct rescue missions of dogs suffering under the claws of the dog meat industry. Online petitions and mass protests also take place in various Asian countries to stop animal cruelty caused by dog meat industries.
Soi Dog Foundation
Soi Dog Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in Phuket, Thailand, in 2003. It is devoted to improving the welfare of dogs and cats in Asia. It is also responsible for successfully stopping the dog meat industry in Thailand.
Human Society International (HSI)
HSI is the most prominent frontrunner when it comes to breaking the dog meat industry apart. They have different offices located across the globe to raise global awareness regarding dog meat industries.
It is also a nonprofit organization based in Hong Kong. Thanks to its efforts, there were able to reveal the truth behind how dog meat industries function. This was especially resonant when they did an undercover mission in China. There, dog meat industries do “steal” dogs directly from their owners regardless of where they may be.
Change for Animals Foundation
It is a UK-based nonprofit organization that has already worked with HSI countless times. It rescues dogs in Asia, particularly in Vietnam, South Korea, and China. Just like any other NGO raising public awareness for dog meat industries, the Change for Animals Foundation also contracts celebrities and other people for their campaigns.
Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth
It is a nonprofit organization founded in 2002 by So Youn Park. Its goal is to promote an animal cruelty-free lifestyle. Based in South Korea, it is the largest and most prominent NGO in that country devoted to putting an end to the dog meat industries.
Why Should I Be Concerned with the Dog Meat Industry?
If you are still not convinced as to why the rise of the dog meat industry is an issue, then bear in mind that a dog is a man’s best friend. Aside from being our companion, there are also more pressing and immediate concerns that will most probably convince you to care about the whole issue.
Dog Meat Industry Affects Public Health
Yes, what you read is true! Not only do they keep the dogs in unsanitary cages, but they also infuse them with certain drugs, which, when consumed, would directly affect our health.
Not only that, but the dog meat industry also feeds dogs with food waste. Imagine if you get to consume one of their products.
The Dog Meat Industry Promotes Animal Cruelty
I have already discussed with you how these industries go about slaughtering dogs. It is not at all pleasant to hear or see. For instance, electrocution, beating, and strangulation were considered as acts of mercy killing in the old days. But because they saw the intense brutality behind them, governments ordered the discontinuation of such acts.
I would not blame the government for doing so. After all, such methods of dog meat production, if applied to us humans, would be struck down immediately for being inhumane and cruel.
The Dog Meat Industry Ignores Animal Rights
Everywhere in the world, there are laws prohibiting animal cruelty. Following the intention behind such laws, you can infer that animals do have some rights similar to those we humans possess. Thus, these rights must be respected and upheld. The dog meat industry neglects its duty to exercise care and prudence in handling animals. By committing such inhumane acts on dogs, it deprives them of their right to be free from such cruelty.
In the end, it all boils down to the fact that dog meat industries do not care about these dogs at all. Although they are aware of the fact that dogs are domestic animals, the dog meat industry simply tends to turn a blind eye on this fact. This is why we cannot help but think that maybe they are just one of those beings who derive pleasure from the pain and suffering of other creatures.
There is only one thing that we are sure of: dogs are pets, not food. As pets, they are our protectors, companions, and friends. Without them, life would be bleak, and loneliness will consume us at the end of each day when we are all alone in our private little spaces. Dogs make our lives better, while dog meat industries make it worse.
Now that you are aware of the issue, allow The Furry Companion to help you become better people by staying vigilant in this world full of disinformation.
Brigette is a Communication Arts graduate who is currently in law school. Writing is her passion. As a voracious reader, Brigette advocates for the application of philosophy in the arts. She fantasizes about traveling the world with a book and a cup of coffee.