Commercial dog meat production is inherently cruel. The animals suffer at every stage, from farming (or capture) through to transport, sale and slaughter.
In South Korea, intensively farmed dogs live for less than a year, often raised in "over the ground" cages. Although these cages are designed so that waste can drain away, in reality they are rarely cleaned, resulting in a filthy build-up.
The dogs are usually fed on scraps from neighboring restaurants or – as a WSPA-funded report discovered – even on other dogs. Apart from the sheer inhumanity of this, it further risks the spread of disease. Fighting over the meager food supply causes aggression and injury, and the overuse of antibiotics is commonplace, introducing these drugs into the humane food chain.
In Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam dogs are swapped for a small item such as a blanket or stolen from the streets. They are then transported – tightly caged for many hours – only to be slaughtered or exported by boat and truck to Vietnam, where they are force fed, sold and slaughtered.
If sales are slow, dogs will remain caged for days or even weeks. Slaughter takes place at markets or make-shift slaughterhouses by 220 volt electrocution to the mouth.
There is simply no humane way to commercially farm or transport dogs. Dogs are:
Eating dog meat isn’t without controversy even in the countries where it is common, including China, South Korea and Vietnam. The dog meat trade is either illegal or unregulated in all the countries where it is most prevalent.
In South Korea, dogs sold for meat are not safeguarded by animal protection laws; they are also not recognized as livestock for slaughter and processing, meaning their meat cannot legally be sold. But enforcement is weak and dog meat remains on the menu.
Protecting animals starts with moving people to care, and the good news is that recent South Korean opinion polls suggest that eating dog meat is losing popularity, especially with younger people.
Similar polls show that the vast majority of Thai people don’t agree with eating or trading dog meat either, while in Vietnam and China the ownership and valuing of dogs as companions is growing as is opposition to their use as food.
We support the stance taken by Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore and Hong Kong, where the slaughter of dogs for people to eat has been banned.
It is important to support local groups for a sustainable end to the dog meat trade as WSPA has done in the past in South Korea. We are now considering an approach to tackle this issue on a regional basis.