Although dog meat consumption is discouraged in many Western societies, the habit of eating dog meat has been around for generations in many other countries.
Dog meat may be regarded as a staple cuisine in several Asian and African nations, much as beef or chicken is in Western societies.
In these nations, Western tourists may want to be cautious while attempting to consume local cuisine and clarify what sort of meat is used.
Dog meat has played an important part in numerous societies throughout history and continues to do so now. Westerners may find the ingestion of dog or cat meat unusual or even revolting, yet other cultures and faiths may see the same disgust in Western foods.
For example, most Hindus in India and many Buddhists consider raising cattle for slaughter dishonorable, even sinful. People like the Jains of India, who believe in non-violence toward all life, follow a lacto-vegetarian diet.
Consumption of dog meat in Asia
Asia is the region where dog meat eating is most prevalent, with the Humane Society International estimating that up to 30 million dogs are murdered each year for human consumption. According to this estimation, many pets have been abducted from their homes and slain.
Only a few countries are known to consume dog meat regularly: China, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Nagaland area, India.
The tradition is also declining in popularity among younger generations, who see dogs and cats more as pets than food.
Approximately 10 million dogs (and four million cats) are consumed in China each year, making it the world’s most populous dog-eating nation.
China has been eating dog meat for thousands of years, and many sections of the nation continue to do so. Yulin, which has a dog meat festival every year, is the most well-known of these areas among Westerners.
Lychee and Dog Meat Festivals in Yulin, China, are attracting growing attention and criticism within and beyond China.
When Shenzhen & Zhuhai became mainland China’s first and second cities to ban dog and cat meat in 2020, China’s Agriculture Ministry reclassified dogs and cats from animal to companion animals.
Vietnam, the second-largest eater of dog meat globally, is another nation where eating dogs is commonplace.
Almost every part of the dog is used in Vietnamese cooking, and the flesh is seasoned and served on a stick. Dog meat is often believed to have medical benefits and bring good fortune to those who consume it.
Five million dogs are slaughtered in Vietnam each year (much more per capita than in China), which has led to an illicit import market for dogs from neighboring countries such as Cambodia (where dogs are also consumed), Laos, and Thailand.
Although just 5% of the population in Indonesia eats dog meat, both domestic and stray street dogs are kidnapped and butchered regularly.
Rife with rabies is rampant in Indonesia, and slaughterhouses and procedures for selling dog meat are typically unsanitary, making the trade extremely deadly. Dog meat is also found in the Philippines, the major component in asocena.
On the other side, Taiwan became the first Asian nation to criminalize the eating of cat and dog meat and the selling of cats and dogs for consumption in 2017. Violators risk heavy penalties, public shame, and even potential jail sentences.
A similar prohibition has been put into place in Hong Kong for decades, prohibiting the killing of cats and dogs and the selling of their flesh. There is still no restriction on the eating of such meat.
North Korea, Timor-Leste, and Uzbekistan, three countries known for their renowned secrecy, are said to eat dog meat.
As a prominent component in meals such as Gaegogi (also the generic word for dog meat) and the medicinal drink Gaesoju, it was previously popular in South Korea. Still, its popularity in recent years has decreased.
Nearly 40% of dog meat restaurants in South Korea have closed in the previous decade, according to a Korea Times statement, and a 2020 study by Nielsen and HSI found that 84% of South Koreans asked do not consume dog meat and 60% of respondents would favor a ban on it.
As early as 2020, South Korea formed a task committee to investigate the possibility of such a ban.
Consumption of dog meat in the rest of the world
Around 20 African nations eat dog meat as part of their rituals and cultures. When it comes to dog meat in Burkina Faso, it is considered a cultural indulgence and a delicacy, not something to be enjoyed in public or in restaurants.
Dog meat consumption in Burkina Faso has a long history that may be traced back to close relationships between family members and friends.
In Ghana, residents of the Frafra and Dagaaba tribes like eating dog meat to strengthen their social ties. (Cat meat is strangely referred to as “Joseph.”)
Aside from Liberia, the Central African Republic, Nigeria (where some think the meat can heal malaria or improve libido), Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, dog meat is eaten in other nations.
Dog meat intake in Ghana and Nigeria, and Liberia entails a significant risk of illness, including rabies and Ebola.
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Even though dog meat is typically considered taboo in Europe, roughly 3% of Swiss citizens (especially in rural regions) still partake by eating jerky or traditional sausages made from dog meat as of 2014.
Dog fat is also believed to have medical benefits, such as alleviating joint pain and other aches and pains in the human body.
Even though dog meat is prohibited from being sold, British law allows for its slaughter and ingestion if the animal is kept by its owner and murdered humanely.
In the United States, dog meat is almost universally frowned upon. There is technically no legislation in the US prohibiting the eating of dogs and cats for human food—but the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act of 2018 completely decimated any non-clandestine industry formed around the practice.
The law makes an exemption for Native American rites that include the consumption of dog flesh since certain of these groups have a history or custom of doing so.
Several ancient Kickapoo recipes call for the use of dog meat, and the Sioux and Cheyenne are also known to have eaten domestic dog meat, but not wild canines.
The consumption of dog meat is permissible in Canada, provided that the meat is procured from a facility that has been granted a license, which none seem to have. Mexico prohibits the selling of dog meat, although the Aztecs were known to rear dogs for sustenance.
Only South Australia, one of Australia’s 16 states and territories, has made killing and eating cats and dogs illegal. But the selling of cat and dog meat throughout the nation is illegal.
|Australia||Sale forbidden, private consumption technically legal in most states||26068.7920|
|Burkina Faso||Special occasion delicacy||22102.8380|
|Cambodia||Legal and practiced||17168.6390|
|Cameroon||Legal and practiced||27911.5480|
|Canada||Technically legal, but with stipulations that render it impossible||38388.4190|
|Central African Republic||Legal and practiced||5016.6780|
|China||Legal and prevalent, but decreasing in popularity||1448471.4000|
|DR Congo||Legal and practiced||95240.7920|
|Ghana||Special occasion delicacy||32395.4500|
|Indonesia||Legal and practiced by minority||279134.5050|
|Liberia||Legal and practiced||5305.1170|
|Nigeria||Legal and practiced||216746.9340|
|North Korea||Legal and practiced||25990.6790|
|South Korea||Legal and practiced, but decreasing in popularity||51329.8990|
|Switzerland||Practiced by minority||8773.6370|
|Timor-Leste||Legal and practiced||1369.4290|
|United Kingdom||Sale forbidden, private slaughter and consumption legal if humane||68497.9070|
|United States||Transportation, delivery, possession, and slaughter for consumption illegal, with exception for Native Americans||334805.2690|
|Uzbekistan||Legal and practiced||34382.0840|
|Vietnam||Legal and prevalent||98953.5410|