Wok the Dog

By Robert Harland

Would you eat dog meat? Perhaps, if it’s that or starve. But I think most of us would prefer not to see man’s best friend on the dinner table.

A dog is wrapped for sale at a market in the Baiyun district in China's southern city of Guangzhou

A dog is wrapped for sale at a market in the Baiyun district in China's southern city of Guangzhou

Dogs have been eaten in parts of Asia since time immemorial. In South Korea alone it’s reckoned there are around 6,000 restaurants serving over a million portions of dog meat a year.

Dogs on their way to market a South Korea

Dogs on their way to market a South Korea

In Vietnam, I’ve seen cages on street corners containing dogs bred and reared purely to end up on the dinner table.

In China dog eating goes back thousands of years, but these days with more and more middle class Chinese owning dogs the notion of eating what could be a pet is becoming distasteful. China is now considering a law to outlaw eating dog meat.

But many ask why ban eating dogs when we eat pigs and cows? What’s the difference?  A growing army of Chinese believe that dogs should be treated as pets and not food.

In South Korea there’s been a substantial increase in the number of protests against eating dog meat. The Korea Dog Farmers’ Association was recently planning to stage an open-air market in Seongnam City, just south of Seoul, but it was canceled following growls of protest from animal rights groups.

A South Korean child protests against eating  dog meat

A South Korean child protests against eating dog meat

“This is making our country an international laughing stock, and making the whole world mistakenly believe that all South Koreans eat dogs,” said Park So-Youn, head of Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth.

“Canines are the animals emotionally closest to humans. You can’t just publicly celebrate killing and eating them,” Park said.

In 2002 when South Korea co-hosted the FIFA World Cup, French actress-turned-animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot said she received thousands of death threats for criticizing the practice of eating dog meat.

Last week, the International Olympic Committee awarded the 2018 Winter Games to the South Korean county of Pyeongchang. Will South Korea once again come under international pressure from animal rights organizations? The IOC declined to comment for this article.

There is also the cruelty aspect of the dog meat trade. Devotees believe the meat is richer if the dog is beaten to death to release the blood into the meat.

And many Asian men are convinced there are medicinal benefits from dog meat. They say it enhances their sexual ability.

But these days there’s always Viagra — it’s proven to work, it’s not cruel and it’s probably a lot cheaper than a slap-up dinner with Rover as the main course.

Advertisements