Moral quandaries dog canine meat festival. Could you eat it?
July 1st, 2011
11:30 AM ET
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From the Global Public Square blog:

Barbecued dog and steamed paws?

These and so much more were to be had at this weekend's dog meat festival near Seoul.

Alas, it was not to be.

Animal rights activists put up such a stink that the organizers, from the Korea Dog Farmers' Association, said there was no way they could go through with the event.

"We couldn't possibly go on with the plan due to endless phone calls of complaint ... now there are few willing to rent us a place for the event," Ann Yong-Geun, a professor of nutrition at Chung Cheong University and an advisor to the association, told AFP.

Organizers of the festival had wanted to showcase the positive side of the dog meat industry in South Korea, where there are about 600 farms that raise dogs for meat, according to Ann.

Read What's wrong with eating dog meat?

On Eatocracy, we write a lot about boundaries and food taboos, and I'm constantly re-examining my own beliefs about the things I choose to eat, how they're raised and killed and how they get to my plate. In my adult life, I've been a vegetarian, pescetarian an omnivore and have selectively deleted some items - most supermarket tomatoes for example - from my diet because I wasn't comfortable with the labor conditions in which they are harvested. I also like to think that I can go into most eating scenarios with a "when in Rome" approach to local foodways. Chitlins, haggis and fermented bamboo? Bring 'em on.

I can't, however, imagine a non-survival situation in which I could possibly bring myself to eat dog. I'm well aware that it's thoroughly hypocritical to eat other animals, yet prize the life of a particular species above others, but I can live with that. As I wrote a while back about my personal ambivalence about eating rabbit while having them as pets, it is truly unnerving to know quite specifically what is under their fur and how it tastes.

That goes double, quadruple, a million times for dogs for me. While rabbits have been nestled in my psyche as a potential food item ever since the first time I saw Bugs Bunny's star turn in Shish-Ka-Bugs ("Hasenpfeffer!...That gastronomic, epicure, culinary Crepes Suzette..."), it's never been so for dogs. They're man's best friend. They pull little Timmy out of the well. According to recent studies, they look to humans to solve any problems they have. The dog with her head mashed up against me as I type this just grumbled and adjusted herself for maximum contact and the rescue greyhound on the floor is twitching in his sleep, seemingly dreaming of his former life on the track.

They depend on me and trust me, and while culinary adventure feeds my soul, I am certain that consuming even a mouthful of dog meat would eat me alive. That may be hypocritical, but that's a personal boundary I can swallow.

I'd love to hear your stance on the matter, so please share your thoughts below. We may share them in an upcoming post.

soundoff (151 Responses)
  1. Jon's Musings

    There's a fine line I wont cross when it comes to what foods I do eat and house pets qualifies.

    July 6, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
  2. Jess

    No way. I have the cutesy puggles that act and play like lil kids. One pretty much talks when he wants a toy or is telling on the other one for doing something she isn't suppose to do. I can never imagine eating dog, love them too much!

    July 6, 2011 at 7:28 am |
  3. dehcated

    Man's so-called "best friend" was also a source of food when no other food was available. Stop personifying animals of a particular species. Meat is meat.

    July 3, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • MalaDee@dehcated

      Soooooo you've never had a pet, you had your heart stomped on at some point in your life and, this morning, someone peed in your corn flakes. Clearly you need to up your meds.

      July 4, 2011 at 8:12 am |
  4. WakeUpAmerica

    I could never eat a pet. People here who would probably have no clue how terrible the conditions are for these dogs and cats. Being human we can chose what we eat and how. We should chose to eat things that are raised and slaughtered in a humane fashion. I sure many of the folks here that would eat dog would also eat people if offered. Sad the moral and ethical divide in our world. Reminds me of Planet of the Apes.

    July 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  5. Rodney

    I would really hate to be in a plane crash with some of you guys. You'd be hanging around salivating while I get weaker and weaker...

    July 3, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  6. mother of four

    This is about a persistent myth and those who pander to it for the sake of money. It's that simple. I can understand and sympathize with those who must eat what is available to them (even if it's a dog) under dire circumstances, but in Korea there are six hundred farms raising dogs to eat, so obviously they have the resources to feed them. If they must eat meat, then there are other more economical food choices, such as chickens and turkeys. They don't need to eat companion animals to survive. And obviously the majority of the population in Korea no longer views dogs as a source of food, so it is obviously no longer about the culture of the people. Someone is profiting from the continuation of this superstition.

    We have altered the make up of the dog so much that he can read our body language, follow the direction of finger when we point, and will place himself in the path of danger to protect us. If we can make a dog understand what we want–he will do his best to obey, with no regard for his own safety. In brief, they "get" us. This makes them unique among the animals we keep. There are other food sources–ones that won't care if their owner's house burns down with them in it, whose entire existence does not revolve around being whatever they ask them to be. If you must eat meat, then choose one of those.

    July 3, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  7. Duminique

    Outwardly if we look at them it looks bad. The truth is the dogs they eat are not pet dogs but they are animal dogs. So i think it is wrong for us to put up this article without telling the real facts. In other countries we are consider as weird people because we eat Cow. In other countries cows are gods or animals who people worship. We might say it don't make sense because a cow is for us to eat. Then in Korea a farm dog is raise to be eaten. They don't eat their pets. They are not foolish people. Let us look at ourselve first before we go to other countries and make them out to be bad people.p

    July 3, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • WakeUpAmerica

      You need to watch the videos of how the raise and slaughter these dogs. Many are pets that were stolen from other people. I guess the DUM in your name says it all?

      July 3, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  8. Ted

    What the article fails to mention is that dog meat is very expensive. It's not a matter of eating it for survival, but considered a delicacy. It also might be less disgusting than eating roasted silk worms and other Korean foods which are on fear factor.

    July 2, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  9. Steven

    Will never eat dog meat, but would try coyote, wolf or fox.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
  10. Night Train

    True story, my wife's family's dog in northeast China (Heilongjiang) have/had a dog until last week. Well, one day it didn't come back home after a day wandering in the village. Bunch of drunk guys caught it, slaughtered it, and grilled that night.

    I am not taking my dog in Beijing up to see her family!

    July 1, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
  11. Shellyvegan Norton

    I would no sooner eat a dog, than I would a cow or a pig. They are all sentient. My body is not a graveyard.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
  12. cannibal corpse

    I guess the only way I could eat my pet is if they had already died and if I didn't I would also die.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
  13. C Morrison

    I would rather die myself than eat a dog.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
  14. greystoke

    No....I would not eat them...nor would I support a culture that does.I was about to by a hyundai gennisis,I will really have to look elsewhere....

    July 1, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  15. Erik

    Of course there's nothing wrong with eating dog meat, or horse meat, or meat from any other animal. If we can eat meat from cows, turkeys, chickens, sheep, pigs, goats, then we can eat meat from horses, dogs, rabbits, whatever.

    July 1, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  16. Alexander

    Re-Puppy Adobo: Oops! Forgot five smashed cloves of garlic. Anti-puppy adobo? You can substitute chicken, pork, or both.

    July 1, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  17. Alexander

    Re-Puppy Adobo – Oops! I forgot, half cup sugar! I also sometimes add a few tablespoons of Hoisin sauce.

    July 1, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  18. Alexander

    Puppy Adobo – In a large pot place one puppy (cut into serving portions), one cup white vinegar, one cup water, half cup soy sauce, hot sauce to taste, one onion – chopped roughly, three carrots – chopped rough, three bay leaves, fresh ground pepper. Simmer one hour. Remove puppy pieces, dry, and fry in vegetable oil until browned on all sides. Return puppy parts to pot, and simmer another half hour, with cover removed to thicken sauce. Serve over white rice.

    July 1, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  19. dontgivea

    You're all a bunch of brain washed sissies. Don't look a cow directly in the eyes because you'll want to give it a great big bear hug and take it off my plate also. Use your brain, don't let it be used.

    July 1, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  20. blackwidow

    The smaller breeds of dog are more tender than the larger breeds. They are delicious after stewing in my crock pot all day.

    July 1, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Alexander

      Not true. It all depends on how the animal lived. An indoor dog, that gets little excersize, will always be more tender then a dog that has a big yard to run, and gets lots of excersize, regardless of whether the breed is small, or large. (Think veal.) Still, the crockpot is a good way to go because dog (puppy) needs to be braised, as it has very little fat.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  21. hawkechik

    No, I don't eat carnivores, although I know that strictly speaking canines aren't true carnivores.

    July 1, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  22. Alexander

    In 20 years this discussion will be a moot point. Animal flesh for human consumption will be made from animal stem cells in huge animal factories. Then people can sample "horse," and "puppy," made in giant meat vats by Libby, Hormel, and Campbell's, and StarKist, along with the usual animal factory "beef," "chicken," and "tuna." No? Did you read the article about the Japanese now making "meat" out of excrement (poop)!

    July 1, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  23. egriff_16

    I grew up in the country where not much was off limits: cow, goat, deer, lamb, rabbits, and even wild turkey. But dog? Umm, no way. I could not eat horse either, which I know is a substantial food source in Europe. Like a lot of you, I'm always concerned with the slaughter house conditions, which is why we purchase our cow and pig from family farms. I know the US is not perfect by any means, but I still think we are miles ahead as far as rules and regulations go.

    July 1, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  24. ilove69

    I would eat dog only if it were free range.

    July 1, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  25. Excuseme2

    It's a good thing that none of us Americans eat pigs/cows/chickens raised on FACTORY FARMS in squalid, fettid, cramped, unventilated and cruel conditions that are so bad the animals have to be literally flooded with antibiotics to keep them alive in circumstances under which they would otherwise most certainly die of infectious disease...

    Yes, indeed it's a good thing our conciences are clear otherwise all this anti-dog eating diatribe would be...oh what's that word? Hypocritical?

    July 1, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  26. JBID

    I find it sad how people get on their don't be cruel to the animal soap box and chokes over the thought of killing and eating an animal but they have no issues with killing babies and just throwing them away. Some of the methods they use to murder babies are barbarous and inhumane. Like partially delivering a baby that could survive and then plunging an instrument into it's living, feeling skull to suck the brains out.

    July 1, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  27. someoneelse

    Most animal lovers are wacko though. Normal people are for the ethical treatment of animals, but the die hard animal lovers, many of whom would actually help a cat over a human in an emergency situation, are f-ed up.

    July 1, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • imsorrysir

      Can't really lump them all as wackos. Some of them, myself included, do so simply because we "intelligent" humans are destroying this planet bit by bit beyond repair whereas these "dumb" animals are not. That alone make me consider them better than us.

      July 2, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
  28. someoneelse

    Dogs raised for meat are no different than pigs raised for pets. One is for eating, one is for loving, whatever that animal is. Now, having said that, living conditions should be good for all animals raised for meat though, and the practice of torture to make the meat tenderer is abhorrent. BTW, the picture at the top of the article is just a little 'one-sided', don't ya think?

    July 1, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  29. luvcomments

    I'd sooner eat a human; I have way more respect for most dogs than most humans.

    July 1, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  30. Michael Vick

    The article failed to mention that dog meat is very lean and nutritious. One episode in Manswer compared nutrition value between dog meat and cat meat, and dog meat won flat out. What is wrong with eating man's best friend if it happened to be good meat?

    You should check out baby rats. It's incredibly tasty. Problem is finding them. See my earlier post.

    July 1, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  31. Congressman WeinerDog

    Nope couldn't eat my best buddies. Just like we wouldn't have left them behind during Katrina if we
    had been there.

    July 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  32. Barack$tar

    I recall hearing, during a piece of commentary on eating horse, that the discomfort so many feel regarding horsemeat has to do with the "special relationship" that man has with the horse. I believe the same to be true of man and dog. I realize that there are people in the world who unflinchingly eat both, but I would not care to do so myself.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  33. bs

    These crazy "animal rights" loons need to stop watching Disney fantasy cartoons and open their eyes to the realities of animals. Absolutely dog meat should be widely available in every grocery store.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  34. Michael Vick

    People don't realize some dogs taste better than others. It's just like tuna tastes completely different from salmon. Some dogs are born killers and I train them for dog fights. Some dogs taste really good and enjoy eating them. In fact, only certain types of dogs are suitable for eating raw. You just have to try it yourself. If you don't try it, then you're missing out because you might have liked it very much once you tried it.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  35. Alexander

    I respect the position of vegeterians. However I love bacon! I'll add one more point, we Americans are so disconnected to the rest of the world, and that leads a lot of people to hate us. I believe in the "when in Rome" theory. When in the Philipines, I gave three big yellowfin tuna heads to a bunch of workers. Yes, they wanted the heads, not the tuna meat. That night I was a guest at a big fish-head soup party. I was handed a bowl with a giant tuna eye in the soup. I ate that tuna eye – although to me it was awful – because they gave me the tuna eye as a show of respect, it being their favorite part. I told them it was great. In other words, I "went native" and because of that I was accepted as a friend, not seen as "an American."

    July 1, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  36. brian

    I'd only eat the cute puppy meat. I hear it's real tender, Like veal.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  37. myke

    I have some news for all those that have gone down to their local "Chinatown" and ordered some beef and broccoli, you are dog. Sry to break it to you but how does Rover taste? Yummy as long as you have him with soy sauce and fried rice.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  38. Alison

    Go vegan! It is kinder to animals, better for the environment, and healthier for you! We are going to be entering a major water shortage soon. Raising livestock is very water intensive. If we all ate plant-based diets, a lot of today's problems would go away.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • The Witty One@Alison

      By jove, I think you've got it. The only part I don't have worked out is, what will the vegans complain about if no one ate meat?

      July 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • PaleoRules

      Veganism kills animals too and in droves. No one who has seen a wheat field after a harvester has been through would claim that it is kind. Wheat/soy are also murder.

      July 2, 2011 at 10:14 am |
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