Dog meat

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Dog meat
Dog Meat.jpg
Various cuts of dog meat
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy1,096 kJ (262 kcal)
0.1 g
Dietary fiber0 g
20.2 g
19 g
Vitamin A equiv.
3.6 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.12 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.18 mg
Niacin (B3)
1.9 mg
Vitamin C
3 mg
8 mg
2.8 mg
168 mg
270 mg
72 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water60.1 g
Cholesterol44.4 mg
Ash0.8 g
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: Yong-Geun Ann (1999)[1]

Dog meat is the flesh and other edible parts derived from dogs. Historically, human consumption of dog meat has been recorded in many parts of the world.[2] In the 21st century, dog meat is consumed in China,[3] Nigeria,[4] Switzerland,[5] and Vietnam,[6] and it is eaten or is legal to be eaten in other countries throughout the world. Some cultures view the consumption of dog meat as part of their traditional, ritualistic, or day-to-day cuisine, and other cultures consider consumption of dog meat a taboo, even where it had been consumed in the past. Opinions also vary drastically across different regions within different countries.[7][8] It was estimated in 2014 that worldwide, 25 million dogs are eaten each year by humans.[9]

Historical practices[edit]


In the Aztec Empire, Mexican hairless dogs were bred for, among other purposes,[10] their meat. Hernán Cortés reported when he arrived in Tenochtitlan in 1519, "small gelded dogs which they breed for eating" were among the goods sold in the city markets.[11] These dogs, Xoloitzcuintles, were often depicted in pre-Columbian Mexican pottery. The breed was almost extinct in the 1940s, but the British military attaché in Mexico City, Norman Wright, developed a thriving breed from some of the dogs he found in remote villages.[12] Unfortunately the genetic heritage of the breed has been almost erased through interbreeding with other dog breeds to keep its looks alive. [13]

Native North Americans[edit]

The traditional culture surrounding the consumption of dog meat varied from tribe to tribe among the original inhabitants of North America, with some tribes relishing it as a delicacy, and others (such as the Comanche) treating it as a forbidden food.[14] Native peoples of the Great Plains, such as the Sioux and Cheyenne, consumed it, but there was a concurrent religious taboo against the meat of wild canines.[15]

The Kickapoo people include puppy meat in many of their traditional festivals.[16] This practice has been well documented in the Works Progress Administration "Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma".[17][18]

On 20 December 2018, the federal Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act was signed into law as part of the 2018 Farm Bill. It bans slaughtering dogs and cats for food in the United States, with exceptions for Native American rituals.[19]


One of Ireland's mythological heroes, Cuchulainn, had two geasa, or vows, one of which was to avoid the meat of dogs. The breaking of his geasa led to his death in the Irish mythology.


Extinct Hawaiian Poi Dog (center)

Dogs were historically eaten in Tahiti and other islands of Polynesia, including Hawaii[20][21] at the time of first European contact. James Cook, when first visiting Tahiti in 1769, recorded in his journal, "few were there of us but what allow'd that a South Sea Dog was next to an English Lamb, one thing in their favour is that they live entirely upon Vegetables".[22] Calwin Schwabe reported in 1979 that dog was widely eaten in Hawaii and considered to be of higher quality than pork or chicken. When Hawaiians first encountered early British and American explorers, they were at a loss to explain the visitors' attitudes about dog meat. The Hawaiians raised both dogs and pigs as pets and for food. They could not understand why their British and American visitors only found the pig suitable for consumption.[2] This practice seems to have died out, along with the native Hawaiian breed of dog, the unique Hawaiian Poi Dog, which was primarily used for this purpose.[23]

Although Hawaii has outlawed commercial sales of dog meat, until the federal Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act it was legal to slaughter an animal classified as a pet if it was "bred for human consumption" and done in a "humane" manner. This allowed dog meat trade to continue, mostly using stray, lost, or stolen dogs.[24][25]

Religious dietary laws[edit]

According to Kashrut, Jewish dietary law, it is forbidden to consume the flesh of terrestrial predators who do not chew their cud and have cloven hooves, which includes dogs. In Islamic dietary laws, the consumption of the flesh of a dog, or any carnivorous animal, or any animal bearing fangs, claws, fingers or reptilian scales, is prohibited.[26]

Dogs as survival food[edit]

Wars and famines[edit]

In most European countries, the consumption of dog meat is taboo. Exceptions occurred in times of scarcity, such as sieges or famines.

In Germany, dog meat has been eaten in every major crisis since at least the time of Frederick the Great, and was commonly referred to as "blockade mutton".[7]

Great Dog Butchery, Paris, France, 1910

During the Siege of Paris (1870–1871), food shortages caused by the German blockade of the city caused the citizens of Paris to turn to alternative sources for food, including dog meat. Dog meat was also reported as being sold by some butchers in Paris in 1910.[27][28]

In the early 20th century, high meat prices led to widespread consumption of horse and dog meat in Germany.[29][30][31]

In the early 20th century in United States, dog meat was consumed during times of meat shortage.[32]

A few meat shops sold dog meat during the German occupation of Belgium in World War I, when food was extremely scarce.[33]

In the latter part of World War I, dog meat was being eaten in Saxony by the poorer classes because of famine conditions.[34]

In Germany, the consumption of dog meat continued in the 1920s.[35][36] In 1937, a meat inspection law targeted against trichinella was introduced for pigs, dogs, boars, foxes, badgers, and other carnivores.[37]

During severe meat shortages coinciding with the German occupation from 1940 to 1945, sausages found to have been made of dog meat were confiscated by Nazi authorities in the Netherlands.[38]

Expeditions and emergencies[edit]

Travelers sometimes have to eat their accompanying dogs to survive when stranded without other food. For example, Benedict Allen ate his dog when lost in Brazilian rainforest.[39] A case in Canada was reported in 2013.[40]

Lewis and Clark[edit]

During Lewis and Clark expedition(1803–1806), Meriwether Lewis and the other members of the Corps of Discovery consumed dog meat, either from their own animals or supplied by Native American tribes, including the Paiutes and Wah-clel-lah Indians, a branch of the Watlatas,[41] the Clatsop,[42] the Teton Sioux (Lakota),[43] the Nez Perce Indians (who did not eat dog themselves[44]),[45] and the Hidatsas.[46] Lewis and the members of the expedition ate dog meat, except William Clark, who reportedly could not bring himself to eat dogs.[47][48][49]

Polar exploration[edit]

British explorer Ernest Shackleton and his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition became trapped, and ultimately killed their sled dogs for food.

Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen's party famously planned to eat their sled dogs, as well as to feed weaker dogs to other dogs, during their expedition to the South Pole. This allowed the party to carry less food, thus lightening the load, and ultimately helped Amundsen to win his race to the South Pole against Robert Scott's expedition, which used ponies.[50] When comparing sled dogs to ponies as draught animals, Amundsen noted:

There is the obvious advantage that dog can be fed on dog. One can reduce one's pack little by little, slaughtering the feebler ones and feeding the chosen with them. In this way they get fresh meat. Our dogs lived on dog's flesh and pemmican the whole way, and this enabled them to do splendid work. And if we ourselves wanted a piece of fresh meat we could cut off a delicate little fillet; it tasted to us as good as the best beef. The dogs do not object at all; as long as they get their share they do not mind what part of their comrade's carcass it comes from. All that was left after one of these canine meals was the teeth of the victim – and if it had been a really hard day, these also disappeared.[51]

Douglas Mawson and Xavier Mertz were part of the Far Eastern Party, a three-man sledging team with Lieutenant B. E. S. Ninnis, to survey King George V Land, Antarctica. On 14 December 1912 Ninnis fell through a snow-covered crevasse along with most of the party's rations, and was never seen again. Mawson and Mertz turned back immediately. They had one and a half weeks' food for themselves and nothing at all for the dogs. Their meagre provisions forced them to eat their remaining sled dogs on their 315-mile (507 km) return journey. Their meat was tough, stringy and without a vestige of fat. Each animal yielded very little, and the major part was fed to the surviving dogs, which ate the meat, skin and bones until nothing remained. The men also ate the dog's brains and livers. Unfortunately eating the liver of sled dogs produces the condition hypervitaminosis A because canines have a much higher tolerance for vitamin A than humans do. Mertz suffered a quick deterioration. He developed stomach pains and became incapacitated and incoherent. On 7 January 1913, Mertz died. Mawson continued alone, eventually making it back to camp alive.[8]

Modern practices[edit]



Dogs are eaten by Vame people for certain religious rituals.[52]

Democratic Republic of the Congo[edit]

In 2011 it was reported that, due to high prices on other types of meat, the consumption of dog meat is common despite a longstanding taboo.[53]


The Tallensi, the Akyims, the Kokis, and the Yaakuma, one of many cultures of Ghana, consider dog meat a delicacy. The Mamprusi generally avoid dog meat, and it is eaten in a "courtship stew" provided by a king to his royal lineage. Two Tribes in Ghana, Frafra and Dagaaba are particularly known to be "tribal playmates" and consumption of dog meat is the common bond between the two tribes. Every year around September, games are organised between these two tribes and the Dog Head is the trophy at stake for the winning tribe.[54]

It was reported in 2017 that increasing demand for dog meat (due to the belief it gives more energy) has led politician Anthony Karbo to propose dog meat factories in three northern regions of Ghana.[55][56]


Dogs are eaten by various groups in some states of Nigeria, including Ondo State, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Plateau, Kalaba, Taraba and Gombe of Nigeria.[54][57] They are believed to have medicinal powers. The meat is believed to improve one’s sex life, provide immunity from diseases and poisoning, and offer protection from juju (charms).[4][58]

In late 2014, the fear of contracting the Ebola virus disease from bushmeat led at least one major Nigerian newspaper to imply that eating dog meat was a healthy alternative.[59] That paper documented a thriving trade in dog meat and slow sales of even well smoked bushmeat.



Animal welfare NGO Four Paws estimates that 2–3 million dogs are slaughtered annually for their meat in Cambodia. Methods of slaughtering the dog can range from strangulation, drowning, stabbing, or clubbing the head.[60] According to a market research study in 2019 on the dog meat trade in Cambodia, overall a total of 53.6% of respondents indicated that they have eaten dog meat at some time in their lives (72.4% of males and 34.8% of females).[61] A new campaign began in 2020 to end dog meat consumption.[62][63][64][65][66][67]

Mainland China[edit]

Dogs being butchered in Guangdong, China
A platter of cooked dog meat in Guilin, China

Estimates for total dog killings in China range from 10 to 20 million dogs annually, for purposes of human consumption.[68] However, estimates such as these are not official and are derived from extrapolating industry reports on meat tonnage to an estimate of dogs killed.[69] Consuming dog meat is legal in mainland China, and the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture has never issued quarantine procedures for slaughtering dogs.[70][71] Selling dog meat as food is against the Food Safety Law of the People's Republic of China. According to the Animal Epidemic Prevention Law of the People's Republic of China (2013 Amendment), dogs need to be vaccinated. Dogs for eating are not vaccinated, so they are illegal to transport or to sell.[72]

The eating of dog meat in China dates back thousands of years. Dog meat (Chinese: 狗肉; pinyin: gǒu ròu) has been a source of food in some areas from around 500 BC and possibly even earlier. It has been suggested that wolves in southern China may have been domesticated as a source of meat.[73] Mencius, the philosopher, talked about dog meat as being an edible, dietary meat.[74] It was reported in the early 2000s that the meat was thought to have medicinal properties, and had been popular in northern China during the winter, as it was believed to raise body temperature after consumption and promote warmth.[75][76] Historical records have shown how in times of food scarcities (as in war-time situations), dogs could also be eaten as an emergency food source.[77]

In modern times, the extent of dog consumption in China varies by region. It is most prevalent in Guangdong, Yunnan and Guangxi, as well as the northern provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning.[78] It was reportedly common in 2010 to find dog meat served in restaurants in Southern China, where dogs are reared on farms for consumption.[79] In 2012, Chinese netizens and the Chinese police intercepted trucks transporting caged dogs to be slaughtered in localities such as Chongqing and Kunming.[80]

Prepared and cooked dog ready for purchase

Since 2009,[81] Yulin, Guangxi, has held an annual festival of eating dog meat (purportedly a celebration of the summer solstice). In 2014, the municipal government published a statement distancing itself from the festival, saying it was not a cultural tradition, but rather a commercial event held by restaurants and the public.[82] The festival in 2011 spanned 10 days, during which 15,000 dogs were consumed.[83] Estimates of the number of dogs eaten in 2015 for the festival ranged from as high as 10,000[72][84] to lower than 1,000 amid growing pressure at home and abroad to end it.[85][86] Festival organizers state that only dogs bred specifically for consumption are used, while objectors say that some of the dogs purchased for slaughter and consumption are strays or stolen pets.[87][88] Some of the dogs at the festival are alleged to have been burnt or boiled alive[89] or beaten out of the belief that increased adrenaline circulating in the dog's body adds to the flavor of the meat.[72][87] Other reports, however, state that there have been little evidence of those practices since 2015.[86][85]

Prior to the 2014 festival, eight dogs (and their two cages) sold for 1,150 yuan ($185) and six puppies for 1,200 yuan.[90] Prior to the 2015 festival, a protester bought 100 dogs for 7,000 yuan ($1,100; £710).[84] The animal rights NGO Best Volunteer Centre commented that the city had more than 100 slaughterhouses, processing between 30 and 100 dogs a day. The Yulin Centre for Animal Disease Control and Prevention states the city has only eight dog slaughterhouses selling approximately 200 dogs, and this increases to about 2,000 dogs during the Yulin festival.[91] There have been several campaigns to stop the festival, with the first one reportedly having started among locals in China.[86] In 2016, a petition calling for an end to the festival garnered 11 million signatures in the country.[92] More than 3 million people have also signed petitions against it on Weibo (China's equivalent of Twitter).[72] Prior to the 2014 festival, doctors and nurses were ordered not to eat dog meat there, and local restaurants serving dog meat were ordered to cover the word "dog" on their signs and notices.[82] Reports in 2014 and 2016 have also suggested that the majority of Chinese on and offline disapprove of the festival.[93][94][95]

The movement against the consumption of cat and dog meat was given added impetus by the formation of the Chinese Companion Animal Protection Network (CCAPN). Having expanded to more than 40 member societies, CCAPN began organizing protests against eating dog and cat meat in 2006, starting in Guangzhou and continuing in more than ten other cities following a positive response from the public.[96] Before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, officials ordered dog meat to be taken off the menu at its 112 official Olympic restaurants to avoid offending visitors from various nations where the consumption of dog meat is taboo.[97] In 2010, draft legislation was proposed to prohibit the consumption of dog meat.[98] In 2010, the first draft proposal of it was introduced, with the rationale to protect animals from maltreatment. The legislation included a measure to jail people for up to 15 days for eating dog meat,[99] but there were few expectations for it to be enforced.[98]


As of the early 21st century, dog meat consumption in China is declining or disappearing.[100] In 2014, dog meat sales decreased by a third compared to 2013.[101] It was reported that in 2015, one of the most popular restaurants in Guangzhou serving dog meat was closed after the local government tightened regulations; the restaurant had served dog meat dishes since 1963. Other restaurants that served dog and cat meat in the Yuancun and Panyu districts also stopped serving these dishes in 2015.[102] Close to 9 million Chinese in 2016 also voted online for proposed legislation to end the consumption of dog and cat meat, but the legislation was not taken forward.[85][103]

In April 2020, Shenzhen became the first Chinese city to ban consumption and production of dog and cat meat.[104] This came as part of a wider clampdown on the wildlife trade which was thought to be linked to COVID-19 outbreak. Citing examples of Hong Kong and Taiwan, the Shenzhen city government said, "Banning the consumption of dogs and cats and other pets is a common practice in developed countries... This ban also responds to the demand and spirit of human civilization".[105] The city of Zhuhai followed suit in the same month with a similar ban.[106] These decisions were applauded by animal welfare groups such as Humane Society International.[106][107]

In the same month, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture said it considers dogs as "companion animals", not as livestock.[108][109]

Hong Kong[edit]

In Hong Kong, the Dogs and Cats Ordinance was introduced by the British Hong Kong Government on 6 January 1950.[110] It prohibits the slaughter of any dog or cat for use as food by fine and imprisonment.[111][112] In February 1998, a Hong Konger was sentenced to one month imprisonment and a fine of two thousand HK dollars for hunting street dogs for food.[113] Four local men were sentenced to 30 days imprisonment in December 2006 for having slaughtered two dogs.[114]


In 2001, the Taiwanese government imposed a ban on the sale of dog meat, due to both pressure from domestic animal welfare groups and a desire to improve international perceptions, and there were some protests.[115] In 2007, another law was passed, significantly increasing the fines to sellers of the meat.[116] According to The Daily Meal in 2014, dog meat remained popular in Taiwan despite the laws, especially at smaller towns and villages.[117] Animal rights activists have accused the Taiwanese government of not prosecuting those who continue to slaughter and serve dog meat at restaurants.

In April 2017, Taiwan became the first country in the East Asia to officially ban the consumption of dog and cat meat as well as jail time for those who torture and kill animals. The Animal Protection Act amendments approved by the Legislative Yuan aims to punish the sale, purchase or consumption of dog or cat meat with fines ranging from NT$50,000 to NT$2 million. The amendments also stiffen punishment for those who intentionally harm animals to a maximum two years' imprisonment and fines of NT$200,000 to NT$2 million.[118]

In October 2017, Taiwan's national legislature, known as Legislative Yuan, passed amendments to the country's Animal Protection Act which "bans the sale and consumption of dog and cat meat and of any food products that contain the meat or other parts of these animals."[119]


With one of the largest vegetarian populations, consumption of dog meat is very rare in India, seen in a few tribal communities like among certain Tibeto-Burman communities,[120] and in some states of Northeast India, particularly Mizoram,[121] Nagaland,[122] Manipur,[123] Tripura, and Arunachal Pradesh.[124]

In March 2020, the Government of Mizoram passed the Animal Slaughter Bill 2020 which effectively bans dogs from being slaughtered in the state.[125]

In Nagaland, dog lovers had launched a campaign to end Nagaland's dog meat trade.[126] The Government of Nagaland banned the consumption and trading of dog meat in the state on 3 July 2020.[127][128]


Rintek wuuk (RW), a Manado dog meat dish from North Sulawesi

Indonesia is predominantly Muslim, a faith which considers dog meat, along with pork, to be haram (ritually unclean).[129] The New York Times has reported that in spite of this, dog meat consumption has been growing in popularity among Muslims and other ethnic groups in the country due to its cheap price and purported health or medicinal benefits.[130]

Although reliable data on the dog meat trade is scarce, various welfare groups estimate that at least 1 million dogs are killed every year to be eaten.[131] On the resort island of Bali alone, between 60,000 and 70,000 dogs are slaughtered and eaten a year, in spite of lingering concerns about the spread of rabies following an outbreak of the disease there a few years ago, according to the Bali Animal Welfare Association.[132] Marc Ching of the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation claimed in 2017 that the treatment of dogs in Indonesia was the "most sadistic" out of anywhere they were killed for their meat.[133] According to Rappler and The Independent, the slaughter process for dogs in Tomohon, Sulawesi resulted in some of them being blowtorched alive.[134][135]

The consumption of dog meat is often associated with the Minahasa culture of northern Sulawesi,[136] Maluku culture, Toraja culture, various ethnic from East Nusa Tenggara, and the Bataks of northern Sumatra.[137] The code for restaurants or vendors selling dog meat is "RW", an abbreviation for rintek wuuk (Minahasan euphemism means "fine hair") or "B1" abbreviation for biang (Batak language for female dog or "bitch").

Popular Indonesian dog-meat dishes are Minahasan spicy meat dish called rica-rica. Dog meat rica-rica specifically called rica-rica "RW" which stands for Rintek Wuuk in Minahasan dialect, which means "fine hair" as a euphemism referring for fine hair found in roasted dog meat.[129] It is cooked as Patong dish by Toraja people, and as Saksang "B1" (stands for Biang which means "dog" or "bitch" in Batak dialect) by Batak people of North Sumatra. On Java, there are several dishes made from dog meat, such as sengsu (tongseng asu), sate jamu (lit. "medicinal satay"), and kambing balap (lit. "racing goat"). Asu is Javanese for "dog".

Dog consumption in Indonesia gained attention during the 2012 U.S. presidential election when incumbent Barack Obama was pointed out by his opponent to have eaten dog meat served by his Indonesian stepfather Lolo Soetoro when Obama was living in the country.[129] Obama wrote about his experience of eating dog in his book Dreams of My Father,[138] and at the 2012 White House Correspondents' Dinner joked about eating dog.[139][140]

According to Lyn White of Animals Australia, the consumption of dog meat in Bali is not a long-held tradition. She said the meat first came from a Christian ethnic group coming to Bali, where a minority of the immigrants working in the hospitality industry have fuelled the trade.[141]

In June 2017, an investigative report discovered that tourists in Bali are unknowingly eating dog meat sold by street vendors.[142]


Although the vast majority of Japanese do not eat dog meat, it has been reported that more than 100 outlets in the country have been selling it imported, mainly to Zainichi Korean[143] customers.[144][145] There has been a belief in Japan that certain dogs have special powers in their religion of Shintoism and Buddhism. In 675 AD, Emperor Tenmu decreed a prohibition on its consumption during the 4th through 9th months of the year. According to Meisan Shojiki Ōrai (名産諸色往来) published in 1760, the meat of wild dog was sold along with boar, deer, fox, wolf, bear, raccoon dog, otter, weasel and cat in some regions of Edo.[146]

South Korea[edit]

Gaegogi (개고기) literally means "dog meat" in Korean. The term itself is often mistaken as the term for Korean soup made from dog meat, which is actually called bosintang (보신탕; 補身湯, Body nourishing soup) (sometimes spelled "bo-shintang").

People in both Koreas share the belief that consuming dog meat helps stamina during the summer.[147][84]

A dish made with dog meat in Seoul, South Korea
Dog meat sold in Gyeongdong Market, Seoul, South Korea

The Humane Society International says that an estimated 2 million[148] or possibly more than 2.5 million dogs are reared on "dog meat farms" in South Korea.[149][150] According to the Korea Animal Rights Advocates (KARA), approximately 780,000 to 1 million dogs are consumed per year in South Korea.[151] The number is lower based on estimates of sales from Moran Market, which occupies 30–40% of dog meat market in the nation.[152] Sales at Moran Market have been declining in the past few years, down to about 20,000 dogs per year in 2017.[153] In recent years dog meat consumption has declined as more people have been adopting dogs as pets. Dog restaurants are also closing down, with reports saying the country's 1,500 dog meat restaurants have almost halved in recent years. Some restaurants have reported declines in consumption of 20–30% per year.[154] A poll conducted by Gallup Korea in 2015 reported that only 20 percent of men in their 20s consumed dog meat, compared to half of those in their 50s and 60s. According to the Korean Animal Rights Advocates (KARA), there are approximately 3,000 dog farms operating across the country,[153] many of which receive dogs from overflow from puppy mills for the pet industry.[155]

Dog meat is often consumed during the winter months and is either roasted or prepared in soups or stews. The most popular of these soups is bosintang and gaejang-guk, a spicy stew meant to balance the body's heat during the summer months. This is thought to ensure good health by balancing one's "qi", the believed vital energy of the body. Dog meat is also believed to increase the body temperature, so people sweat more to keep one cool during the summer (the way of dealing with heat is called Heal heat with heat (이열치열, 以熱治熱, i-yeol-chi-yeol). A 19th-century version of gaejang-guk explains the preparation of the dish by boiling dog meat with vegetables such as green onions and chili pepper powder. Variations of the dish contain chicken and bamboo shoots.[156]

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety recognizes any edible product other than drugs as food.[157] South Korean Food Sanitary Law (식품위생법) does not include dog meat as a legal food ingredient. In the capital city of Seoul, the sale of dog meat was outlawed by regulation on 21 February 1984, by classifying dog meat as "repugnant food" (혐오식품, 嫌惡食品, hyeom-o sigpum), but the regulation was not rigorously enforced except during the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In 2001, the Mayor of Seoul announced there would be no extra enforcement efforts to control the sale of dog meat during the 2002 FIFA World Cup, which was partially hosted in Seoul. In 2018, a South Korean court ruled that it was illegal to kill dogs for their meat.[158]

The primary dog breed raised for meat is a non-specific landrace, whose dogs are commonly named as Nureongi (누렁이) or Hwangu (황구).[159][160] Nureongi are not the only type of dog currently slaughtered for their meat in South Korea. In 2015, The Korea Observer reported that many different pet breeds of dog are eaten in South Korea, including labradors, retrievers and cocker spaniels, and that the dogs slaughtered for their meat often include former pets.[161] Some of them have reportedly been stolen from family homes.[162]

There is a large and vocal group of Koreans (consisting of a number of animal welfare groups) who are against the practice of eating dogs.[163] Popular television shows like 'I Love Pet' have documented, in 2011 for instance, the continued illegal sale of dog meat and slaughtering of dogs in suburban areas. The program also televised illegal dog farms and slaughterhouses, showing the unsanitary and horrific conditions of caged dogs, several of which were visibly sick with severe eye infections and malnutrition.[citation needed] Some Koreans do not eat the meat, but feel that it is the right of others to do so. A smaller group wants to popularize the consumption of dog in Korea and the rest of the world.[163] A group of activists attempted to promote and publicize the consumption of dog meat worldwide during the run-up to the 2002 FIFA World Cup, co-hosted by Japan and South Korea, which prompted retaliation from animal rights campaigners and prominent figures such as Brigitte Bardot to denounce the practice.[164] Opponents of dog meat consumption in South Korea are critical of the eating of dog meat, as some dogs are beaten, burnt or hanged to make their meat more tender.[165][166]

The restaurants that sell dog meat, often exclusively, do so at the risk of losing their restaurant licenses. A case of a dog meat wholesaler, charged with selling dog meat, arose in 1997 where an appeals court acquitted the dog meat wholesaler, ruling that dogs were socially accepted as food.[167] According to the National Assembly of South Korea, more than 20,000 restaurants, including the 6,484 registered restaurants, served soups made from dog meat in Korea in 1998.[168][169][170] In 1999 the BBC reported that 8,500 tons of dog meat were consumed annually, with another 93,600 tons used to produce a medicinal tonic called gaesoju (개소주, dog soju ).[170] By 2014, only 329 restaurants served dog meat in Seoul, and the numbers are continuing to decline each year.[171] On 21 November 2018, the South Korean government closed the Taepyeong-dong complex in Seongnam, which served as the country's main dog slaughterhouse.[172][173]

North Korea[edit]

A wall painting in the Goguryeo tombs complex in South Hwangghae Province, a World Heritage Site which dates from the 4th century AD, depicts a slaughtered dog in a storehouse. The Balhae people also enjoyed dog meat, and the modern-day tradition of canine cuisine seems to have come from that era.[174] People in both Koreas share the belief that consuming dog meat helps stamina during the summer.[147][84]

Daily NK reported that in early 2010, the North Korean government included dog meat in its list of one hundred fixed prices, setting a fixed price of 500 won per kilogram.[175]


The consumption of dog meat is legal in Malaysia. The issue was brought to light in 2013 after the Malaysian Independent Animal Rescue group received a report alleging that a restaurant in Kampung Melayu, Subang had dogs caged and tortured before slaughtering them for their meat.[176]


The European Society of Dog and Animal Welfare estimates that half a million dogs are slaughtered for food each year in the Philippines.[177]

In the capital city of Manila, Metro Manila Commission Ordinance 82-05 specifically prohibits the killing and selling of dogs for food.[178] More generally, the Philippine Animal Welfare Act 1998[179] prohibits the killing of any animal other than cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, poultry, rabbits, carabaos, horses, deer, and crocodiles–with exemptions for religious, cultural, research, public safety, and/or animal health reasons. Nevertheless, the consumption of dog meat is not uncommon in the Philippines, reflected in the occasional coverage in Philippine newspapers.[180] Philippine news outlets ABS-CBN and SunStar alleged in 2012 and 2017 that Korean nationals in Baguio had been playing a role in the city's dog meat trade.[181][182]

According to the Animal Welfare Institute, stray dogs, with many of them having been people's pets, have been rounded up off the street for the dog meat trade and shipped to the Benguet province without food or water while steel cans are forced onto their noses and their legs are tied behind their backs. Nearly half the dogs reportedly die before reaching their final destination. They are usually then killed via clubbing or having their throats cut, after which their fur is scorched off with a blow-torch and their bodies are dismembered.[183] According to a 2007 book co-authored by Temple Grandin, dogs and other animals in some rural Philippine areas could risk getting beaten before slaughter, out of the belief it would create better meat.[184]

Asocena is a dish primarily consisting of dog meat originating from the Philippines. The province of Benguet specifically allows cultural use of dog meat by indigenous people and acknowledges this might lead to limited commercial use.[185]

In the early 1980s, there was an international outcry about dog meat consumption in the Philippines after newspapers published photos of Margaret Thatcher, then British Prime Minister, with a dog carcass hanging beside her on a market stall. The British Government discussed withdrawing foreign aid and other countries, such as Australia, considered similar action. To avoid such action, the Filipino government banned the sale of dog meat. Dog meat was then the third most consumed meat, behind pork and goat and ahead of beef. The ban eventually became wholly disregarded and unenforced.[186]


The sale of dog meat is banned in Singapore.[187]


There used to be a small regional culture of eating dog meat, as well as a trade of dogs for consumption and transporting them to nearby Vietnam where dog meat consumption was more common.[188] In 2014, Thailand passed the Prevention of Animal Cruelty and Provision of Animal Welfare Act which, among other provisions, made it illegal to trade in or consume dog meat.[189] As of 2016, the trade to Vietnam has continued, with CNN reporting that broken bones and crushed skulls have been a common injury for the smuggled dogs.[190]


East Timorese in Balibo barbecuing a dog

Dog meat is a delicacy popular in Timor-Leste.[191]


Dog meat has sometimes been used in Uzbekistan in the belief that it has medicinal properties.[192][193][194][195]


Dog meat in Hanoi, Vietnam
A dog meat platter found in a street market a few kilometres east of Hanoi, Vietnam
Dog meat in Hanoi, Vietnam

Around five million dogs are slaughtered in Vietnam every year, making the country the second biggest consumer of dog meat in the world after China.[196] The consumption has been criticized by many in Vietnam and around the world as most of the dogs are pets stolen and killed in brutal ways, usually by being bludgeoned, stabbed, burned alive, or having their throat slit.[197] Vietnam does not have strong regulations to stop the practice. Dog thieves are rarely punished, and neither are the people who buy and sell stolen meat. Dog meat is particularly popular in the urban areas of the north, and can be found in special restaurants which specifically serve dog meat.[68][198]

A 2013 survey on VietNamNet, with a participation of more than 3,000 readers, showed that the majority of people, at 80%, supported eating dog meat. Up to 66 percent of the readers said that dog meat is nutritious and has been a traditional food for a very long time. Some 13% said eating dog meat is okay but dog slaughtering must be strictly controlled in order to avoid embarrassing images.[199]

Dog meat is believed to bring good fortune in Vietnamese culture.[200] It is seen as being comparable in consumption to chicken or pork.[201] In urban areas, there are neighbourhoods that contain many dog meat restaurants. For example, on Nhat Tan Street, Tây Hồ District, Hanoi, many restaurants serve dog meat. Groups of customers, usually male, seated on mats, will spend their evenings sharing plates of dog meat and drinking alcohol. The consumption of dog meat can be part of a ritual usually occurring toward the end of the lunar month for reasons of astrology and luck. Restaurants which mainly exist to serve dog meat may only open for the last half of the lunar month.[201] Dog meat is also believed to raise men's libido.[201][202] There used to be a large smuggling trade from Thailand to export dogs to Vietnam for human consumption.[203] A concerted campaign between 2007 and 2014 by animal activists in Thailand, led by the Soi Dog Foundation, convinced authorities in both Thailand and Vietnam that the dog meat trade was a hindrance to efforts to tackle rabies in Southeast Asia. In 2014, Thailand introduced a new law against animal cruelty, which greatly increased penalties faced by dog smugglers. The trade had significantly diminished.[204]

In 2009, dog meat was found to be a main carrier of the Vibrio cholerae bacterium, which caused the summer epidemic of cholera in northern Vietnam.[205][206]

Prior to 2014, more than 5 million dogs were killed for meat every year in Vietnam according to the Asia Canine Protection Alliance. There are indications that the desire to eat dog meat in Vietnam is waning.[100] Part of the decline is thought to be due to an increased number of Vietnamese people keeping dogs as pets, as their incomes have risen in the past few decades.

[People] used to raise dogs to guard the house, and when they needed the meat, they ate it. Now they keep dog as pets, imported from China, Japan, and other countries. One pet dog might cost hundreds of millions of dong [100 million dong is $4,677].[100]

In 2018, officials in the city of Hanoi urged citizens to stop eating dog and cat meat, citing concerns about the cruel methods with which the animals are slaughtered and the diseases this practice propagates, including rabies and leptospirosis. The primary reason for this exhortation seems to be a fear that the practice of dog and cat consumption, most of which are stolen household pets, could tarnish the city's image as a “civilised and modern capital”.[207]



Section 6, Paragraph 2 of the law for the protection of animals prohibits the killing of dogs and cats for purposes of consumption as food or for other products.[208]


In 2012, the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reported that dogs, as well as cats, are eaten regularly by a few farmers in rural areas.[209][210][211] Commercial slaughter and sale of dog meat is banned, but farmers are allowed to slaughter dogs for personal consumption.

In his 1979 book Unmentionable Cuisine, Calvin Schwabe described a Swiss dog meat recipe, gedörrtes Hundefleisch, served as paper-thin slices, as well as smoked dog ham, Hundeschinken, which is prepared by salting and drying raw dog meat.[212]

It is illegal in Switzerland to commercially produce food made from dog meat.[213]

United Kingdom[edit]

Although the commercial trade of dog meat is illegal, it is still currently legal in the United Kingdom to consume dog meat.[214]



Each Australian state or territory has its own regulation, but all have laws either making it illegal to eat dog meat or to kill a dog for consumption. It is also prohibited to sell dog meat based on meat processing standards and codes.[215]


The consumption of domestic dog meat is commonplace in Tonga, and has also been noted in expatriate Tongan communities in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States.[216][217]

Other dog products[edit]

Central Asia[edit]

According to Eurasianet, dog fat is seen as a well-established would-be treatment for tuberculosis in parts of Central Asia.[218] The fat has reportedly been used as a folk remedy for COVID-19 in Uzbekistan[219] and Kyrgyzstan.[218]


Eating dog meat is taboo in Polish culture. However, since the 16th century, fat from various animals, including dogs, was used as part of folk medicine, and since the 18th century dog fat has had a reputation as being beneficial for the lungs. According to Polityka, the main producers of dog fat in 19th and early 20th century Poland were Gypsies.[220] While making lard, or smalec, out of dogs' fat is currently discouraged in the country,[221] this practice continues in some rural areas, especially Lesser Poland.[222][223]

In 2009, Polish prosecutors reportedly found that a farm near Częstochowa was overfeeding dogs to be rendered down into lard.[224][221] According to Grażyna Zawada, from Gazeta Wyborcza, there were farms in Częstochowa, Kłobuck, and in the Radom area, and in the decade from 2000 to 2010 six people producing dog lard were found guilty of breaching animal welfare laws and sentenced to jail.[220][failed verification] However, the Krakow Post reported that a man who had admitted to stealing and killing dogs for lard in 2009 at Wieliczka was found not guilty of any crimes by the court, who ruled that the dogs had been slaughtered humanely for culinary purposes.[225] As of 2014, there have been new cases prosecuted.[226][failed verification]

Dog breeds used for meat[edit]

The Nureongi in Korea is most often used as a livestock dog, raised for its meat, and not commonly kept as pets.[227][228] In 2015, The Korea Observer reported that many different pet breeds of dog are eaten in South Korea, including labradors, retrievers and cocker spaniels, and that the dogs slaughtered for their meat may include former pets.[161]

The Xoloitzcuintli, or Mexican Hairless Dog, is one of several breeds of hairless dog and has been used as a historical source of food for the Aztec Empire.[10]

The extinct Hawaiian Poi Dog and Polynesian Dog were breeds of pariah dog used by Native Hawaiians as a spiritual protector of children and as a source of food.[20][21]

The extinct Tahitian Dog was a food source, and served by high ranking chiefs to the early European explorers who visited the islands. Captain James Cook and his crew developed a taste for the dog, with Cook noting, "For tame Animals they have Hogs, Fowls, and Dogs, the latter of which we learned to Eat from them, and few were there of us but what allow'd that a South Sea dog was next to an English Lamb."[229][230][231]

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