Other cultres besides Asians have eaten or do eat dogs. One particular breed, the mexican hairless AKA Xoloitzquintli was bred by the Aztecs specificly for food purposes (no pesky hair to shave off). The breed is now rather hard to find, and very difficult to care for.

I'm all for eating meat, but dogs, they're our best friends!

A non-Asian descent Canadian who lived in Pusan, Korea for a few years, is me. Bo-shin-tang (dog soup) is far from being a 'fading' element of the cuisine. The pungent-smelling Bo-shin-tang shops are everywhere in urban South Korea. It is believed that, along with a seemingly endless variety of other foodstuffs, that eating dog soup will contibute to one's 'stamina', a euphemism for sexual prowess.

Dog soup is quite delicious, especially when accompanied by a lot of beer and soju. The smell takes some getting used to, likewise the forlorn reddish-coated dogs that are the favored eating-breed.

Meat is meat, though.

For yet another take on the subject - eating dog meat in the Philippines. Disclaimer - I do not pretend to have any knowledge about Korean practices, or even Filipino restaurants in the US.

Dog meat is not, and will never be, on the menu of any restaurant in Manila or any of the other cities. People who eat dog meat usually come from the lower classes, and regularly eating dog, or "asocena" (the Tagalog for "dog" is "aso") is usually a mark of being a "kanto boy" (literally, "corner boy") - i.e. one of the town drunks.

No store, restaurant, or other establishment will sell dog meat. Not even if you ask nicely.

Indeed, the only way to actually get to eat dog, nowadays, is to kill, clean, and cook the canine yourself. Killing and eating dog meat is done by people who are too poor to afford decent meat. Dogs killed for this purpose are usually strays (there are almost no pounds or animal shelters in the Philippines, except those for rare and endangered species). Of course, drunken (sometimes fatal) fights have broken out over a neighbor killing and eating the family pet.

I admit I have eaten dog meat once or twice, just to see what it tastes like. It's a bit like mutton, but more gelatinous.

Some Ifugao tribes also traditionally eat dog meat, and are the only people allowed to legally butcher and consume canine meat, due to respect for tribal and religious customs. It is technically illegal everywhere else, but is in practice often overlooked and not prosecuted by local authorities.

There were several ads taken out by a high-profile British animal-rights group lately in several local newspapers blaring the message that "eating dog meat is illegal" and that perpetrators could spend up to 5 years in jail for it. This was generally ridiculed by many, since a) nobody would ever think of turning in a neighbor for such a small offense as eating a stray dog, and b) foreign animal-rights organizations would be better served spending money to try to save the thousands of endangered species in our rainforests rather than dissuading people from eating Canis Familiaris.

I don't think eating dog meat is actually "traditional" or "mainstream" in most of this country - it's just something that poor people do. If you didn't have any other meat available, you'd eat dogs too.

thunk : most people I know who eat dog also subsist mainly on rice and vegetables, and rarely have enough money for a tin of sardines or more expensive meat. I don't think "efficient" food is foremost in their minds.

"Dog meat is fine, tasty and can warm the body" (Beijing Youth Daily, September 16, 1999).

It's lunch time at E2 Server Time. Just the right moment to speak about dog food.

Where is it legal to eat dog?

Dog eating is legal in China. Dog production is evolving to a large-scale industry. Some farms breed more than 10,000 dogs. Dog meat is more and more popular. The Chinese import St Bernards and cross-breed them with other species.

In South Korea, a law banned sale and consumption of dog meat before the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In practice, you can still find it in restaurants and markets. Dogs are allegedly slaughtered in a very cruel way, by batting the flesh to soften it. Torturing the dog that way produces adrenalin that makes it taste better (thanks stewacide) and it is also said to have aphrodisiac effects; indeed, dog meat areas are often associated with prostitution areas! Some lawmakers propose to legalise it in order to replace this method with electrocution.

Dog eating is also forbidden in Taiwan and Hong Kong. The Philippines made it illegal in 1998, but people still eat dog meat and sell dogs on markets.

Other dog-eating countries include Vietnam and Thailand (where it is apparently not very popular). liontamer mentions that dogs are also eaten in Cambodia and Laos, usually a last resort in smaller and poorer villages. In short, you can find dog food in Far East countries, whether it's legal or not.

So, should dog meat be banned?

On the one hand, dogs are animals. If we eat pork or beef, why shouldn't we eat dogs? It's a cultural issue. Besides, Western countries eat horse meat.

On the other hand, dog protectors point out that:

  • dogs are often ill-treated in Asia. I already wrote above about some of them are slaughtered in Korea. In other places the rearing or transport methods are objectionable: for example they are transported in very small cages in spite of a hot temperature.
  • dogs are very good partners for people, so they should not be considered like other animals. They are better as friends than as food.

Make your own opinion. As for myself, I will certainly try it if I have a chance one day. Disclaimer: I don't have a pet dog at home...

A few sources:

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