February 20, 2013
Rising Opposition to Dog Eating in China
China has a dog-eating culinary sub-culture. This habit exists in most regions of the country except in Tibet. Restaurants, roadside food stands, and hotels serving dog meat are most common in Guangdong and Guangxi in southern China and Jilin, Liaoning, and Heilongjiang in northeastern China, though dog meat processing, dog eating festivals, and meat dog markets are also found in many other places. In Jiangsu province, dog meat processing businesses in have made dog meat the city’s so-called “cultural heritage.”
China today has an estimated 130 million dogs, with an estimated one-third of these fated for human consumption.
Dog meat was not readily available to the majority of the Chinese people in the past. Still less was it an acceptable meal at dinner parties in Chinese culture. However, in recent years it has been promoted by businesses as a special nutritious food for the winter. Sausages made of dog meat, preserved dog meat, and other processed dog meat products have been created in contemporary China solely for profit. These products have no historical connections of any kind.
China’s swelling animal protection community is against the dog meat trade. In the last two years, six highway interceptions have succeeded in rescuing more than 1,500 dogs bound for the slaughterhouse. HSI has been a proud supporter of these rescue operations.
In June 2012, HSI helped launch a rural dog protection project resulting in the promulgation of an animal protection regulation explicitly banning dog eating. In December, a forum in Beijing focused on the health, public security, and moral impacts of the dog meat trade. One of HSI’s China projects is to encourage the Chinese public and the Chinese authorities to take the necessary measures to end the dog meat trade.
Companions and helpers, not food
With the continuing rise of public awareness about animal welfare issues, the dog meat trade will face increasing opposition. More Chinese have come to realize the much greater value of dogs as companions and helpers than as dinner.
People in China see guide dogs leading the blind. They heard about rescue dogs digging through the rubble for survivors in the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake. They have also seen people evacuating from disaster areas holding their dogs in their arms. Most touching was a photo showing a puppy at the foot of his owner when the man was meeting China’s prime minister.
It is only a matter of time before China’s dog meat trade becomes history. Support our campaign.