Dog meat refers to the flesh and other edible parts derived from dogs. Historically, human consumption of dog meat has been recorded in many parts of the world, including East and Southeast Asia, West Africa, Europe, Oceania and the Americas.
In the 21st century, dog meat is consumed in many parts of China, Korea and Vietnam, parts of Switzerland, as well as parts of Europe, Americas, the African continent, such as Cameroon, Ghana and Liberia.
Today, a number of cultures view the consumption of dog meat to be a part of their traditional and day-to-day cuisine, while others – such as Western culture – consider consumption of dog to be a taboo, although they have been consumed in times of war and/or other hardships. It was estimated in 2014 that worldwide, 25 million dogs are eaten each year by humans.
DOG BREEDS USED FOR MEAT
The Nureongi (Korean: 누렁이) is a yellowish landrace from Korea. Similar to other native Korean dog breeds, such as the Jindo, nureongi are medium-sized spitz-type dogs, but are larger with greater musculature and a distinctive coat pattern. They are quite uniform in appearance, yellow hair and melanistic masks. Nureongi are most often used as a livestock dog, raised for its meat, and not commonly kept as pets.
The Hawaiian Poi Dog or ʻīlio (ʻīlio mākuʻe for brown-furred Poi dogs) is an extinct breed of pariah dog from Hawaiʻi which was used by Native Hawaiians as a spiritual protector of children and as a source of food.
XOLOITZCUINTLE (MEXICAN HAIRLESS)
The Xoloitzcuintle, or Xolo for short, is a hairless breed of dog, found in toy, miniature and standard sizes.The Xolo also comes in a coated variety and all three sizes can be born to a single litter. It is also known as Mexican hairless dog in English speaking countries, is one of several breeds of hairless dog and has been used as a historical source of food for the Aztec Empire.
Among the Vame people, domestic dogs are only eaten for specific rituals.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Despite tests showing 156 dogs were infected with Ebola, the consumption of dog meat is no longer taboo.
The Tallensi, the Akyim’s, the Kokis, and the Yaakuma, one of many cultures of Ghana, consider dog meat a delicacy. While the Mamprusi generally avoid dog meat, 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
Islamic law bans the eating of dog meat as does the government of Morocco, however the consumption of dog meat still occurs particularly in poorer regions, often being passed off as other meats as was the case in 2013 and 2009 cases
Dogs are eaten by various groups in some states of Nigeria, including Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Plateau, Ondo, Kalaba, Taraba and Gombe of Nigeria. They are believed to have medicinal powers.
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. That paper documented a thriving trade in dog meat and slow sales of even well smoked bushmeat.
It is legal to sell and serve dog meat, providing that it must be killed and gutted in front of federal inspectors. If a dog is killed out of the view of federal inspectors, the killing might involve cruelty, which would be a violation of the Criminal Code, and those convicted may be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison.
In the time of the Aztec Empire in what is now central Mexico, Mexican Hairless Dogs were bred, among other purposes, for 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. 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.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The term “dog” has been used as a synonym for sausage since 1884 and accusations that sausage makers used dog meat date to at least 1845. The belief that sausages contained dog meat was occasionally justified.
In the late 19th century, a cure for tuberculosis (then colloquially termed “consumption”) using an exclusive diet of dog meat was tried. Reports of families eating dog meat out of choice, rather than necessity, were rare and newsworthy. Stories of families in Ohio and Newark, New Jersey who did so made it into editions of The New York Times in 1876 and 1885.
In the early 20th century, dog meat was consumed during times of meat shortage.
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.
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.
During their 1803–1806 expedition, 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, the Clatsop, the Teton Sioux (Lakota), the Nez Perce Indians, and the Hidatsas. Lewis and the members of the expedition ate dog meat, except William Clark, who reportedly could not bring himself to eat dogs.
The Kickapoo people include puppy meat in many of their traditional festivals. This practice has been well documented in the Works Progress Administration “Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma”.
It is legal to eat dogs in most States and Territories, except for South Australia. However, it is illegal to sell dog meat in any Australian State or Territory.
ARTIC AND ANTARCTIC
British explorer Ernest Shackleton and his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition became trapped, and ultimately killed their sled dogs for food. Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen was known to have eaten sled dogs during his expedition to the South Pole. By eating some of the sled dogs, he required less human or dog food, thus lightening his load. When comparing sled dogs to ponies as draught animals he also notes:
“…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.”
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 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.
Selling dog meat for consumption is legal in Mainland China and approximately 10 million dogs each year are slaughtered for consumption. 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. Mencius, the philosopher, talked about dog meat as being an edible, dietary meat. It is thought to have medicinal properties, and is especially popular in winter months in northern China, as it is believed to raise body temperature after consumption and promote warmth. Historical records have moreover shown how in times of food scarcities (as in war-time situations), dogs could also be eaten as an emergency food source.
Dog meat is sometimes called “fragrant meat” (香肉 xiāng ròu) or “mutton of the earth” (地羊 dì yáng) in Mandarin Chinese and “3–6 fragrant meat” (Chinese: 三六香肉; Cantonese Yale: sàam luhk hèung yuhk) in Cantonese (3 plus 6 is 9 and the words “nine” and “dog” have close pronunciation. In Mandarin, “nine” and “dog” are pronounced differently).
In modern times, the extent of dog consumption in China varies by region, most prevalent in Guangdong, Yunnan and Guangxi, as well as the northern provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning. It is still common to find dog meat served in restaurants in Southern China, where dogs are specially raised on farms. However, there are instances of finding stolen pet meat on menus. Chinese netizens and the Chinese police intercepted trucks transporting caged dogs to be slaughtered in localities such as Chongqing and Kunming. In 2014, 11 people in the Hunan province were sentenced to prison for allegedly poisoning over 1,000 dogs and selling the poisonous meat to Yulin, Guangxi has held an annual festival of eating dog meat. This purportedly celebrates the summer solstice, however, in 2014, the municipal government published a statement that the festival is not a cultural tradition, rather, a commercial event held by restaurants and the public. Various dog meat dishes (and more recently, cats) are eaten, washed down by lychees wine. The festival in 2011 spanned 10 days, during which 15,000 dogs were consumed. Estimates of the number of dogs eaten during the festival range between 10 and 15 thousand. Festival organisers say that only dogs bred specifically for consumption are used, however, there are claims that some of the dogs purchased for slaughter and consumption are strays or stolen pets, as evidenced by their wearing collars. Some of the dogs eaten at the festival are burnt or boiled alive and there are reports that the dogs are sometimes clubbed or beaten to death in the belief that the increased adrenalin circulating in the dog’s body adds to the flavour of the meat. At the 2015 festival, there were long queues outside large (300-seat) eateries which sold the dog meat for around £4 (€5.60) per kilogram. Prior to the 2014 festival, eight dogs (and their two cages) sold for 1,150 yuan ($185) and six puppies for 1,200 yuan. Prior to the 2015 festival, a protester bought 100 dogs for 7,000 yuan ($1,100; £710). The animal rights NGO Best Volunteer Centre claims the city has more than 100 slaughterhouses, processing between 30 and 100 dogs a day. However, the Yulin Centre for Animal Disease Control and Prevention claims the city has only eight dog slaughterhouses selling approximately 200 dogs, although this increases to about 2,000 dogs during the Yulin festival. There are several campaigns to stop the festival; more than 3,000,000 people have signed petitions against it on Weibo (China’s version of Twitter) and a petition to stop the festival (addressed to the Chinese Minister of Agriculture, Chen Wu) reads “Do the humane thing by saying no to this festival and save the lives of countless dogs that will fall victim to this event – an event that will butcher, skin alive, beat to death etc. thousands of innocent dogs.” Prior to the 2014 festival, doctors and nurses staff 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.
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). Expanded to more than 40 member societies, CCAPN in 2006 began organizing protests against eating dogs and cat, starting in Guangzhou and following up in more than ten other cities with a positive response from the public. 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 who might have been concerned by the offering of dog meat.
In 2010, draft legislation was proposed to prohibit the consumption of dog meat. The legislation, however, was not expected to be enforced, making the consumption of dog meat illegal if it passed. In 2010, the first draft proposal of the legislation was introduced, with the rationale to protect animals from maltreatment. The legislation includes a measure to jail people for up to 15 days for eating dog meat. However, certain cultural food festivals continue to promote the meat. For example, in 2014, 10,000 dogs were killed for the Yulin dog eating festival.
As of the early 21st century, dog meat consumption is declining or disappearing. In 2014, dog meat sales decreased by a third compared to 2013. 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 dishes in the Yuancun and Panyu districts also stopped serving these in 2015.
In Hong Kong, the Dogs and Cats Ordinance was introduced by the British Hong Kong Government on 6 January 1950. It prohibits the slaughter of any dog or cat for use as food, whether for mankind or otherwise, on pain of fine and imprisonment. 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. Four local men were sentenced to 30 days imprisonment in December 2006 for having slaughtered two dogs.
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, although there were some protests. In 2007, another law was passed, significantly increasing the fines to sellers of dog meat. However, animal rights campaigners have accused the Taiwanese government of not prosecuting those who continue to slaughter and serve dog meat at restaurants. Although the slaughter and consumption of dog meat is illegal in Taiwan, there are reports that suggest the practice continues as of 2011. In Taiwan, dog meat is called “fragrant meat” (Chinese: 香肉; pinyin: xiāngròu). In 2007, legislators passed a law to fine sellers of dog meat NT$250,000 (US$7,730). Dog meat is believed to have health benefits, including improving circulation and raising body temperature.
In India, dog meat is eaten by certain communities in the Northeast Indian border states of Mizoram, Nagaland, and Manipur where it is considered to be a delicacy. These states border Burma and may have been influenced by Chinese culture and traditions.
Indonesia is predominantly Muslim, a faith which considers dog meat, along with pork to be “haraam” (ritually unclean) and therefore do not eat it. However, dog meat is eaten by several of Indonesia’s non-Muslim minorities.
The consumption of dog meat is associated with the Minahasa culture of northern Sulawesi, Maluku culture, and the Bataks of northern Sumatra, where dog meat is considered a festive dish usually reserved for occasions such as weddings and Christmas.
Popular Indonesian dog-meat dishes are rica-rica, also called rintek wuuk or “RW”, rica-rica waung, guk-guk, and “B1”. On Java, there are several dishes made from dog meat, such as sengsu (tongseng asu), sate jamu, and kambing balap.
Dog consumption in Indonesia gained attention in United States where dog is a taboo food, during 2012 Presidential election when incumbent Barack Obama was pointed by his opponent to have eaten dog meat served by his Indonesian stepfather Lolo Soetoro during his stay in the country
The consumption of dog meat is not a feature of modern Japanese culture because Japanese people believe that certain dogs have special powers in their religion of Shintoism and Buddhism. Dog meat was consumed in Japan until 675 AD, when Emperor Temmu decreed a prohibition on its consumption during the 4th–9th months of the year. Normally a dog accompanied the emperor for battle, so it was believed that eating a dog gave emperors bad luck. In Japanese shrines certain animals are worshipped, such as dogs as it is believed they will give people a good luck charm. Animals are described as good luck in scrolls and Kakemono during the Kofun period, Asuka period and Nara period. 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. Ōta Nampo recorded witnessing puppies being eaten in Satsuma Province in a dish called Enokoro Meshi (えのころ飯).
Gaegogi (개고기) literally means “dog meat” in Korean. The term itself, however, 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”).
The consumption of dog meat in Korean culture can be traced through history. Dog bones[further explanation needed] were excavated in a neolithic settlement in Changnyeong, South Gyeongsang Province. 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.
Although their Mohe ancestors did not respect dogs, the Jurchen people began to respect dogs around the time of the Ming dynasty and passed this tradition on to the Manchu. It was prohibited in Jurchen culture to use dog skin, and forbidden for Jurchens to harm, kill, and eat dogs, as the Jurchens believed the “utmost evil” was the usage of dog skin by Koreans.
Dog meat is often consumed during the summer 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. 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.
Over 100,000 tons of dog meat, or 2.5 million dogs, are consumed annually in South Korea. Although a fair number of South Koreans (approximately 42% to 60%) have eaten dog meat at least once in their lifetime, only a small percentage of the population is believed to eat it on a regular basis.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety recognizes any edible product other than drugs as food. 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 February 21, 1984 by classifying dog meat as ‘repugnant food’ (혐오식품), 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 March 2008, the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced its plan to put forward a policy suggestion to the central government to legally classify slaughter dogs as livestock, reigniting debate on the issue.
The primary dog breed raised for meat, the Nureongi (누렁이), or Hwangu (황구); is a non-specific, mixed breed.
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. 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. However, despite this growing awareness, there remain some in Korea that do not eat or enjoy the meat, but do feel that it is the right of others to do so, along with a smaller but still vocal group of pro-dog cuisine people who want to popularize the consumption of dog in Korea and the rest of the world. A group of pro-dog meat individuals 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. 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.
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. 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. 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).
Daily NK reported that the North Korean government included dog meat in its new list of one hundred fixed prices, setting a fixed price of 500 won per kilogram in early 2010.
Dog meat is rarely eaten in New Zealand but has been said to be becoming more popular as it is not illegal as long as the dog is humanely killed.
A Tongan man living in New Zealand caused public outrage when he was caught cooking his pet dog in his backyard; this event led to calls for change in the law.
The “Malays”, a sea-faring population that is now scattered throughout South-East Asia, introduced the practice of domesticating dogs for meat consumption to the indigenous population of the Philippines.
In the capital city of Manila, Metro Manila Commission Ordinance 82-05 specifically prohibits the killing and selling of dogs for food. Generally however, the Philippine Animal Welfare Act 1998 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,.
The Province of Benguet specifically allows cultural use of dog meat by indigenous people and acknowledges this might lead to limited commercial use.
Asocena is a dish primarily consisting of dog meat originating from the Philippines.
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, despite dog meat being the third most consumed meat, behind pork and goat. The ban eventually became totally disregarded, although it was reinstated by President Ramos in 1998 in the Animal Welfare Act (Republic Act 8485).
Dogs were historically eaten in Tahiti and other islands of Polynesia, including Hawaii 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”. 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. 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. The consumption of domestic dog meat is still commonplace in the Kingdom of Tonga, and has also been noted in expatriate Tongan communities in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States.
Unlike other countries where dog meat consumption has been shown to have historical precedents, Thailand does not have a mainstream culture of dog eating. However, in recent years, the consumption of dog meat in certain areas of the country, especially in certain northeastern provinces like Sakon Nakhon and Nakhon Phanom, notably Sakon Nakhon province’s Tha Rae sub-district, which has been identified as the main center for the country’s illegal, albeit lucrative, dog meat trade, has attracted widespread attention from the Thai population and local news media. This has led large groups of Thai citizens to become increasingly vocal against the consumption of dog meat and the selling of dogs that are transported through Laos to neighbouring Mekong countries, including Vietnam and China. According to news reports, a considerable number of these dogs continue to be stolen from people’s homes by illegal carriers. This was also the case following the 2011 Thailand Floods. Dubbed as the country’s ‘Trade of Shame’, Thai netizens, in particular, have now formed several informal animal welfare and rescue groups in an attempt to stop this illegal trade, with the collective attitude being that ‘Dogs are not food’. Established not-for-profit animal charity organizations like the Soi Dog Foundation have also been active in raising awareness and working in conjunction with local Thai authorities to rehabilitate and relocate dogs rescued from trucks attempting to transport live dogs across the border to nearby countries. Significantly, this issue has strengthened the nation’s animal rights movement, which continues to call on the Thai government to adopt a stricter and more comprehensive animal rights law to prevent the maltreatment of pets and cruelty against all animals.
Dog meat is a delicacy popular in East Timor.
Although not commonly eaten, dog meat is sometimes used in Uzbekistan in the belief that it has medicinal properties.
Dog meat is consumed more commonly in the northern part of Vietnam than in the south, and can be found in special restaurants which specifically serve dog meat. Dog meat is believed to bring good fortune in Vietnamese culture. It is seen as being comparable in consumption to chicken or pork. In urban areas, there are sections that house a lot of 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. Dog meat is also believed to raise the libido in men. The Associated Press reported in October 2009 that a soaring economy has led to the booming of dog restaurants in Hanoi, and that this has led to a proliferation of dognappers. Reportedly, a 20 kilograms dog can sell for more than $100 — roughly the monthly salary of an average Vietnamese worker. The Vietnamese Catholic Church is a major consumer of dog meat during the Christmas holiday. There is a large smuggling trade from Thailand to export dogs to Vietnam for human consumption.
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.
Prior to 2014, more than 5 million dogs were killed for meat every year in Vietnam according to the Asia Canine Protection Alliance. However, there are indications that the desire to eat dog meat in Vietnam is waning. 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].”
BRITAIN & IRELAND
Eating dog meat is considered entirely taboo, as is common with most European societies, and has been taboo for many centuries outside of times of scarcity such as sieges or famines. However, early Brittonic and Irish texts which date from the early Christian period suggest that dog meat was sometimes consumed but possibly in ritual contexts such as Druidic ritual trance. Sacrificial dog bones are often recovered from archaeological sites however they were typically treated differently, as were horses, from other food animals. 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.
A few meat shops sold dog meat during the German occupation of Belgium in World War I, when food was extremely scarce. According to The New York Times, in the 19th century the Council of the Veterinary School of Belgium occasionally recommended dog meat for human consumption after being properly inspected.
Although consumption of dog meat is uncommon in France, and is now considered taboo, dog meat has been consumed in the past by the Gauls. The earliest evidence of dog consumption in France was found at Gaulish archaeological sites, where butchered dog bones were discovered. French news sources from the late 19th century carried stories reporting lines of people buying dog meat, which was described as being “beautiful and light.” During the Siege of Paris (1870–1871), there were lines at butcher’s shops of people waiting to purchase dog meat. Dog meat was also reported as being sold by some butchers in Paris, 1910.
Dog meat has been eaten in every major German crisis since, at least, the time of Frederick the Great, and is commonly referred to as “blockade mutton”. In the early 20th century, high meat prices led to widespread consumption of horse and dog meat in Germany.
The consumption of dog meat continued in the 1920s. In 1937, a meat inspection law targeted against trichinella was introduced for pigs, dogs, boars, foxes, badgers, and other carnivores. Dog meat has been prohibited in Germany since 1986.
In the latter part of World War I, dog meat was being eaten in Saxony by the poorer classes because of famine conditions.
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 authorities in the Netherlands.
While dog meat is not eaten, some rural areas of Poland especially Lesser Poland, dog fat can be made into lard, which by tradition is believed to have medicinal properties – being good for the lungs, for instance. 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. It is worth noting that the consumption of such meat is considered taboo in Polish culture, also making lard out of dogs’ fat is illegal. In 2009, a scandal erupted when a farm near Częstochowa was discovered rearing dogs to be rendered down into lard. According to Grazyna Zawada, from Gazeta Wyborcza, there were farms in Czestochowa, Klobuck, 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 (found guilty of killing dogs and animal cruelty) and sentenced to jail. As of 2014 there have been new cases prosecuted.
Dogs, as well as cats, are eaten regularly by farmers in rural areas for personal consumption. While commercial slaughter and sale of dog meat is illegal, cultural attitudes toward slaughtering of animals for meat is traditionally liberal in Switzerland. The favorite type of meat comes from a dog related to the Rottweiler and consumed as ‘mostbrockli’ a form of marinated meat. Animals are slaughtered by butchers and either shot or bludgeoned.
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.
It is illegal in Switzerland to commercially produce food made from dog meat, or to produce such food for commercial purposes.
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