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Disrupting the Dog-Meat Trade
Animal rights groups target South Korea’s taste for canines.

In January, I wrote about a raid on China’s dog-meat trade. The rescue of 149 dogs from appalling conditions provided a chilling glimpse into the supply-side of this tradition. Now we’re hearing from South Korea, where eating dog is also a strong, albeit often low-profile, practice. The Korea Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) organization estimates that more than two million dogs are killed each year for meat in South Korea. Before they are slaughtered, they endure “horrible conditions—crammed in unsanitary cages, fed with human waste food.” In the end, many are often electrocuted, hanged, burned or beaten to death because of a belief that the animals’ suffering produces a better tasting meat and enhances virility in those who consume it.

United Dogs and Cats, a social network for dog and cat owners in Europe, has launched an international petition drive to bring attention to the issue and pressure the Korean government to enforce its own animal protection measures and to ban the entire dog meat industry. United Dogs seeks no less than one million signatures, which will be presented to Korean officials by KARA. Sometimes I wonder how effective petitions are at changing policymaker’s minds but I see enormous value to a million people learning about this issue.
With all this attention on South Korea, it’s important to recognize the situation in the North, where international public opinion holds no sway, may be even more dire. According to an Agence France-Presse story in July, North Korea has been actively promoting the virtues of dog meat, including hosting dog meat food contests in Pyongyang. According to the story, hot dog meat soup is touted for its power to prevent diseases from malnutrition and bolster stamina—making it a special summer favorite in North and South Korea.

Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com
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Submitted by Anonymous | August 21 2009 |

Unfortunately, this is also the fate of animals unlucky enough to be considered food instead of pets here in our own country--cows, chickens, pigs and others. Tortured and killed after lives of extreme abuse, they are then sold as food and clothing in our grocery stores and boutiques. All animals deserve respect and consideration, and while we are horrified by this story because of the special bonds we share with dogs, we must realize that we are capable of the same transgressions. This work is vital and to be applauded, but we need not travel to Korea to become aware and create change right here at home.

Submitted by Inês | August 22 2009 |

An excellent point.

Submitted by Anonymous | August 23 2009 |

We need to do both here in the US and abroad. We are the only voice these innocent creatures have. When God created us all He gave us 'dominion' over the animals and we need to realize what 'dominion' means... we are to respect them and care for them not abuse them and mistreat them. I am a vegatarian but even so God did allow later for us to eat meat but again we are to do it humanely and with respect for the animals that give their life for us to eat.

Submitted by Kathy Khoshfahm | March 19 2013 |

The Bible was written by Man, not by God. Those who eat meat have made a personal choice to do so and not because God has allowed it.
Try taking a camera with you to the live animal makets in South Korea; there's a good chance you'll get (physically) removed. As we speak, legislation is being introduced in many states that would make it a crime to record undercover video of animal abuse in slaughterhouses.

People who abuse and torture animals are a different breed of people and they know that what they are doing is wrong. Paul McCartney was recently quoted as saying that 'if slaughterhouses had glass walls, we'd all be Vegetarian's".

We share this world with the Animal Kingdom and they have just as much a right as you and I do to live their lives free from cruelty and torture. But we deny them that right. For most animals, it is Hell on Earth.

I used to believe in God and Jesus Christ, but now I'm not so sure. I do feel, though, that there is something to all of this - this thing called "Life". There is something. And I feel that, in one way or another, we all shall be held accountable for what we've done - and haven't done - during our stay on planet Earth.

Submitted by Jazmyn | August 24 2009 |

I believe that wild and domestic (farm and pet) animals can suffer equally. This story reminds me of the suffering of farm animals in the US. Just as I believe that people in the womb shouldn't be killed, I also believe that no animal should be put through senseless pain.

Submitted by Victoria | October 19 2009 |

No pretendo que todos nos volvamos vegetarianos, podemos nutrirnos de lo que acostumbramos, pero siempre Respetando y no abusando de la fuente de alimento.

Un Mas por si gusto sabroso torturamos seres vivos, donde queda nuestra humanidad?

RESPETO!!! si vamos a sacrificar un animal para consumo, al menos Hagámoslo con compasión.

Qué Sabor amargo para nuestro espíritu Sería un bocado de carne de VUNA vida torturada cruelmente!

Si nos diferenciamos del resto de los seres vivos por la inteligencia, el razocino, el saber lo que está bien y lo que está mal, porqué negar todas SEE Condiciones para compotarnos peor que una bestia asesina que se regocija y disfruta del espantoso dolor ajeno.

Apelemos A NUESTRA sensibilidad.
Respetemos la vida.
Sufrimientos Evitemos.

Submitted by Pete & Snickers... | August 22 2009 |

What I'm concerned about is how the cattle, sheep and pigs are treated enroute to slaughter. The smell from the trucks and these places where the animals are killed is just unbelieveable and it's the smell of stress.

As a Christian, church potlucks are chock full of dead animals, never mind the fact that many Christians are "pro-life." Whose life are they for? And how these animals are slaughtered is so piggish!

I feel sorry for these animals, I really do.

Submitted by Anonymous | August 24 2009 |

Ya know we bacame what we are by being OMNIVORES! meaning we eat both plant and animals. If all the creatures of the world just stopped eating eachother we would all die. I agree with you though the animals need to be kept in better areas and treated kindly and with respect.

Submitted by Kathy Konetzka-Close | August 24 2009 |

I believe there are actually two issues being discussed here. The first is one I think most of us can agree upon, and that is, the ethical treatment of animals destined for our dinner table. Temple Grandin has written several really excellent books, many touching on the treatment of farm animals, and I recommend them heartily. One passage I remember specifically explained her work with slaughterhouses, and how she strives to promote and design low stress, non-abusive environments where livestock is handled and euthanized humanely. It seems the least we can do, and it should be something that all people should be concerned with—not just the westernized world. But it’s clear we still have much in our own country to put in order where that’s concerned, and as the saying goes, folks in glass houses should be careful about throwing stones. The second issue is a bit dicier, and that is the use of dogs as a food source. I wonder what level the uproar here would be if the dogs in question were being farmed and killed in a humane manner. We may consider our dogs (and cats, and rabbits, and birds, and horses, and etc., etc., etc.) as members of our families, but, in poorer parts of the world, an inexpensive protein source is a welcome addition to the dinner pot, and where that source comes from isn’t always important. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I think we have to guard ourselves against being culturally insensitive to a way of life we know nothing about. Absolutely, we should voice our opposition against ill treatment of animals anywhere. Abuse and torture are never excusable offenses, but the life of a chicken isn’t anymore glamorous than that of a dog in these situations. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that we live in one of the richest countries on the planet, and most of us are lucky enough to know where our next meal is coming from. Not everyone is so fortunate.

Submitted by Anonymous | August 24 2009 |

Ok i feel for this but, we eat some many other animals idk why it matters so much if some place, for most of us on the other side of the world eats dogs.... I am sad for all the dogs that died but im also sad for all the cows, pigs, chickens, lambs, fish and other animals that we, humans, eat.

Submitted by Anonymous | August 25 2009 |

Oh give me a break...there is no comparison to what these dogs suffer thru and how the animals we consume here in the U.S. are treated. Read the article.

Submitted by Anonymous | August 25 2009 |

This is actually a fantastic dialog. If you are interested in exploring how farm animals are treated here in the US (and how it is actually very comparable to the treatment of the dogs in this article) there are many books and internet articles on the subject. The term is "factory farming." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factory_farming

Submitted by Jackie S. | August 24 2009 |

To the Anonymous poster on Aug 24th. Are you serious? You don't see the difference between eating beef or pork in comparison to a dog? Hello? The difference is a dog is a DOMESTICATED animal. Domesticated means they are your pet. Not that a pig or a cow cannot be a pet, but it's not the norm in the US, or any other country that I'm aware of. I am all for the humane treatment of cows, pigs, chickens, etc and have cut way back on my consumption of all after hearing and reading horror stories of how they are raised on commercial farms for the mighty dollar, the conditions of the slaughter houses, etc. That's an entirely different issue to debate. The point here is I can't believe someone puts eating "dogs" in the category of farm animals and doesn't see the difference. How scary.

Submitted by Anonymous | August 25 2009 |

In fact there are millions of Hindus, for whom the cow is sacred, who would probably think the same of you. It's all about perspective.

Submitted by Anonymous | August 26 2009 |

It is apalling to me that in 2009 a country and its people could be so ignorant to continue with this practice. I am really starting to think we all should become vegetarians and save the animals!!!

Submitted by Misty | August 30 2009 |

Let me say this -it really angers me to see this, especially when my own cat what catnapped and butched for a Chinese Restaurant called HO HO's in Mechanicsburg, PA. The skelital remains of tons of cats were found in their dumpsters out back by the restaurant. Many of my neighbors and friends cats ended up there also. So cat meat or dog meat, don't go there it is to close to home. These people should be procecuted to the max!!!

Submitted by Anonymous | August 30 2009 |

Dogmeat soup is a traditional August dish served to the elderly Grandmas and Grandpas in Korea. You're right about stimulating the dog before slaughter. It's important to torture the dog to make it mean. This tenderizing the meat and makes it tastier.

Submitted by Anonymous | September 18 2009 |

you must be the one of "Dog eaters"

Submitted by Jenma | September 30 2009 |

You're sick. Tenderizing the meat makes it tastier? How bout you don't eat it at all. Then you wouldn't have to torture dogs for "tastey meat". You sick people ever hear about eating beef or fish? Dogs are our companions. Not food.

Submitted by Rachel Simpspn | September 2 2009 |

While it makes me ill to think of how these poor dogs are so horribly treated in the Asian countries by those who eat them and who kill them for their skins, I believe that we need to look at our own country as well. I hate to think how many dogs just today are either stolen or given away by misled owners looking for a good home, and end up in laboratories being used for who-knows-what kind of research. There was an incident right here in Cleveland, at the world-famous Cleveland Clinic, in which a Lab-mix dog was killed while demonstrating some sort of new medical device to salesmen. It made headline news because the doctor who performed this demonstration did not follow the correct protocol for using an animal in this way. In other words, he did not get permission from the right people. I believe the newspaper got into trouble for putting the doctor's name on the front page of the paper, because all further stories did not mention his name. No one ever asked where the dog came from. I could not stop thinking about it, this could have been a lost pet of someone that I knew.

Submitted by Anonymous | September 21 2009 |

My belief is an eye for an eye. The only way to stop animal abuse is do the same to the perpetrator. Why humans think they are the only ones with feelings and life is beyond me. I am truly embarrassed to be part of this species. Asia tortures for the fact that they can, and get away with it by calling it culture. My only way of combating this is not to purchase anything made in or from these horrid countries which is hard, but you can do it. You must get them where it hurts. If it so cultural, you can bet that those from other countries in the USA is doing it too, again with the excuse of culture. It is "culture" that breeds dog fighting. Humans feel it is a right to overbreed, run puppy mills and abuse. An eye for an eye.

Submitted by mickey staley | January 17 2013 |

This is the most horrible thing I've ever heard of and I thought our animals were abused and they are but can't we get our government to try to go through their government to try to make these idiots stop this horrible practice or we need to think of something that would help them. How can taking up money help?

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