Dog Meat

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In Defense of Animals Works to End the Dog Meat Trade

Eating dog meat might be incomprehensible to most of us, but across Asia and Africa, millions of dogs are still raised and stolen for meat, and transported and slaughtered in conditions that are beyond inhumane. We’re working to end this through direct rescue in South Korea and China, and advocacy through our Global Anti-Dog Meat Coalition.

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What is the Dog Meat Trade?

In countries where dog meat is consumed, millions of dogs are bought, taken from the streets or stolen from their homes to meet the demand. They may be crammed together in cages and transported long distances without food or water, before being brutally killed. 

Where Does the Dog Meat Trade Still Exist?

In 2024, we celebrated a huge victory when South Korea passed a law banning the dog meat trade, which will go into effect in 2027. Other nations around the world, including Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Siem Reap province in Cambodia, and dozens of areas in Indonesia have also taken action to ban the dog and cat meat trades. However, a lack of enforcement is a serious problem in many areas and dogs are still being killed and consumed.

Unfortunately, the dog meat trade is still rampant in other countries, including Vietnam, and China.

However, there’s reason to be optimistic the dog meat trade will soon end in China. In 2020, the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai became the first in the nation to ban dog meat, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs announced that dogs are companion animals and not “livestock” for consumption.

Even though many people in these countries don’t eat dog meat, hot spots for the trade exist, and events at certain times of year, such as China’s Yulin Dog Meat Festival, continue to put countless dogs at risk.

It might seem like the dog meat trade only exists in foreign countries, but even though selling dog or cat meat commercially in the U.S. is illegal, loopholes still existed that allowed for their slaughter and consumption in 44 states until the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act was finally passed as part of the 2018 Farm Bill, banning it throughout the nation.

What Are the Global Health Risks of the Dog Meat Trade?

Not only does the dog meat trade subject dogs to horrific living conditions and barbaric slaughter methods, it’s putting human health at risk. This trade is largely unregulated; the unsanitary conditions that often surround the slaughter of dogs and the sale of their meat at live markets and restaurants increases the risk of spreading diseases, as does transporting sick dogs.

The World Health Organization has linked the dog meat trade to outbreaks of a number of diseases in people, including cholera, trichinellosis and rabies. Rabies alone is a significant problem for both dogs and people in Asia, and is being perpetuated by transporting dogs domestically and across borders. This puts everyone at risk, and diminishes the impact of vaccination campaigns, which would otherwise successfully reduce the spread of rabies. There’s also the risk of consuming meat from dogs who were given drugs, or killed with poison.

Overall, the dog meat trade and live animal markets put the global community at risk of zoonotic diseases, which are diseases that can be transmitted between people and animals.

What We Do

In Defense of Animals is working to end the dog and cat meat trade, through direct rescue and rehoming of dogs from South Korea in partnership with Jindo Love Rescue and cats in China with Paws of China.

In 2023, we also formed the Global-Anti-Dog Meat Coalition, which is made up of organizations and individuals united in a deep sense of urgency and unwavering determination to support local opposition and work cooperatively to advocate for an end to the dog meat trade in countries where it still exists.

What You Can Do

2.5 million

dogs are killed for their meat every year in South Korea

10 million

dogs are killed for their meat every year in China

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