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, millions of dogs are still raised for meat and transported in conditions that are beyond inhumane. Every single year, dogs are brutally slaughtered for their meat.

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Global Health Risks

Not only does the dog meat trade subject dogs to horrific living conditions and barbaric slaughter methods, it’s putting human health at risk. The dog meat trade is largely unregulated. Live markets and restaurants that sell dog meat, and transportation of sick dogs, are often guilty of unsanitary conditions that harbour and spread diseases. 

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 diminishes the impact of vaccination campaigns, which would otherwise successfully reduce the spread of rabies. Dog meat puts everyone at risk.

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. 

South Korea

It’s estimated that 2.5 million dogs are killed every year for the dog meat trade in South Korea. South Korea remains the only country that still allows intensive farming of dogs for human consumption.

Slaughter methods used are horrific. 

It’s believed that the more pain and suffering a dog experiences, the more it will enhance the flavor of their meat and its health benefits. 

Common ways to kill dogs include hanging them and beating them to death, boiling them alive, and bleeding them out. Electrocution is believed to be the most common method.

Their meat is typically consumed in the form of gaesoju, which is believed to have medicinal value, or in a stew called bosintang. Dog meat is consumed in South Korea year-round, but it becomes especially popular during the three hottest days of the year, known as Boknal days. These typically fall in late July or early August.

The trade there isn’t legal, but it isn’t illegal either. This leaves countless dogs to suffer during their lives and deaths. Improved animal protection laws and their enforcement could clear a way to shutting the dog meat trade down there forever. We will continue to work towards seeing that happen.


China’s dog meat trade is the largest in the world, with an estimated 10 million dogs slaughtered and eaten every year. Unlike in South Korea, where dogs are openly farmed, it’s estimated that most of the dogs who become victims of this insidious trade were strays or stolen companions.

The Yulin dog meat festival, which takes place every June has brought to light the horrors of the dog meat trade in China, drawing international condemnation.

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 were followed by an announcement that dogs are companions, and no longer classified as “livestock” who can be commercially bred, raised and traded. 

The change doesn’t officially ban the consumption of dog meat in China, but it’s a game-changer. We’ll be working hard to see it officially brought to an end.

What We Do

In Defense of Animals is working to end the dog meat trade, through direct rescue and rehoming of dogs from South Korea in partnership with Jindo Love Rescue, in addition to campaigning for bans where the dog meat trade 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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