Dog and Cat Meat Consumption: Kennel Club Briefing

1. Cultural Traditions

  • Culture and tradition should not be an excuse for cruelty. A practice being part of a culture does not justify it as being morally acceptable. Historical cultural practices, such as slavery were once socially accepted and seen as a basic right. However, these types of practices are now widely recognised and viewed as being morally wrong and unacceptable.
  • Contrary to popular belief, in Korea dog eating is a relaively recent phenomenon and has never been a part of their culinary history. The fabrication of dog and cat meat as an old age part of Korean cultural heritage is a marketing strategy utilised by vendors exploiting a commodity considered easy to produce.
  • Within the East Asian region, there are a growing number of animal welfare groups being established and are in need of outside support to ensure long-term welfare changes for animals in their countries.

2. Consumption of Dog and Cat Meat

  • No government has devised a method of killing dogs humanely for commercial purposes.
  • A veterinary representative of the Hong Kong Government, Fisheries and Conservation Department stated that dogs cannot be humanely raised and slaughtered for food.
  • As carnivores, dogs and cats are inherently different in temperament and physiology to domestic livestock species more commonly raised intensively en-masse for food.
  • The slaughter methods associated with dog and cat eating is considered to be often deliberately designed to intensify and prolong the suffering in the misguided belief that 'torture equals taste.'
  • In situations where the torture is not deemed to be deliberate, the method of slaughter is still cruel. Markets in China, reveal killing methods which leave both dogs and cats suffering a lingering, violent death as they are either clubbed over the head, stabbed in the neck or groin, hung, electrocuted or thrown conscious into drums of boiling water.

3. Health Benefits Myths

  • There are numerous conflicting beliefs regarding dog eating, for example dogs are eaten in the summer months in Korea to cool the body down, whilst in China they are eaten in the winter to warm the body.
  • There is no scientific evidence to support claims that dog meat can improve blood flow and "chi", enhance male virility, promote kidney function and aid digestion. Dog meat is proven to be no more nutritious than that of pork or chicken.
  • Recent research into rheumatoid arthritis has proven that cats are not effective in the treatment of arthritis.
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner Dr.Lo states "In traditional Chinese medicine there are many alternatives to the use of these animals. Culture should not be an excuse for cruelty and when we are making progress in civilisation, we should also make progress in our hearts and minds. There is no need to kill and eat our faithful animal friends."

4. Pet Benefits

  • There have been numerous studies that have identified clear benefits to both the public and society from dog ownership. These include health, social and economic benefits.
  • Health benefits: There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that the presence of companion animals and interaction with pets can have a significant influence on improving physical, mental and emotional health (Cutts et al., 2007). Due to daily walking routines, pet owners have been reported to have lower blood cholesterol levels, lower systolic blood pressure and better survival rates after a heart attack. In addition, pet owners have also been reported to have lower feelings of loneliness and depression, lower levels of mental stress and higher self-esteem (Cutts et al., 2007).
  • There can be particular health benefits also from companion animals for specific different groups in society, for example children and eldery people. The World Health Organisation states that 'companion animals that are properly cared for bring immense benefits to their owners and to society and are a danger to no-one.
  • Social benefits: Studies have revealed that dogs offer social support contributing to health and well-being by offering companionship and providing emotional comfort at times of stress. They act as social catalysts, which are of particular benefit to people at risk of social isolation, including older people and those with physical disabilities who may have fewer opportunities for social interactions. While these benefits will vary in relevance and extent, the continuous level of ownership illustrates that pets offer significant benefits to a large segment of the population (Jenkinson, 2011).
  • Economic benefits: Based on the results obtained from national representative samples, there were savings reported in national health expenditures as a result from the improved health of pet owners. For example, it is estimated that in Australia, the presence of pets could save between $790 million (£517 million) and $1.5 billion (£982 million) Australian Dollars. In nursing home facilities in New York, Missouri and Texas that have integrated animals as part of their environment, medication costs dropped from an average of $3.80 (£2.3) per patient per day to $1.18 (70p) per patient per day.
  • Examples of these benefits have been witnessed in Animal Asia's 'Dr. Dog' programme, which sees 300 'dog doctors' visiting elderly homes, orphanages, schools and disabled centres. In addition, AAF animal ambassadors, who rescued market dog Eddie and Detective dog Simba (the first animal parts sniffer dogs in Asia), are working to promote the concept of animal welfare in the East Asian countries.

Get involved:

  • Write a letter to the Chinese Ambassador to the UK, His Excellency Mr Liu Xiaoming, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the UK, 49-51 Portland Place, London W1B 1JL asking her to help end animal suffering in China by contacting the Chinese Government and urging them to introduce animal welfare legislation to outlaw the eating of dogs and cats.
  • Write to your local MP to raise dog and cat related welfare issues to the Government.
  • Contact the Kennel Club for further information: call 0207 518 1020 or Get Involved.
  • Contact Animals Asia Foundation for further information call 01579 347 148 or visit
  • Contact Change For Animals Foundation for further information -

Related Topics

Dog Information Animal Welfare
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