A Foolish Myth

Dog meat is supposedly known for its positive effects on those who eat it. This belief is held primarily by men. The consumption of dog meat is said to increase virility - even more so if the dog suffered immensely before death - as the adrenaline rush experienced by the dog while being tortured provides something "extra."

"Meat dogs" are kept in extremely unsanitary conditions. In South Korea specifically, one-third of the nation's food waste is expended by feeding it to these dogs. In other words, the dogs commonly thought to be a source of good health and virility - would have, in fact, been surviving on rotting food infested with germs, rats, and maggots.

In addition, the dogs housed on dog farms are given high amounts of antibiotics and medicines. This is done to keep them alive and "healthy," and to prevent them from carrying the diseases common to their abhorrent living conditions.


“Consuming meat concentrated with high level of antibiotics will cause severe toxic effects in the human body, and will cause endocrine disruption in the long term and eventually lead to cancer and diabetes.” – Dr. Tae-Yo Ha, Hankook Ilbo Newspaper, July 4. 2011

What is Endocrine Disruption?

According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences:

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife. A wide range of substances, both natural and man-made, are thought to cause endocrine disruption, including pharmaceuticals, dioxin and dioxin-like compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls, DDT and other pesticides, and plasticizers such as bisphenol A. Endocrine disruptors may be found in many everyday products – including plastic bottles, metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, food, toys, cosmetics, and pesticides. The NIEHS supports studies to determine whether exposure to endocrine disruptors may result in human health effects including lowered fertility and an increased incidence of endometriosis and some cancers. Research shows that endocrine disruptors may pose the greatest risk during prenatal and early postnatal development when organ and neural systems are forming.



Statistics on the dog meat industry, retrieved from KARA.


Dog meat is the fourth most-consumed meat in the Republic of Korea (“Korea”) after pork, beef, and chicken. Around two million dogs are slaughtered for food each year and served in over twenty thousand restaurants, mostly in the form of stew commonly known as bosintang. According to a recent survey, 61.7% of Koreans have had dog meat at least once in their lives. Those who consume dog meat do so at an average of 4.6 times a year. The production and sale of dog meat is a large industry, with an estimated value of two billion U.S. dollars.

Despite the significance of the industry, there is no clear law governing the trade of dog meat. There is neither explicit recognition of dog meat as legitimate food, nor a clear ban on the sale or slaughter of dogs for food. In the midst of this legal uncertainty, the processing of dog meat has gone underground with no official guidelines to guarantee untainted meat or animal welfare. The legislative and policy options are deadlocked, with the government caught between the imperative of animal protection lobbied for by both national and international advocates and the deeply embedded custom of traditional food defended by the mainstream society. As a result, animal welfare issues have been dismissed as the lowest priority. The previous Animal Protection Act of 1991 was a law on paper only. Although the Animal Protection Amendment Act of 2007, which came into effect in January 2008, is a step forward, it is a small step and its implications for the use of dog meat are largely unclear. Dog meat continues to be a headache for law and policy makers.

Please read the full paper DOG MEAT IN KOREA: A SOCIO-LEGAL CHALLENGE By Rakhyun E. Kim, from which the above statistics are taken HERE.

News Articles from Around the World

Former Pets Slaughtered for Dog Meat Across Korea - The Korea Observer - January 19, 2015

Seoul Hounds Meat Vendors For Cleaner Chow - The Wall Street Journal - May 12, 2008

Seoul Categorizing Dogs as Livestock - The Korea Times - March 24, 2008

South Korea's Dog Day - BBC News - August 1999

Dogs 'Blow-Torched' Alive - BBC News - March 11, 1999