Sunday, September 20, 2015

Two Million Dogs Farmed for Meat: Can the practice be stopped?

These dogs were supposed to be somebody's lunch.

Dogs rescued from meat trade
These are two of 29 dogs who arrived in San Diego last Thursday
Confined in tiny cages at a South Korean meat farm, they were supposed to be made into Gaejang-guk, a spicy stew that many traditionalists still believe will balance body heat during the summer months.
57 dogs rescued by Humane Society International and Change for Animals Foundation from a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea, arrive in San Francisco
Dogs at a meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea
Humane Society International and others paid the owner to start farming chili peppers instead of dogs.
57 dogs rescued by Humane Society International and Change for Animals Foundation from a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea, arrive in San Francisco
The owner of the meat farm signs a contract with the Humane Society to close his facility for  good.
Twenty-nine rescued dogs arrived in San Diego last Thursday, and will soon be put up for adoption.
57 dogs rescued by Humane Society International and Change for Animals Foundation from a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea, arrive in San Francisco
Arriving at the San Francisco Airpoit
The Humane Society International is on a mission to wipe out the dog meat trade. and are working with animal rights activists throughout southern Asia to rescue animals scheduled for slaughter. Since August of 2014, they've rescued more than 8,000 dogs.
yulin dog meat festival
Dogs on their way to market at the Yulin Dog Meat Festival
Dog meat has been on the menu for at least 2000 years in much of Asia, Especially in summer, since according to local superstition, it warms you up and helps to ward off the chill of the coming winter. The meat is thought to be tastier if the dog suffered a particularly painful and frightening death--which happens to an estimated 10,000 dogs during the annual summer soltice dog meat festival
yulin dog meat festival
A Protester at the 2014 Dog Meat Festival
But for the last few years, the festival has drawn increasing numbers of protesters. 

It's mostly the older people in Asia who still eat dog meat. Most younger Asians do not, and many share the Western aversion to eating dogs. 

More and more Asian celebrities are campaigning against dog farms and dog meat festivals..
Fan BingBing, the 4th Highest Paid Actress in the world, has spoken out against the dog meat festivals.

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Many Asians differentiate between pet dogs (purebreds) and "meat" dogs. But this perception is beginning to change. Keeping pets, banned for many years in China, is now popular. And most people don't like eating their pets.

Authorities in Yulin Province deny the existence of Chinese dog farms. They insist that all dogs eaten at the festival were abducted from the streets. (How is this better? )

It's certainly not safer. People have died because they ate meat from rabid dogs.. The risk is understood in Vietnam, where workers in dog slaughterhouses are routinely vaccinated for rabies. 

As more people understand the risks, as more people come to love their pet dogs, as the pressure from social media mounts, and as the last generation of die-hard dog-eaters passes into history, I believe that the dog-eating days of summer will come to an end.