Chinese dogs: out of the frying pan, into the dyer

China will consider bringing an end to the consumption of dogs and cats in April when legal advisors are to brief Beijing on the legality of the unusual delicacy.


Images posted by Flickr users (left) "HAKANU" and (right) "drea_beijing".

China will consider bringing an end to the consumption of dogs and cats in April when legal advisors are to brief Beijing on the legality of the unusual delicacy.

While pet dogs in China - something of a novelty to the country - are spoilt rotten, their stray and stolen siblings are still more likely to find themselves steaming on a dinner platter than in a dog beauty salon. Most of the country's canines are killed and sold for their meat, which is a delicacy in certain regions of China. This may change in April, however, when Chinese legal experts are expected to submit proposals for legislation that includes a ban on eating dogs and cats as part of a draft bill to tackle animal abuse. If passed, thousands of dog restaurants and butchers will be closed down, and anyone eating pets will be issued a fine upwards of 5,000 yuan (500 euros) or 15 days in jail.

Please be aware that some of the images in this post may be found upsetting.

Dogs caged and sold along with other animals in Kaifeng, Henan province, central-east China. Video posted by "kinstonjin" June 9, 2008.

...and the modern fate of dogs in China

Pet and bird market in Shanghai. Posted by Tamara Gunter June 7, 2007. 

Beijing. Posted by "drea_beijing" April 5, 2009.

Pet section at Shanghai zoo. Posted by "daspony", Dec. 10, 2006.

Chengdu, Sichuan. Posted by Pat Rioux, July 26, 2006. 

The traditional fate of dogs in China...

On a highway north of Beijing in July 2007. Posted by Flickr user and American expat in China, William Benson, who added this comment:

"My mother-in-law is from a small village and enjoys dog meat stew every winter. I've tried it; it was ok but a bit too gamey for my taste. My only concern with eating any kind of animal is that it is raised and killed humanely. Sadly the people doing this kind of work have no education and aren't even aware of the concept of animal rights. How can a people with no guarantee of human or civil rights really care about animal rights?"

Qingyuan, Guandgong province. Posted on Flickr by Bernd Mechsner, Nov. 8, 2008:

"A dog restaurant in Qingyuan, Guandgong province, China. The dogs are strangled and hanged as seen in the foreground before they end up in the kitchen. In the background there are the cages with dogs waiting to be strangled."

West of Shanghai. Posted by "kimjonil", Feb 10, 2010.


Street market in Xi'an. Posted by "gefawisp", Dec 27, 2006.

“Many of the dogs and cats sold on the market are in fact stolen pets”

Grace Ge Gabriel is Asia Regional Director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). The organisation works for and funds projects for the rights of dogs, cat, livestock and wildlife in China.

Because dogs and cats are not treated as livestock in China, many of the existing regulations on breeding and slaughtering livestock do not apply to them. Many of the dogs and cats sold on the market are in fact stolen pets. That in itself is a violation of personal rights to property. They are killed cruelly, i.e. boiled alive, clubbed to death, skinned alive.

There is no research to show that dogs and cats contain any more nutrition than other animal meat. Yet, the health and safety of people are in jeopardy because of some people's desire to eat [them]. SARS came from people eating civet cats in the wildlife markets in southern China. A lack of a rabies prevention mechanism in China could mean that the infectious diseases in cats and dogs could be transmitted to human beings.

While the initiative (drafting anti-cruelty legislation) may have originated from the more affluent, pet-loving group of society, we've found that Chinese people in general will support the humane treatment of animals. Last year, during a dog cull in Hanzhong where 40,000 dogs lost their lives under clubs, polled 60,000 Chinese on their views, and 89% support China to promulgate anti-cruelty legislation. More and more Chinese people are treating dogs and cats as companion animals."