Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Dog Days of Summer

Photo of a Korean protester
A traditional Korean remedy for the dog days of summer is a doggie dish. Literally. Eating dog meat was banned in Korea in 1991 but continues in both the North and South. North Korea has apparently been hosting dog meat food contests to help develop the traditional cuisine, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Dog meat is called dangogi, meaning sweet meat. KCNA claims that their (Korean) ancestors believed that during the dog days of summer dangogi helped to prevent malnutrition, aid digestion and bolster stamina.

A response to an article entitled Wok the Dog on the Animal Freedom website claims that less than 10% of Koreans eat dog meat. Food dogs are raised and produced on farms just as other animals for food production. Pets are not used for dangogi.

The custom of eating dogs and cats is very common in many countries of the far east. Although at first the piece from KCNA seemed rather comical. It is not. And many Koreans don't think it is either as evidenced by a massive protest in Seoul July 14, 2009.

But if we condemn the eating of dogs why should we not condemn the consumption of all other animals as well. What makes a dog or cat different from pigs, cows, or chickens? Are dogs and cats more "human" like? I don't think so.

All of us need to face the reality of where our food comes from. At the very least if we continue to eat animals let's raise them with respect. Feed them food that is healthy. Don't allow our food animals to suffer needlessly. Allow these animals to have contented lives until the end.

Maybe we should all become vegetarians. Maybe that would be the beginning of the path to enlightenment for all of us.


  1. Yes, where our meat comes from is a tough reality to swallow. I agree that a little more time in self-reflection and less in criticizing others would do us all well too. Perhaps we should all become vegetarians. More thought and public awareness of how we raise, feed, and slaughter our animals is also needed. Perhaps another change we can see over the next decade; or perhaps I'm too optomistic.

    I do have one question: how do the Koreans determine a meat dog from a pet dog? If it's just how they are raised and for what purpose, that doesn't seem like much of determinent to me. However, I can't fathom eathing a dog in the first place.

  2. Julie, there is a lot of conflicinting information on how determination of food dogs are raised. Many now have dogs that are pure breeds and these are pampered pets, often these dogs are almost treated as human. This is a gross generalization of course and I have no stats just anecdotal info. Food dogs are also called pets and often raised by individuals but are not treated well for the most part and not given any love. Usually kept outdoors and often chained so the get not exercise etc and moreover can be treated quite cruelly.