In many countries around the world dogs are often perceived as being cherished domestic pets. Dogs are considered to be companions for many people. Yet a vast majority of dog owners would be surprised to learn there are countries were dogs are bred for consumption. Dogs are raised for human consumption predominantly in China, Vietnam, South Korea and Philippines. In these countries dogs are viewed less as domestic pets but as meat for culinary recipes. Although there is a divergence of opinion arising in these countries, there is still a growing demand for dog meat in these countries. In these countries it is a cultural norm and one which remains mainly unchallenged except for the campaign of a few organisations or individuals on the ground.
Unfortunately, many of the dogs are bred and kept in abhorrent conditions. It is a sad but true fact many of these dogs will be housed in cages far too small for them and endure terrible conditions until they are eventually slaughtered. Multitude of dogs are sold and prepared for slaughter at annual dog meat festivals held in these respective countries. Many festivals generate a lot of publicity for the Dog Meat Trade and attract thousands of buyers and sellers of dogs. In South Korea, the Bok Nal Festival is a large event and it is estimated 2.5 million dogs are eaten in the country annually. China’s large dog meat Yulin Festival is held in Guangxi province during the summer solstice. The festival was started in 2009 and has grown in popularity attracting thousands of visitors from all over China over its ten days. In Thailand and Philippines it is estimated thousands of stray dogs are captured to be exported abroad to Vietnam as part of the dog meat trade.
Unfortunately, with the upsurge in demand for dog meat and huge numbers of visitors, closure of these annual festivals remains an uphill struggle. All these festivals have drawn many objections from both home and abroad but there is little political will to enforce their permanent closure and outlaw the practise of dog meat consumption in the countries.