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When I first discussed the idea of writing this article with several friends, the responses generally went something like this,” I don’t even want to think about eating dogs” or “that is their culture we eat beef and  chicken so what. The Argument that a certain practice is historically part of a culture does not make it acceptable –  slavery was once considered acceptable. In this feature  we will be exploring the cultural, moral, historical, economic, legislative, health, cruelty and welfare issues relating to this practice.
Recently some Chinese animal-rights activists stopped a truck carrying about 500 dogs on the Beijing-Harbin Highway and saved these dogs from being slaughtered and served as food in restaurants in Changchun, Jilin Province. People in China have been eating dog meat for a long time, even though it’s a relatively expensive affair. According to Records of the Grand Historian, Fan Kuai, a senior military general who helped found the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24), made a living as a dog butcher when he was young. Controversy has emerged about the treatment of dogs in China, not because of the consumption itself, but because of other factors like cruelty involved with the killing. Around the world there is mounting concern about the growth of an international dog meat trade. The growth of the dog meat market has seen an increasing demand for large European breed dogs.
The dog meat trade is becoming increasingly industrialized and is even promoted by the government in some provinces. Eating dog just about died out during the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76, when Red Guards rampaged through the country killing dogs, even those raised for food, because of their stigma as an extravagance of the bourgeoisie.
There are significant health risks related with the farming, slaughter and consumption of dogs.
Cholera: Following a Cholera outbreak in Vietnam in 2008 the World Health Organisation’s representative in Vietnam warned that eating dog meat, or other food from outlets that serve it, is linked to a 20-fold increase in the risk of developing the severe acute watery diarrhea commonly caused by the cholera bacterium.
Today, dogs are increasingly being recognized within China as dependable and even crucial members of family and society. Modernization in China is increasing at remarkable speed and there is a new awareness of animals, and their welfare pertaining to a new generation of informed and passionate people. Growth of the Chinese Dog-Meat MarketThe Chinese market has emerged with the appearance of Saint Bernard breeders on the scene, and has proliferated, partly due to Government funding. Why are overseas breeders being targeted?With the growth of the dog meat market there has been an increasing demand for large European breed dogs. Dogs bred for the meat trade may spend their entire lives in wire cages – usually in filthy cramped conditions. Many Asian countries have relatively poor animal welfare standards by comparison with New Zealand, and even where laws aimed to prevent such suffering do exist, enforcement and policing may be inadequate. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations has a complete list of all livestock etc, and through its member countries, has the power to classify dogs as not for human consumption. New Zealand could move towards implementing similar legislation and restrict the export of dogs to help prevent New Zealand breeders from supplying [even unintentionally] stud or breeding animals to the dog meat trade.
At present, before live animals may be exported to another country, an export certificate, setting out all the conditions agreed to with the importing country, must be issued under the Animals Products Act 1999. If you would like more information, or would like to get involved in the fight against the dog meat trade, and work on lobbying to implement changes in New Zealand to counter this barbaric industry, contact Elly Maynard or check out the group’s website website. Animals Asia has examined arguments ranging from those referring to culture, to those which state that, as long as the animal does not suffer, then eating dog meat is no different to eating the meat of other domestically raised animals such as pork, chicken and beef. Education is the key to ending the misery of dogs in China and Animals Asia needs your help as we tackle the problem with positive programmes like Doctor Dog and brand new initiatives like the China distribution of over 100,000 VCDs of our innovative inhouse film “Dr.
Acupuncture goes back as far as the Stone Age in China, when stone knives and pointed rocks were used to fight pain and diseases. Traditional Chinese Medicine classifies foods by their energetic values rather than their caloric or fat content. Behind rusted bars, a skeletal male tiger lies panting on the filthy concrete floor of his cage, covered in sores and untreated wounds. The most valuable parts, however, are the bones, which are used to make wine that is said to cure rheumatism and arthritis, and prolong life.
Tiger bone wine, made by steeping tiger bones in huge vats of potent 38 per cent-proof rice wine, has for more than 2,000 years been one of the most expensive and sought-after Chinese traditional medicines, believed to bestow the tiger's power and strength upon the taker.
Then a ramshackle carnival float decorated with pictures of tigers is led out with a collection of big cats cowering on its deck where they are forced by park keepers to stand up on their hind legs, and beaten with wooden stakes if they do not obey. Welfare expert David Neale from Animals Asia, said after inspecting the park: 'These animals are kept in appalling conditions and it is clear that many are suffering from malnutrition. Miss Li assures us that if we buy here, our tiger wine comes with a cast-iron guarantee of quality.
As I took pictures of the outside of the sales office, I was approached by two security guards who demanded to look at my camera and insisted I deleted any pictures of the building. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.
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For Kitty the cat, all of her nine lives would have passed at once had surgeons not found the culprit of her misery. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. Check your email for your verification email, or enter your email address in the form below to resend the email. It is estimated that each year Two Million dogs in Korea and Ten million in China are killed each year for their meat and fur. The argument is absurd as in many places where dogs are eaten the practice is less than a few generation old.
Finally we will discuss what you can do to change the situation without ever leaving the country. Opponents said that the dog rescue was a violation of the rights of those who eat dog meat and of businesses dealing in dog meat. During the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), King Goujian of the Yue Kingdom, before going to war against the Wu Kingdom, awarded dogs to women who gave birth to boys and pigs to those who gave birth to girls. Bencao Gangmu (or Compendium of Materia Medica), the seminal work of medical and pharmaceutical expert Li Shizhen of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), describes dog meat as warm, yang-nourishing and especially beneficial for the kidneys and stomach.
Believed to have medicinal qualities, dog meat is consumed as a energizer food, providing warmth in the winter months, as well as helping cure fatigue, low back pain, poor memory and slow digestion in older men.
Even as certain countries in Asia including the Philippines and Taiwan have banned the practice of dog eating, dogs and sometimes cats are still used as food animals in many parts of Asia, particularly in Korea, China and Vietnam.
However, most westerners are unwilling to supply animals to the market because of their aversion to the practice of eating dogs. The 90s saw an increase in large dog farms that raise, slaughter, process and pack the meat for distribution around the country.


But dog meat is increasingly available now, and its popularity is growing as people become wealthier and their diets diversify: dog meat is one of the most expensive meats available in the country today. Unsanitary conditions in farms present the most favorable conditions for microbes to reproduce. In 2009 seven provinces and cities in the northern and central regions had announced patient’s positive for the cholera bacterium. The argument that a certain practice is historically part of a culture does not make it acceptable. To say there is a dog especially bred for eating, does not mean that it is different from other dogs in nature. In China no animal welfare legislation exists and China doesn’t have laws against animal cruelty, but animals like pandas or tigers that are threatened by extinction are legally protected. Restaurant owners caught selling dog meat can have their business licenses removed on their third offence. The earliest known reference to Pekingese dogs was in the 8th century Tang Dynasty in China, where they were held sacred for nearly one thousand years, making them the world’s first pet dogs.
Changing family demographics, such as childless couples and increasing numbers of elderly people living alone, mean that more and more people are turning to dogs for companionship and support.
Whilst certain countries in Asia including the Philippines and Taiwan have banned the practice of dog eating, dogs and sometimes cats are still used as food animals in many parts of Asia, most notably, in Korea, China and Vietnam. Dog farms are currently springing up all over China, with industry ads boasting high rates of return, three times as profitable as poultry, and four times as profitable as raising pigs. However western abhorrence of the practice of eating dogs means that most are unwilling to supply animals to the market. Many are packed so tightly into cages on their way to the markets that injuries are common.
The South Korean government in particular has come under fire for failing to enforce its 1991 Animal Protection Law, which bans cruelty to all animals, in relation to the dog meat market. For example, while the killing and eating dogs is legal in mainland China, the practice was banned in Hong Kong as long ago as 1950. Since there has never been a recognised international dog-meat trade and the market is relatively recent, dogs do not appear on the FAO list of livestock. Codex Alimentarius defines meat as the edible part of any slaughter animal slaughtered in an abattoir and includes edible offal”.
In addition the Animal Welfare Act 1999 requires that animals being exported from New Zealand require animal welfare export certification. New Zealander Elly Maynard, Chairperson and Founder of Sirius Global Animal Organisation, a group dedicated to fighting to keep domestic companion animals out of the food chain, is at the forefront of the fight against the international dog meat trade &endash; and she needs your help!!!
These poor animals have spent 3 days and 3 nights, squashed together in tiny cages, unable to move, without food, water or shelter. However, we believe that to advocate humane slaughter for dogs would legitimize the practice and undermine the tireless and effective work of those Asian countries that have recently outlawed the practice. His once-fearsome body is so emaciated it is little more than a pitiful pile of fur and bones.
Despite its rapid modernisation, the use of traditional medicine in China has increased rather than declined because more people can afford exotic treatments. It is popular among wealthy middle-aged men including, reportedly, some of the Communist Party's senior officials and is said to have been used by modern China's founder Chairman Mao Tse-Tung himself, in the superstitious belief that it counters the effects of ageing and boosts flagging sex drive. Parents clap and shriek with laughter while children look on with bemused grins as the daily ritual is performed. And if what the public can see is so appalling, can you imagine what the conditions are like for the tigers hidden from view?' Ironically, the park is littered with billboards proclaiming the owners' desire to protect wildlife. They held me for 20 minutes and made frantic phone calls before letting me go once they were satisfied my camera's memory was empty. It is very important to acknowledgment these photographer who captured these action photography. We have our own quirks here in the offices of petMD, but one thing we can say is true: dogs do act like children. Did you know that researchers now believe that the SARS epidemic began its human to human transition in these live animal markets with cages piled high with dogs and cats waiting to be slaughtered?
An, an animal rights activist and volunteer at Beijing-based China Small Animal Protection Association, saw the truck stacked with cages of cramped and whimpering dogs.
Animal protection supporters countered that calling brutalizing dogs a sign of moral degradation. The dogs are bludgeoned over the head, stabbed in the neck and bled out, hanged and beaten alive or electrocuted. Recent evidence shows that the market is expanding with the growth of the dog meat and breeding industry in China.
This has made acquiring animals difficult and led Chinese businessmen to focus on importing stud dogs only, as breeding stock, to meet the internal needs of the market. To keep up with demand dog farms have been springing up around the country and dog breeders have been experimenting with crossing larger foreign breeds with the leaner Mongolian dogs long favored for their meat.
Diseases such as parvo virus, canine distemper and leptospirosis are common and spread like wildfire in dogs whose immune systems are already low and weakened due to the poor health and starvation.
On May 13, the Hanoi Health Department declared it had found the cholera bacterium in five samples of dog meat taken from four slaughterhouses in Ha Dong district.
In fact in Korea, contrary to popular belief, dog eating is a relatively recent phenomenon and has never been a part of a long-standing culinary history as the traders would have us believe. Fortunately an animal protection law is now being drafted by a group of leading Chinese law academics for the purpose of promoting public discussion within China with a long term goal of addressing deliberate cruelty to animals. However, animal welfare groups claim that widespread corruption of officials and other agencies means that the law is not enforced. Despite this framework, the Ministry of Health and Welfare does not enforce the Law so that dog meat restaurants remain common and an illegal dog and cat meat trade continues to flourish.
As a result, pet ownership is booming, with just over 150 million pet dogs throughout the nation – one for every nine people. Cultural practices are cultural practices and they vary from civilization to civilization, but it should not be an excuse to cruelty Most of the world views dogs as trusted companions, but in Asia, millions of them are still consumed for meat. Chinese dog farmers believe that in a few short years, dog farms will become as prolific as those raising sheep and cattle. This has made procuring animals difficult and led Chinese businessmen to focus on importing stud dogs only, as breeding stock, to meet the internal needs of the market. In addition, the dogs are often killed in horrendous ways, or beaten severely prior to being slaughtered in order to stimulate the animal to produce adrenalin, as many believe that eating such meat boosts men’s virility. Therefore there may also be scope for reform and changes to be instituted at various points in these processes. The dogs are then brutally lifted by the neck and hurled into a pen by a man wielding a metal tongs. Time and time again, dogs across the world have proved their unique qualities and how valuable they can be in partnership with people. Later these stones were replaced by needles made of bamboo and slivers of animal bone, then finally in the Shang Dynasty bronze casting techniques made metal needles possible, which conducted electricity (and qi). Because of the scarcity of tigers, a single bottle of tiger bone wine from a rare vintage year can sell for A?600 or more.
A closer look reveals that one of the performing tigers has a tumour on his left leg the size of a football.
At the end of their tour of the park, visitors are directed to a 'science hall' where a complete tiger skeleton is displayed in a Perspex case. You may be surprised to know that many of the fur trimmed   accessories on your children’s  toys are not faux fur at all but dog or cat fur which is much cheaper to buy then to actually manufacture the imitation faux fur. This incident suggests that China has come to a stage where the Chinese authorities must address the social stability and public health issues connected to the uncontrolled dog-eating culinary sub-culture. The most sought after dogs being Saint Bernards and other large European breeds, such as German Shepherds, Dalmations, Newfoundlands and Leonbergers. Rabies: Research published in March 2009 in the open access journal PLoS Medicine, reports on two patients admitted to hospital showing signs of rabies infection. The fabrication of dog and cat meat as an age-old part of Korean cultural heritage is a clever marketing strategy by unscrupulous vendors who are exploiting an easy to produce commodity. Animal protection organizations, despite some not having government permits, are being founded and people are more willing than they used to be to join them and discuss them in public.
Historically, dog eating in China was never widespread, but rather confined to a handful of clans who consumed dog meat for religious reasons.
There has never been a better opportunity of reaching out, extending the message so that attitudes can change and gradually a new consensus on the goodness of dogs and cats as our friends and helpers – and not food – can emerge and prevail. The resulting market demand has led to New Zealand breeders being targeted to supply stud or breeding animals to Asian countries. The New Zealand government has so far refused to do this.• Imposing additional restrictions on live dog exportsAustralia is one country that has taken a lead in this issue.
An interesting point which has not yet been raised in relation to this issue, is whether any export bans could run into problems in relation to the WTO agreements, such as the GATT free trade provisions.


Here they fight through fear, hunger and desperation to survive while awaiting a horrendously slow death in order to provide meat for restaurants in Guangzhou.Diseases such as parvo virus, canine distemper and leptospirosis are rife and spread like wildfire in dogs whose immune systems are already low due to depression and starvation.
Wardens at the wildlife park in southwest China say, indifferently, that they do not expect him to see the start of the Year of the Tiger which began last Sunday.
As well as a supposed medical remedy, it is a prestigious drink sometimes shared between men at high-level political or business meetings, or drunk at lavish parties. The Guilin park, whose owner boasts of how he has served tiger wine to some of China's top leaders, has been given a A?700,000 government grant to build new cages for its 'scientific research'. Although, it is not long list of photographs, I am sure this composition gives photographer chance to learn the new techniques. He then called a friend for help and through him published a plea on Sina Weibo, a Twitter like social networking and micro-blogging service popular in China.
Although dog meat is not seen at dinner tables as much as pork, beef or other kinds of white meat, some parts of China still favor the canine dish – especially in the northeast along the border with Korea and in the southern provinces of Guizhou and Guangdong. Some are purposely slaughtered in front of other dogs, to increase their fear and stress level, to boost the adrenaline and thus enhance the flavor in their meat. And they are not eaten because purebreds are too valuable and all dogs taste pretty much the same. There are a number of pathogens associated with the dog meat industry; the most recently documented include cholera, rabies, and trichinellosis.
Some farms raise as many as 100,000 dogs a year, most for slaughter but some also for their fur. At the end of last year, through the Australian National Kennel Council, Australia formally legislated against the export of dogs from Australia to any country where they are consumed as food.
We often witness a large number of dead and diseased dogs and cats which have been pulled out of the cages and slung by the side.The dog meat trade is becoming increasingly industrialized and is even promoted by the government in some provinces. This shabby, rundown park in Guilin - one of China's main tourist cities - is home to the world's biggest single collection of tigers. The lucrative trade has accelerated the disappearance of all but a handful of China ' s remaining wild tigers as peasants turn poachers to track down the animals, knowing just one will make them more money than a farmer can earn in a decade.
We saw some of those new cages being put to use during our visit, housing up to ten animals each as the park's breeding programme continues apace. The blog attracted more than 100 animal rights activists, who gathered with water, medicine and food for the dogs. Traditionally confined primarily to southern China and a few spots in the eastern coastal province of Jiangsu, the practice of eating dog began to spread throughout China in the late 1980s as the country became more affluent. Actual physical torture and bleeding them out slowly are routine methods used for this purpose. When the researchers investigated whether the patients had come into contact with infected animals, they found that both had been involved in preparing and eating animals that may have been infected. Now dogs are being employed as sniffer dogs at airports and railway stations, they have also become invaluable and cheap in the assistants of law enforcement.
Dogs can only be sold to registered members of Kennel Clubs for showing, or breeding to enhance the breed for shows only. Cases on this point indicate that nations may only act to protect animals within their own territory.
Millionaire Zhou Weisen, who is 47 and was born in the Year of the Tiger himself, realised at an early age he could make his fortune by keeping tigers in wretched captivity. The majority are hidden from sight in row after row of cages outside the public area of the park.
China's government has stubbornly resisted attempts to stop the illicit trade in tiger parts. Their presence jammed the highway temporarily and forced police to shut down a nearby exit.
Many people view less superior breeds of dogs as edible “meat dogs,” even while having pet dogs themselves.
Crossing one of those dogs with a local bitch produces two litters of eight to 10 puppies a year.
Dogs and other companion animals also provide an important financial, as well as emotional, contribution to China. This has been an issue in the UK where, despite having banned veal crates within the UK it has been impossible to prevent the export of calves overseas for rearing in veal crates. Bernard, have been imported to be cross-bred with the local Chinese mongrel to produce a fast growing, docile “meat dog” that can be slaughtered at 4 months. For here, 1,500 captive tigers - around half as many as there are thought to be remaining in the wild - live out miserable lives in squalid conditions. He opened the Guilin park with 60 tigers in 1993, breeding them intensively so their numbers boomed to today's population of 1,500. The factory sells around 200,000 bottles a year and keeps up to 600 tiger skeletons at a time in huge vats. Despite grudgingly introducing legislation banning the use of tiger bones in medicine, China argued at an international convention in 2007 that the ban on trading tiger parts had 'seriously impacted not only Chinese traditional culture but also the medicinal treatment and health care of the Chinese people'.
The police later found that the truck driver had all the necessary paperwork, including those regarding animal quarantine and immunity for the dogs, but activists refused to abandon their rescue effort. Each crossbred puppy grows to about 50kg in six months, when it can fetch about 400 yuan, (nearly US$50), half of that profit. In general, they dispute that eating dogs is no different from eating any other animal, and accuse people opposing it of practicing a kind of cultural imperialism based on the practices in their countries. Livestock sections of large bookshops stock books and VCDs on dog farming which promote horrific slaughter methods, in the misguided belief that the more the dog suffers the better the meat will taste.
Each tiger costs around A?6 a day to feed, and it is easy to see that the small clusters of visitors paying A?7.50 each to wander around the cages and watch bizarre animal shows cannot possibly cover even the cost of food for the vast park.
The park has the atmosphere of a medieval circus, with animals treated in a way that would cause outrage in any western country. Others are kept locked in small, concrete enclosures, spending their days in perpetual darkness. We serve it to them whenever they visit.' Cutting hurriedly to the chase before the next group of guests finish their tour of the park and enter the science hall, she then offers the tiger wine in three, six and nine-year vintages at A?60, A?92 and A?185 a bottle. The underground caverns, where witnesses have reported seeing entire tigers in 5ft high vats, are strictly off limits to visitors.
Tigers, the Chinese government argued to the astonishment of delegates from other countries, should be treated like crocodiles and farmed for their bones and skin.
The 15 hour intense overnight negotiations ended with a pet company and an environmental conservation foundation co-buying the dogs for about 115,000 yuan ($17,606). Consequently, vacuum packed and canned dog meat are becoming increasingly available in some supermarkets. Twice a day, a few relatively tame tigers are put on leashes and led out to amuse small groups of visitors. They occasionally jump up on their hind legs to peer through narrow, slit windows, to get a rare glimpse of daylight.
Perhaps fittingly, China itself is likely to be one of the first countries to feel the effect of the trade in tiger parts. For the equivalent of A?1.80 a time, parents and their children get the opportunity to feed strips of beef to a scrawny, undernourished young tiger in the care of a park keeper who, with no sense of irony, tells them the tiger is a 'symbol of power in the animal kingdom'. One week into the Year of the Tiger, its own tiger population is on the brink of extinction.
Dead tigers are driven 200 miles from the park, officially called the Xiongshen Tiger and Bear Mountain Village, to a huge subterranean complex where their fur is stripped from their carcasses and their bones collected to make tiger wine that can sell for A?185 a bottle. Factory sales manager Miss Wang told our interpreter over the phone: 'If you want to be a distributor, the licence will cost you 150,000 yuan (A?14,000) a year for a provincial capital-and 80,000 yuan (A?7,500) for a smaller city.
Aside from the threat of hunting, there has been urbanisation, and the bizarre 1959 decision by Chairman Mao to declare the tiger 'an enemy of the people'. So for the park, where the tigers are bred for their bones, every year is the Year of the Tiger, and conservationists fear that the vile trade could be helping push some species of wild big cat into extinction. A provincial sole distributor licence costs five million yuan (A?468,000) a year.' The factory's products are showcased in a sales office in the nearby town of Pingnan, where a variety of bottles of tiger bone wine are on show for potential buyers. Half a century later, as the trade in tiger bones puts a huge price on the head of the remaining few wild Chinese tigers, Ms Robinson and other conservationists believe the fate of the tiger in China is sealed. On paper, China has signed international wildlife treaties that ban all trade in tiger body parts and claims to have outlawed the industry. But even here, deep in the Chinese countryside, the trade in tigers is a secret guarded with paranoid intensity. In reality, Xiongshen and other parks like it operate in a grey area of the law, using the bones of animals that have died naturally in captivity to produce 'medicinal' wine, apparently with the government's blessing. Their eyeballs are used to treat epilepsy, their bile to stop convulsions, their whiskers to sooth toothache and their penises as a potent sexual tonic.



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