Is humane slaughtering of dogs for human consumption possible?

Below is translation of article written by Dr. Myung Bo-Young and published :

[Contributory article] Is humane slaughtering of dogs for human consumption possible?

말복인 16일 오전 서울 광진구 중곡동의 모 구의원이 운영하는 것으로 알려진 한 보신탕 음식점 앞에서 동물복지단체 생동생사 회원들이 개고기 식용종식과 광진구청에 동물보호과를 신설할 것을 촉구하는 침묵시위를 벌이고 있다. 2016.8.16/뉴스1

Members of the animal welfare group (Saengdongsaengsa) held a silent demonstration in front of a dog meat soup restaurant in Seoul (Jungok-dong, Gwangjin-gu) to urge them to stop dog meat consumption and establish local government level animal protection department. (Photos: News 1)

Veterinarian Myung Bo-Young: People’s expectation that the new government should institute a phased ban on dog meat is increasing. Until now, the dog meat issue has been stalemated due to the countless opposing arguments and instead, there has even been a move toward legalization.

I assume many people have experienced the same, but when I was a child I witnessed a scene where adults were beating up a dog with a club in a vacant lot. As a child, I was very shocked and wondered how can this be happening. And the trauma from that day has lasted for a while.

I became a veterinarian and have been working in the animal shelter for many years.
I wanted to improve the poor conditions of animal shelters but shelters operated by the city were a place where the lives and deaths of abandoned animals constantly crossed. I was able to help many lives but I also suffered for a while because of the psychological impact.

Last year, a veterinarian at an animal shelter in Taiwan committed suicide which sparked a global debate. It is such a tragedy but I think I can understand how she felt.

Government employees who worked on burying animals alive during the outbreak of foot and mouth disease have complained of serious mental suffering. Unless you are in an industry that deals with the death of animals all the time, there won’t be many who can cope with it.

Not only people in occupations who work with animals with different purposes, such as companion animals, livestock animals, and laboratory animals, but even the general public would suffer from mental stress if they were to encounter similar situations.

‘But it’s ok if we manage the sanitation, and slaughter humanely like cows, pigs and chickens, right?’

In the articles that oppose dog meat consumption, people always post comments such as, “You eat cows, pigs and chickens. So why is it not ok to eat dogs?” We also often see questions like, “Isn’t it ok if we manage the sanitation, and slaughter humanely like cows, pigs and chickens?”

To respond to these questions, let’s take a look at the current methods of slaughtering dogs.

In our country, goat slaughterhouses and dog slaughterhouses that carry out large-scale slaughtering generally use electrocution or electric shock followed by bleeding methods. A metal rod that discharges electricity is applied to the eyes or mouth of a dog for 1 to 3 minutes to induce general paralysis. This method either electrocutes the dog or leaves the dog in a paralyzed state after which the jugular vein is cut and the dog bleeds to death.

Some people misunderstand this as euthanasia, but often it does not lead to death and the dog remains conscious.

Also to save time, the dogs transported by truck are slaughtered by electrocution right on the truck without being moved to the slaughterhouse. Despite the large number of dogs in cages on the truck, electric slaughter is conducted on the trucks causing the terrified dogs already in extreme stress to behave aggressively such as biting the wire cages or metal rods. They also writhe in fear, and show symptoms of urination, salivation, drainage of anal sachet, dilated pupils, increased heart rate, and muscle spasms.

These symptoms are associated with the severe stress, fear, and anxiety experienced by the animals when they are being harmed.

In some small farms and restaurants, dogs are often beaten with a club, then burned or strangled to death. Electrocution and hanging (by the neck) are often used at the same time.

It is also confirmed that some people use muscle relaxants, which anyone can easily purchase, to give to the dogs before slaughtering them in public while people are watching.

What is the opinion of our society about how the dogs are slaughtered?

In the 2013 Busan’s Gijang-gun dog slaughter case, even though the police had confirmed that the dogs were being killed by sledgehammer blows to the neck, they determined that it is difficult to punish the dog butcher for violation of the Animal Protection Act, stating that this method of slaughter is not considered cruel. In addition, when it comes to cases relating to dog meat consumption or animal cruelty, courts have adjudicated the perpetrators with a mere slap on the wrist, or with a not guilty or simple destruction of property verdicts, despite the fact that the Animal Protection Act contains provisions prohibiting “killing an animal with any other animal of the same species present at the scene” and “inflicting an injury upon an animal with a tool.”

If the courts were to punish these acts of dog slaughter according to the Animal Protection Act, all the dog slaughterhouses around the country could be subject to the law, so the courts seem to have made passive judgments.

The focal points associated with a humane death are ‘pain and consciousness’.

There was a survey of over 300 college students regarding the methods of slaughter for dogs in the dog meat industry. 95% of the students responded that they were “inhumane deaths”. The number of people who think that the current method of slaughter is humane would not be many.

Then you may ask, ‘Is the slaughter of cows, pigs, and chickens humane?’

The method of euthanasia is determined by the animal species, breed, size, breeding status, degree of docility, presence of injury or disease, and the degree of excitability.

Dogs are clearly different animals than industrial animals such as cows and pigs.
I am not saying that the slaughtering of industrial animals is humane, but for these animals methods developed from extensive research are being used. Studies related to the euthanasia of dogs have also been conducted over a long period of time. However, there is no study of slaughtering dogs for human consumption anywhere in the world. There’s only research related to euthanasia of abandoned animals.

There are international guidelines for the killing of animals commonly used by organizations such as OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) and world-renowned animal protection groups.

The following is related to the humane death of an animal as specified by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

1. To be able to kill without accompanying pain; 2. To shorten the time required for loss of consciousness; 3. To shorten the time to death; 4. To be certain; 5. To be safe for the practitioner; 6. Cause minimum psychological stress; 7. Suitable for the purpose and necessity ; 8. Low emotional impact on the practitioner and the people involved; 9. Economical ; 10. Suitable for histopathological evaluation; 11. Consideration for the effectiveness and the harmful effect of drugs.

The methods used in our country for slaughtering dogs, such as electrocution, strangulation, bleeding, and muscle relaxant, are classified as inhumane deaths.
Also drug-induced slaughter is a method that should not be used in animals intended for consumption because it affects the human body.

Electrocution, which is mainly used in the dog meat industry, was once used as a euthanasia method for dogs, cats, sheep, pigs, fox and mink many decades ago. Now it is not only classified as an inhumane method around the world because it causes extreme pain and stress, it is no longer used.

The problems regarding electrocution that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) refers to are as follows.

1. It is dangerous to humans; 2. It takes a long time; 3. It is not a useful method for dangerous animals; 4. It is not good to see because limbs, head and neck become rigid; 5. After the electricity discharge is stopped, cannot maintain ventricular fibrillation and therefore the animals may not die; 6. Causes severe pain and stress.

For these reasons, the American Veterinary Medical Association classifies electrocution as an inhumane death.

If so, what is the accepted method of euthanasia for dogs worldwide?
It is euthanasia using proper drugs.

However, its use on animals consumed for food and feed is forbidden as the medication will accumulate in the people and animals who feed on these drugs.

The methods of slaughtering industrial animals are continuously challenged, and research is being conducted for humane slaughtering all over the world.
On the other hand, studies on the slaughter of dogs for human consumption have never been done.

This is one of the most important reasons why dog slaughter (for human consumption) must not be legalized.

If a study of dog slaughter were to be conducted in Korea, it would be an international disgrace in itself, and if the slaughtering method similar to cows and pigs were to be legalized for dogs, it would also be an international embarrassment.

Dogs are not cows or pigs.

'Veterinarians Caring for Abandoned Animals' Veterinarian Myung Bo-Young Veterinarian (Director of Gwangju Juju Animal Hospital).

‘Veterinarians Caring for Abandoned Animals’ Veterinarian Myung Bo-Young Veterinarian (Director of Gwangju Juju Animal Hospital).

  1. Wendy Tinkler
    Wendy TinklerJuly 7,17

    Please sto this

  2. Guilherme Sartori
    Guilherme SartoriJuly 7,17

    A Korean Veterinarian said it all. This atrocity must stop NOW.

    From Brazil with hope,

  3. Carol Sedlak
    Carol SedlakJuly 7,17

    STOP THIS AT ONCE!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Debra Cassiero
    Debra CassieroJuly 8,17

    Enough said..time for action, STOP THIS

  5. Perczak Ewa
    Perczak EwaJuly 8,17

    I can not even think that this problem is a problem for discussion !!!! it is something so horrendous that it overpass the all understanding !!!! how the people, now, in our modern world, can discuss about this horrendous and monster torture and consumption of dogs and cats in S. Korea !!! not only in SK but also in the other asian countries !!! I thank you very much Mr Myung Bo-Young Veterinarian for all he’s doing !!! the problem is that SK government does nothing to ban this trade !!!! and I ask myself WHY ? !!! if the big part of the korean citizens is against this trade, why it still lasts ? how the little part of people can leads the governement’s decision ? as long as the politics stay blind , doing as if this problem does not exist, we will still wait for “”the day will come when the people as you and me, will consider the murder of an animal, in the same way as they consider the murder of a man today “”” Leonard de Vinci !!!! he said this almost 500 years ago !!!! he was a great scientific and inventer !! big artist and good man, because, he took care about the animals already in his time !! the whole world has a look at these countries !!! the people of the whole world is shocked by this behavior !!! so why these countries have nothing to do with this ? they can have a big economy, advanced in science but they are the poor people, with the barbaric and outdated behavior !! I boycott their products as well as the travelling through out these part of world !!

  6. Donna Vivado
    Donna VivadoJuly 8,17

    What will it take for the judges to uphold the laws in already place? How can these officials abandon their duties as officers of the court? Are they corrupt? Can they be removed from the bench for failure to perform? South Korea- home of Samsung, LG, Hyundai- forever tarnished by these appalling practices of intentional abuse, neglect, and inhumane slaughtering of dogs. Get the people with financial power to force the courts into making decisions based on the letter and spirit of the laws.

  7. Margaret Mitchell
    Margaret MitchellJuly 8,17

    No other animal (except possibly horses) can play.look you in the eye with such overwhelming compassion than a dog. They have intelligence beyond our understanding. To look at a dog is to be able to see pure Love for all mankind. If we honestly think that human consumption of such a animal is even imaginable is beyond anyone’s imagination of life. Dogs look back at you with there souls showing through, no other animal can detect health issues in people, or save someone from drowning or awaken you from a fire. Dogs are loyal loving and can you sleep with a cow, goat or chicken? Will they be there for you through every trial life throws at you,the answer is no, dogs are special little and big, they are not and never have been nor should they even be considered for human consumption, it’s inhuman to eat dogs. ( I also feel this way about cats) but that’s a whole other story. Please I beg of you Find a way to stop this, for the hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats that have suffered beyond any human understanding. I would understand it “If ” in these countries these people had nothing else to eat, but in these days and age there is plenty of food. These people that kill these animals get away with it because there are no laws, this needs to be changed, nothing makes any of this right. It’s a huge embarresment of human life anywhere to even consider eating a dog. How do they live with themselves the men and women that kill these defenseless wonderful mammals that like us live to love us all.

  8. Margaret mitchell
    Margaret mitchellJuly 8,17

    It is the biggest disgrace in human history to believe that as humans we have the right to kill and eat a animal that was bred as Mans best friend for human consumption. To do with as we please, I think not, that is why there are laws, or everyone would just do as they wanted to, I am really surprised at the countries that want to be called civilized that they would allow such behavior. It makes them barbaric and beyond cruel. Its not a place I want to go, how about you?

    • joan grandy
      joan grandyJuly 8,17


  9. Allison mccoy
    Allison mccoyJuly 9,17

    Thank you for writing this Dr. Myung Bo-Young. Even many of the Korean activists and people want to see this come to an end. Year after year trying to get the laws changed to stop the unnecessary suffering of these wonderful animals. They’ve said we need enough people to care about this extremely important issue to boycott until they do something to stop this.

  10. Carole Fraser
    Carole FraserJuly 9,17

    It’s Wholly inhuman Brutal brutality to murder these poor Dogs and cats it’s very wicked and inhuman they have no voice they are intelligent animals I will fight till the end protesting and signing Petitions till people in high places listen to the World I will also Boycott all goods coming from these very Evil country’s I will keep speaking out for them.

  11. Troy C
    Troy CJuly 19,17

    Please STOP this horrible situation asap!

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