The dog meat trade
HSI is a leading global organisation working in countries across Asia to end the gruesome dog meat trade. We provide funding to train officials for improved enforcement of laws; help local partner groups on the ground with veterinary and shelter care for confiscated animals; raise global awareness of the suffering involved in illegal dog theft, transport and slaughter, including at the annual Dog Meat Festival in Yulin, China; expose the horror of subterranean killing pits in Nagaland in India; and work with dog meat farmers in South Korea to transition them to more humane ways of making a living. We also helped form the Asia Canine Protection Alliance to end the illegal trade of dogs from Thailand, Cambodia and Laos into Viet Nam.
By drawing the attention of governments and the public to the cruelty involved in this industry, we hope to put a stop to the misery these dogs endure.
It’s important to note that the vast majority of people in these countries do not participate or condone eating of dog meat and public sentiment against the trade is growing strongly. Community outreach and highlighting the special nature of dogs as our companions, and greater awareness about the very real risks to human health from diseases such as cholera and rabies will eventually extinguish the industry.
With bans on the dog meat trade already in place across Hong Kong, Thailand, the Philippines, Taiwan and Singapore, achieving an end to the trade in other Asian countries is a realistic objective and one we are working hard to achieve.
Locations of the trade
Most of the dog meat trade is in China despite polling showing a strong majority of Chinese supporting its banning. Conservative estimates are that 10-20 million dogs perish due to this cruel practice in China alone. Ironically, China’s pet ownership is about 30 million, many of which are stolen to supply the trade.
Every June in Yulin, China, thousands of dogs and cats—including stolen pets—are slaughtered for the city's annual dog meat festival, started in 2010 by dog meat traders to boost flagging business. In recent years, thanks largely to the efforts of HSI and our partner groups, this event has become gradually more muted and small-scale. In the face of worldwide condemnation, officials have cracked down on public displays of slaughter and limited advertisement of dog meat by restaurants. But the killing still goes on in the backstreets and out-of-town slaughterhouses under the cover of darkness. However, together with our wonderful Chinese partner groups, we have been able to assist with rescues of thousands of dogs from the brutal dog meat trade from across China, including at the Yulin festival. In 2016, the Yulin government issued its first-ever written pledge to act to end the festival, and road checkpoints were set up to prevent dog trucks from entering the city. In a milestone victory this year, it was reported by our partner groups Duo Duo Animal Welfare that Yulin government was set to prohibit restaurants, street vendors and market traders from selling dog meat at the event. Whilst the ban is only temporary, it’s a significant win that is evidence of the growing political will from inside China to clamp down on the trade.
In China, HSI has also helped to launch a team of activists called China Animal Protection Power, who liaise with local police to pull over trucks on the highways crammed with dogs and cats on their way to slaughterhouses. As these animals are largely illegally acquired from the streets and their homes, as well as illegally transported across provincial borders without the necessary paperwork, intercepted trucks can be seized by the police and the dogs confiscated. Many of the rescued dogs are sick or injured, so our supporters’ donations have helped bring them top-quality veterinary care and safe sanctuary so that they can recover and learn to trust again.
Around 2.5 million dogs are killed annually for the dog meat trade in South Korea, which is the only country in the world with established dog breeding farms. On these farms, the dogs receive no attention or veterinary care, are bred and raised for profit only to be eventually sold and slaughtered, usually by electrocution, for human consumption.
HSI is working with farmers who express an interest in leaving the cruel trade behind them to close down dog meat farms and fly the dogs to freedom in the USA, UK and Canada. To date, HSI has already shut down 8 dog meat farms in the country and there is room to do so much more. Through a network of partner shelters, the dogs rescued are prepared for adoption into loving homes. They serve as ambassadors to help raise awareness of this issue. Back in South Korea, we help transition the farmers to new humane livelihoods such as blueberry farming, demonstrating to the Korean government that phasing out the industry is a feasible solution.
In South Korea, we are urging the national government to commit to a phase-out of dog meat farming, and we will intensify our lobbying in advance of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
India too has a hidden and cruel trade of dogs for human consumption, despite the practice being illegal. The consumption of dog meat is already against the law in India, contravening the country’s food safety regulations. However, these provisions are being openly ignored by the traders and the local authorities are failing to implement the law in Nagaland state. Dog meat is considered taboo in India except in Nagaland and few other north eastern states where some people think it is healthy.
HSI/India estimates that more than 30,000 stray and stolen pets are smuggled every year where they are sold in live markets and beaten to death with wooden clubs.
The Asia Canine Protection Alliance is an international alliance of animal protection organisations formed by Humane Society International, Animals Asia Foundation, Soi Dog Foundation, and Change For Animals Foundation.
ACPA’s focus is to end the illegal trade of dogs from Thailand and Laos into Vietnam, where an estimated 5 million dogs are slaughtered every year for human consumption, by tackling both the supply of dogs from Thailand and Laos, and the demand for dogs for consumption in Vietnam. Conservative estimates suggest that every year, over 80,000 dogs continue to be traded from Thailand and Laos to help supply the demand for dog meat in Vietnam, and numerous investigations have documented the severe cruelty inherent in all stages of the dog meat trade- sourcing, transport, sale and slaughter.
The dog meat trade in Indonesia is essentially unregulated and operates in breach of national and local laws and regulations pertaining to animal disease control. The country is becoming of increasing concern, given mounting evidence, including international media reports, of the abhorrent cruelty inflicted on a large but unknown number of dogs traded and slaughtered for human consumption.
There is no accurate data available on the scale of the dog meat trade in Indonesia; however, there is sufficient evidence from local animal protection groups and research to show that it is prevalent on a number of islands including Flores, Sulawesi, Sumatra, Java, and Bali. For example, an investigation by the Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA) revealed that an estimated 70,000 – 100,000 dogs are traded and slaughtered to be sold in the estimated 200 dog meat restaurants in Bali alone.
In addition, recent investigations by Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) have documented the immense cruelty of the trading and slaughtering operations, where dogs are routinely transported long distances in sacks and either strung up or beaten to death, before butchery.
Take action by calling on the South Korean government to identify all dogs and cats as companion animals under the law regardless of breed or place of birth, and to ban the slaughter of these animals for human consumption.
Donate to our efforts to end the dog meat trade in Asia
Latest News on the dog meat trade
149 DOGS AND PUPPIES SAVED FROM BEING KILLED AND EATEN FOR SOUTH KOREA’S ‘BOK NAL’ SUMMER SEASON
19th July 2017 click here
CHINESE ANIMAL ACTIVISTS RESCUE NEARLY 1,000 DOGS AND CATS FROM TRUCK HEADED TO SLAUGHTER
21st June 2017 click here
BREAKING: VIDEO SHOWS YULIN POLICE CLOSING DOWN DOG MEAT MARKET STALLS, ENFORCING TEMPORARY SALES BAN BEFORE DOG MEAT FESTIVAL
17th June 2017 click here
ANIMAL GROUPS REPORT MIXED RESULTS AS DOG VENDORS FIGHT SALES BAN AT CHINA’S YULIN DOG MEAT FESTIVAL
16th June 2017 click here
NEW SURVEY REVEALS DOG MEAT EATING IN YULIN, CHINA ISN’T POPULAR DESPITE CONTROVERSIAL DOG MEAT FESTIVAL
14th June 2017 click here
BREAKING: DOG MEAT SALES BANNED AT CHINA’S YULIN FESTIVAL IN MILESTONE VICTORY TO END BRUTAL MASS SLAUGHTER OF DOGS
18th May 2017 click here
hsi welcomes dog and cat meat ban in taiwan
13th April 2017 click here
JUDI DENCH FUNDS ASPIRING ACTORS AND WORKS TO ABOLISH THE CRUEL DOG MEAT TRADE (INQUISITR)
8th October 2016 click here
kim jong-un labels dog meat a 'superfood' in a bid to encourage starving north koreans to eat it (daily mail uk)
15th August 2016 click here
HORRIFIC IMAGES EMERGE OF INDIA'S VERSION OF YULIN DOG MEAT FESTIVAL (tHE iNDEPENDENT, uk)
13th July 2016 click here
THREE WAYS YOU CAN PROTEST CHINA'S NOTORIOUS DOG MEAT FESTIVAL (cbs nEWS)
21st June 2016 click here
20 DOGS RESCUED FROM SLAUGHTER JUST ONE DAY AHEAD OF CHINA'S YULIN DOG MEAT FESTIVAL (HSI Media release)
POLL: MAJORITY OF CHINESE PUBLIC WANTS YULIN DOG MEAT FESTIVAL SHUT DOWN (HSI MEDIA RELEASE)
17th June 2016 click here
tHE WIRE (2Ser rADIO): a MEATY PROBLEM FOR CHINA'S DOG POPULATION - AN INTERVIEW FEATURING GEORGIE STEWART, HSI'S PROGRAM MANAGER FOR ANIMAL WELFARE
15th June 2016 click here
HSI SAVEs 29 dogs and 5 cats from being eaten just days before china's yulin festival slaughter begins (HSI MEDIA RELEASE)
15th June 2016 click here
celebrities, mps, campaigners hand in 11 million-signature petitioN at China's London Embassy, to end China's Yulin dog meat festival (HSI media release)
7th June 2016 click here
THREE DAY STAND-OFF TO RESCUE DOGS FROM DEATH BY BARBARIC YULIN DOG MEAT FESTIVAL
24th May 2016 click here
YULIN DOG MEAT FESTIVAL 2016: NEW PICTURES EMERGE OF 'NIGHTMATE' CONDITIONS FOR ANIMALS INVOLVED IN CHINESE EVENT
7th April 2016 click here
NEARLY 8 MILLION CHINESE CITIZENS VOTE ONLINE TO SUPPORT LEGISLATION PROPOSAL AGAINST CRUEL DOG AND CAT MEAT (HSI mEDIA RELEASE)
15th March 2016 click here
south korean dog meat farmer & humane society international join forces to close farm, rescue dogs, and urge end to dog meat trade (hsi media release)
18th September 2015 click here
hundreds of animals rescued but many more to be slaughtered as yulin dog meat festival gets underway in china
22nd June 2015 click here
ricky gervais urges end to yulin dog meat festival
15th June 2015 click here
Going through hell for leather: thailand's dog meat trade
20th April 2014 click here
Governments pledge collaborative actions to end the illegal trade in dogs for meat and to eliminate rabies
28th February 2014 download PDF (181.4 kb)
Vietnam's black market is selling dogs with rabies to meet demand for dog meat
13th February 2014 click here
China gets a wake-up call with animals Asia's new 'say no to cat and dog meat' campaign
13th November 2013 click here
Chinese officials 'set 1,000 cats loose in forest'
5th November 2013 click here
How eating dog became big business in Vietnam
28th September 2013 click here