In spite of the growing influence of anti-cruelty campaigners in China, cat and dog meat markets are thriving. China is one of few countries where cat and dog meat eating remains legal and socially acceptable.
According to Daily Mail, China is yet to make animal cruelty illegal, but with a growing number of middle class Chinese enjoying higher living standards, more are acquiring dogs and cats as pets. Among this group of Chinese, the clamor is growing and pressure is piling up on the authorities to tighten up laws on animal welfare that will ban eating dog and cat meat. Cat and dog meat eating tradition is thousands of years old and many Chinese still maintain distinction between dogs and cats raised on farms for their meat and those bred to be kept as pets in homes.
Dog and cat meat markets thrive in Guangzhou, a city in southern China where cat and dog meat dishes are popular. At several dog meat restaurants in the city, dog meat lovers may chose from a long list of specialty dishes, including dog soup and steak dishes. Lovers of dog meat may stand and watch the animals of their choice butchered and prepared to their taste.
dog being butchered in a market in Guangdong
Dog meat on sale in Shanghai
There are several folk beliefs in China that recommend dog meat as healthy. Digital Journal reports consumption of dog and cat meat is believed to help keep the body warm in winter cold. Others say dog meat promotes sweating in summer and helps the body offload heat.
Dog meat is also consumed in many other parts of Asia including Korea and Vietnam.
Dog meat on sale in Seoul, Korea. Dog meat is widely consumed in Asia
Digital Journal reported that recently, hundreds of dogs being transported in a truck to Chinese restaurants that serve dog meat as culinary delicacy were rescued. The truck, carrying 500 dogs squeezed into 156 small cages, was stopped on Yunnan Province's highway from Fumin to Kunming. The police took the truck to a nearby police station. Digital Journal reported about 200 animal lovers and activists mobilized at the police station around the truck in eastern Beijing and after a standoff that lasted 15 hours, the dogs were set free after an animal protection group purchased them for 115,000 yuan (US$17,600).