There are certain things that are instantly abhorrent and for millions of human beings, the idea of eating dog meat is not a pleasant one and yet the dog meat industry is a multi-million dollar industry centered mainly in and around South-east Asia. Countries such as Taiwan and the Philippines have banned trade in dog meat but in some cases, this has served to drive this trade underground.
Why does this industry exist? The simple reason is money. Dog farms are three times as profitable as poultry farms and make four times the money found in pig farming. Besides, millions of stray dogs make an easy target for unscrupulous dealers in dog meat.
Why you may ask, are dogs to be different from cattle and swine? The biggest reason is that cattle, swine, and poultry have been domesticated and bred as important sources of animal protein for centuries. People across different cultures regard these as important food sources. But it is different with dogs.
There are countless tales of their selfless devotion to their masters. Because of their courage, loyalty, devotion, and tremendous usefulness dogs have found their way into our lexicon in the form of countless proverbs and phrases. And this is what makes the trade in dog meat sad. It's fueled by our greed, it's not like people don't have other sources of animal protein. We do.
The dogs are not only butchered for food but that they are killed in an inhumane manner. Many are stuffed in small, dirty, wire cages and suffer stress for days.
Today we live in a world with a food surplus, if there is a paucity of food in certain places then it is everybody's duty to see that our poorer brethren get food. The shocking thing, however, is that the places in which these trade flourishes are not exactly poor. In fact, they are the rice bowl of the world and form the tiger economies of South-east Asia.
I remember the story I read that even before the Olympics, there was a concern that foreign visitors to Seoul might be offended by restaurants offering dog meat. In 1986, a ban was placed on the sale of dog meat as an "unseemly" food. The practical result was that most restaurants in city limits replaced signs offering dog meat with smaller, less conspicuous versions, or they renamed the dish to "health stew."
Apart from our sensibilities, there are good health reasons to say no to dog meat. Dog meat from strays cannot be trusted to be clear of any disease. There have been confirmed cases of rabies in China that happened because of eating contaminated dog meat.