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  2. October 21, 2004 5:18 pm


Peixian Photographs.

Please click on thumbnail for full picture!

1. Jiangsu Peixian Fanxiantao Dog Meat Manufactory


FXT main entrance






































2. Shuguang (Dawn Fine) Breeding Base


Shuguang Main Entrance





























Food Dogs - a talk given by Dr John
Wedderburn at the Asia for Animals Conference in September 2003.

Dogs have been eaten in all parts of the
world since human history began.  In different places at different times dog
eating has been thought of as a good thing, as a bad thing, as a healthy thing,
as an unhealthy thing. Sometimes dog meat has been considered a delicacy for the
rich, sometimes as food for the poor to stave off starvation. In Korea it is
eaten in the summer for its cooling properties; in China it is eaten in the
winter for its warming properties.  Usually in China dog meat is a luxury item
costing twice as much as pork and many times as much if it is cooked as a
special dish. In the modern world, generally speaking, in Western countries dogs
are considered to be family companions and are therefore not for eating. In the
East dogs have not traditionally been seen as members of the family and thus
there is not the same objection to eating them. 

At this point I must declare my personal
view that eating dogs is wrong. But no more wrong than eating pigs, rabbits and
cows.  I understand of course the arguments  concerning why it is good to eat
pigs and not dogs but these arguments are tenuous and, anyway, are impossible to
get over to someone who has been brought up in a tradition of dog eating.  I do
not think we can ever convince someone to stop eating dog meat if we ourselves
continue to eat pig meat. 

The dog meat industry is rapidly
developing from a cottage industry to factory farming dimensions.  Although many
of us strongly dislike the idea of dog eating however the dog is raised, we have
to admit that the traditional methods of dog raising are far less objectionable
than the modern methods.  

Traditionally, small farmers keep a few
dogs as watch dogs. These dogs breed naturally and there are always a few
puppies more than is required for replacement purposes.  A middle man comes
round the farms from time to time, buys the puppies when they are nearly full
grown (or when they are 6 weeks if they are destined to be roast suckling
delicacies) and sells them to restaurants.  The restaurants keep them in cages
until a customer picks out a dog he would like to eat.  The dog then has his
head smashed in and/or his throat cut and is cooked on the spot.  Not pleasant
but not as bad as what is happening now. 

With GATT and WTO, the Americans and
Europeans now have nothing to stop them from selling modern factory farming
ideas and the equipment to go with them.  Any hindrance to their activities is
seen as a breach of international trading agreements. 

Now dog farming is becoming big
business. Scientific methods are being used to improve the livestock to produce
the ideal food dog. The ideal dog should be easy to breed with large healthy
litters, should grow rapidly and have good tasting meat.  An easy going
temperament makes looking after them much easier.  Many Chinese farmers have
identified the St Bernard as having the best characteristics and livestock
experts are experimenting with crossing different breeds to produce the ideal

Last summer I visited a couple of modern
food dog farms in Central China. The work of us Western animal activists is much
limited in Asia by our inability to blend into the background. We desperately
need local people to undertake undercover operations in slaughterhouses, medical
laboratories, food dog farms, etc. However, sometimes our foreignness can be
turned to advantage. For example last year I was able to pose as a research
scientist interested in buying beagles and macaques and I gained entry into a
huge breeding establishment in China just over the border from here.  But to
enter the food dog farms, I had prepared no story, hoping just to be able to
sneak in quickly, take some photos and then escape - just playing the role of
dumb foreigner.  All went well at the first farm - I blustered my way past the
manager with a few mandarin phrases and managed to get some good photos. The
animals are kept in small concrete cages for their entire lives with nothing but
brutality shown to them at any point.  They have short lives if they are to be
eaten, two or three years if they are to be used for breeding. The slaughter and
skinning are done in full view of the cages.  The dog meat can be cooked in many
different ways - boiled, roasted, stewed with turtle and can be eaten on the
spot or vacuum packed and exported around China and around the world. The skins
are sold to clothing manufacturers.

When I came out of the farm unfortunately there were a couple of tough guys
waiting for me - they insisted I was "invited" to meet the boss and they drove
me into town. There waiting for me were the boss, the city mayor, the local
communist party secretary, the head of the international trade bureau, the owner
of another dog farm and, to my horror, the local school teacher who spoke good
English.  I could no longer get away with being dumb and had to quickly think up
a story. I told them I was a breeder of large dogs in Scotland who wished to
sell stock to China. I said I had read an article in the New York Times and was
interested to see if I could do business.  So they took me on a formal tour of
another big farm and then we went for lunch at my hotel.   

Lunch, paid for by the mayor, was a huge
spread of practically every animal known to man - except, surprisingly, dog.  My
vegetarianism immediately drew suspicion and by the end of the meal several of
the group were becoming hostile.  However, the Lady Mayor, continued to believe
in me and, as she was the highest ranking officer, the others couldn't say
anything but I could see they were waiting for the meal to be finished. So,
towards the end of lunch I said I had to go up to my room to the toilet. The
school teacher was detailed to accompany me and he looked through my bag when I
was in the toilet.  He then said the dog farm bosses wanted to come up to have a
private word with me so I said ok I would wait in my room - but the moment he
was out of the room I was down the stairs and into a taxi.  My luck was in
because the taxi did not have a permit to travel to the next town so the driver
took a circuitous route to avoid the police road block.

Asia desperately needs more activists
willing to do undercover work.  What has hampered things here has been a
traditional live and let live attitude. But all it takes for evil to flourish is
for good people to do nothing.  Evil, when confronted, can be defeated.  We must
try to inspire a generation of activists to take up this challenge. 


Click below for:

Dog Island Free
(A hoax)

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New York Times article

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Last revised:
21 October 2004

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