Although the concept of eating dog meat is completely unheard of in the U.S., in other parts of the world, it is considered just the same as eating chicken or cow. In Vietnam, for example, approximately five million dogs are killed every year for meat, other places dog meat is eaten include Europe, Russia, Africa, Latin America, China, the Philippines, and South Korea.
The Yulin dog meat festival recently garnered international outrage as celebrities and animal activists joined together to raise awareness and call for an end to this false “tradition.” Photos of dogs stuffed into cages and huddled in absolute fear before slaughter for the festival illustrate the cruelty involved in the dog meat trade. While the suffering of these animals is undeniable, there are also major human health concerns arising from the consumption of dog. The issues highlighted are critical concerns that could have a negative impact on human health if they are not addressed by ending the consumption of dog meat.
One of the largest dangers of dog meat is the spread of rabies to both animals and people. In the Philippines, approximately 10,000 dogs and 300 people are killed by rabies each year. Despite efforts by the World Health Organization (WHO) to mass vaccinate dogs to prevent the spread of rabies through the processes of sourcing, slaughter, and sale of dogs, the dog meat trade moves tens of thousands of dogs across international borders making rabies prevention enormously difficult.
Workers can easily be infected with rabies during slaughter and spread the disease to other dogs and humans alike. In 2008, 20 percent of dogs in slaughterhouses in Hoai Duc, Vietnam were found to have rabies. The previous year, Vietnam suffered from a rabies outbreak with approximately 30 percent of the deaths attributable to the slaughter of dogs for meat. According to the Center for Disease Control’s records, only 10 people have ever survived this horrific disease. This is clearly a major concern when such a dangerous and deadly disease can be so easily spread.