How People Have Described the Taste of Dog Meat After Trying Man's Best Friend

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Jan. 12 2024, Published 1:12 p.m. ET

Dr. Katherine Polak, who serves as the vice president of companion animals and engagement of HSI, holds a newborn puppy on a dog meat farm in Asan, South Korea.
Source: JEAN CHUNG/HUMANE SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL

As an increasing number of countries ban the barbaric killing of dogs for their meat, including South Korea's historic vote in 2024 to ban the production and sale of dog meat, the topic of what dog meat tastes like is a prevalent one.

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Green Matters does not condone nor endorse the consumption of animal flesh, which is destructive to the environment, because animal agriculture is is a major contributor towards global warming. And to those who grew up with dogs as companions in their homes, the thought of eating a dog likely seems horrific and unspeakable.

All that being said, we address the question of what dog meat tastes like, and explain why you'll never want to find out firsthand.

Sangkyung Lee, Dog Meat Campaign Manager of HSI Korea, and Kelly Donithan, director of animal disaster response of HSI, rescue a dog at a dog meat farm in Asan, South Korea.
Source: JEAN CHUNG/HUMANE SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL
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What does dog meat taste like?

Per a firsthand account from the The Mirror, dog meat tasted like "a cross between beef and mutton" and was very fatty. Some diners and restaurants selling dog meat will play up the fattiness of the meat as a flavorful aspect of the culinary experience.

According to another firsthand account, written by Mark Wiens for Thought Catalog, dog meat tastes "quite fatty" and "extremely fragrant."

"Take a cross between beef and mutton, add extra meaty flavoring, and you’ve got the taste of dog," he wrote.

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Writer Lauren Shockey published her own firsthand account of trying dog meat in Vietnam for The Village Voice, and described dog meat as "chewy and fatty, with a strong animal taste like squab or venison, but not as succulent."

However, we know from undercover investigations that farmed animals are often force-fed (through horrifically cruel methods) to fatten them up as quickly as possible before their premature death due to slaughter, per PETA.

Although dog meat is said to "bring luck and prosperity" in some cultures, per the Village Voice, it's important to recognize the utter brutality of the global dog meat industry.

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Sangkyung Lee, Dog Meat Campaign Manager of HSI Korea, checks the list of the dogs and the crates during the rescue operation on a dog meat farm in Asan, South Korea.
Source: JEAN CHUNG/HUMANE SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL

Is dog meat tasty?

For those who travel abroad to countries where the sale of dog meat is still legal, you may be wondering if dog meat is tasty.

After eating dog meat for the first time, Wiens wrote that "dog can be really delicious."

And when Shockey was asked if she liked eating dog meat, she replied: “It was interesting, although I’m not sure I’ll be eating dog again soon.”

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That doesn't make it appetizing, however. It's also been described as gamey, according to one message board, and certainly not a standout dish among the rich, vegan culinary delights that can be found elsewhere around the world.

The simple matter of the need to significantly fatten the animal producing the meat, combined with many spices to hide the flavor, and needing to prepare the meat in a manner in which other ingredients can take over (such as a stew) all hint at the fact that dog meat alone is never worth the taste test.

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Representatives from HSI/Mexico and HSI/Latin America carry the crate of a rescued dog toward the truck at a dog meat farm in Asan, South Korea.
Source: JEAN CHUNG/HUMANE SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL

Where is dog meat legal?

After South Korea's parliament voted on Jan. 9, 2024 in overwhelming numbers to ban the dog meat trade by 2027, it joined an increasing number of Asian territories rejecting the tradition with a barbaric behind-the-scenes reality.

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Though many assume the consumption of dog meat in the U.S. is illegal, the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act of 2018 makes an exception for Native Americans (note: the language of the Act uses an outdated term) for use in a "religious ceremony."

Outside of the U.S., the boundaries become less strictly defined. Per National Geographic, although some countries in Asia may have banned the production and sale of dog meat, punishments are sometimes not enforced.

Per Humane Society International (HSI), from China to northern India and beyond, including various regions in Africa, there are many areas where the dog meat industry is thriving.

In remote parts of Switzerland, according to HSI, there have been some reports of dog meat consumption as well.

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While Green Matters recognizes the cultural significance of the consumption of dog meat among various regions, an increasing number of surveys in those regions point to the act as a relic upon which many have moved past.

From vegan filet mignon to other types of plant-based meat, there is no shortage of ethical alternatives to animal meat. As access to plant-based alternatives reaches new corners of both the U.S. and the world, we look forward to the day when all animal meat consumption is a thing of the past.

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