Eating dog meat a traditional custom in south China

By Bao Daozu (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-01-27 08:48
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Eating dog meat in China is a risky proposition, given that the country has no specific regulations regarding the production and sale of the meat, experts say.

Eating dog meat is a traditional folk custom in winter in south China's Guangdong province. Shenzhen is one of the hubs for dog-meat processing.

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The current price is approximately 24 to 40 yuan ($3.5-5.8) per kg. Kennel after kennel of dogs transported from other cities are slaughtered each morning in some butcheries in the outskirts of this metropolis.

However, no specific standard has ever been created in China to guarantee the hygienic conditions of dogs raised for slaughter and their meat.

Unregulated pork, beef, and lamb sales are banned in China. However, due to the lack of regulation, the bloody slaughter of dogs cannot be legally covered.

Rabies is the only circumstance requiring quarantine for dogs. Even more dogs are slaughtered outside the standard butcheries without any official supervision.

The relevant regulations on the logistics and sale of dog meat are also nonexistent. Numerous local supermarkets and restaurants are infested with dog meat that may not be safe, experts say.

According to Yu Jie, a local medic, eating dog meat is unsafe because of parasites. Also, workers processing the meat from a rabid dog can easily become infected with rabies.

Article 28 of the Food Safety Law of the People's Republic of China says, "It is forbidden to produce or engage in the business operation of meat that has not been quarantined by the animal health inspection institution or has failed the quarantine, or meat products that have not been inspected or have failed the inspection."

"If dog meat is not quarantined before entering the market, then processing and selling it should be considered illegal," Zhu Bin, a local lawyer, was quoted as saying by Nanfang Daily.