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It is most commonplace in Asia where it is often consumed for its perceived health benefits. There is particular concern here due to the high numbers of dogs being intensively farmed for dog meat, as well as the way in which they are treated during transport, sale and slaughter.
It is estimated that 10- 20 million dogs are consumed each year in China, although some believe the true figure to be far greater, 5 million in Vietnam, 2 million in South Korea, 500,000 in the Philippines, and an unknown but large quantity in Indonesia. Accurate data is impossible to ascertain as the dog meat trade is either illegal or unregulated wherever it is prevalent.
In China, for example, the dog meat industry is ubiquitous, with dog meat products readily available in supermarkets. A survey conducted by the Animals Asia Foundation in 2007 revealed that over 25% of supermarkets surveyed sold frozen dog meat and vacuum-packed dog-meat products.
The Dog Meat Industry in South Korea
According to government figures, more than two million dogs are raised on farms every year in South Korea. Data from the Dog Meat Farmers’ Association (DMFA) shows that approximately 8,000 dog farms are registered with the Ministry of Environment under waste management regulations and, of these around, 2,000 farms have more than 1,000 dogs. However, it is estimated that there are an additional 4,000 unregistered dog farms.
The supply of dogs from Korean farms is supplemented by dogs collected from the streets, both owned and stray, shelters, unwanted pets, small-scale breeders, and imported dogs from China. Dog meat products are sold as food or medicine in markets, restaurants and health stores, creating an industry estimated to be worth US$2 billion each year.