China: The Killing of Pets and the Consumption of Dog Meat

November 18, 2021 Updated: November 18, 2021


China has an odd relationship with animals. For example, it is now illegal to walk your dog without a leash; yet, in almost every village, town, and city, it’s not illegal to consume dog meat. Across the country, even as rates of pet ownership increase, acts of animal cruelty appear to know no bounds.

In a recent piece for the South China Morning Post, the journalist Phoebe Zhang discussed the dread felt by so many pet owners living in China. “If I happen to catch Covid-19, what if my cat starves to death or gets killed while I’m in quarantine?” asked one woman, interviewed by Zhang.

Since early 2020, when the virus started to bring Chinese society to a halt, pets of coronavirus patients have been “forcefully killed by local governments as part of their strict virus prevention measures,” according to Zhang.

Of course, some animals, especially those that contract COVID-19, may need to be put down. But, when opting to kill an animal, particularly a pet, surely the owner should be informed first. Not in China.

Earlier this month, as Zhang noted, a resident of Chengdu, the capital of southwestern China’s Sichuan Province, learned that her cats were killed “after she was moved from her home into quarantine.” In September, a woman based in the northeast city of Harbin, tested positive for COVID-19. While being treated, her three cats were killed by community workers. More recently, while undergoing compulsory quarantine in a nearby location, a woman’s corgi was brutally murdered with a crowbar.

Many readers here, I’m sure, have a dog or cat (or a rabbit, horse, pig, snake, gerbil, etc.) that they are very close with. To some readers, perhaps, this pet is akin to a family member, a close friend, a companion that has been there through the good times as well as the bad. Now imagine coming home to find that companion dead. Not just dead, but slaughtered.

With the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), we should expect no less. After all, if the Chinese regime is willing to torture people in Xinjiang—and it very much is—then signing off on the mass slaughter of cats and dogs becomes a relatively straightforward task. Sadly, in China, animal cruelty comes in many forms. For many cold-blooded individuals, it’s a highly profitable business.

Epoch Times Photo
A dog looks out from its cage at a stall as it is displayed by a vendor as he waits for customers during a dog meat festival at a market in Yulin, in southern China’s Guangxi Province on June 22, 2015. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)

‘Blind Boxes’ and Cold, Calculated Cruelty

In September, as the journalist Mandy Zuo reported, more than 100 puppies and kittens were found abandoned in the city of Shanghai. Left to fend for themselves, these poor animals were dumped beside a petrol station; they appear to have been the victims of China’s “blind box” craze.

By ordering a “blind box,” a customer purchases a package containing unknown products. Often, the product happens to be a small animal; sometimes, as Zuo noted, the animal arrives dead. Squeezed tightly into a small box, the animal ends up suffocating. Even those that survive are regularly abandoned.

China is not a country known for respecting human rights; in fact, it’s known for violating them. The same is true for animals. If they’re not being squeezed into small boxes, animals can be found locked inside cages. Some of these animals, including cats and dogs, are killed, skinned, and eaten.

Jackson Galaxy, a cat behaviorist, YouTuber, and the host of the television show “My Cat from Hell,” is one of the biggest critics of the widespread animal cruelty occurring in China. He’s now calling for an end to the country’s cat and dog meat trade. As his in-depth investigations clearly demonstrate, dogs and cats are regularly bred for the sole purpose of being consumed by humans. Many others are kidnapped and eaten.

Although the Chinese regime upgraded the status of dogs from “livestock” to “pets” last year, as Galaxy warns, “there is no official ban on the consumption of cat and dog meat throughout the country.” Today, somewhat shockingly, “more than 10 million dogs and 4 million cats are forced to live in cages and suffer agonizing deaths for meat consumption in China,” according to Animal Equality.

The consumption of animals—both wild and domestic—is a common practice in China. Annual dog-meat-eating festivals are still a common occurrence. People literally gather to witness the mass slaughter of canines, before consuming their meat. Take the Yulin “Lychee and Dog Meat” festival, for example. This annual 10-day event involves the consumption of at least 10,000 dogs. Cat meat, along with fresh lychees and liquor, are also available, according to The Independent. Dogs may very well be considered “pets,” but they’re still considered a delicacy.

Galaxy’s quest is indeed a noble one. However, he has a fight on his hands, and one that will likely end in failure. In communist China, new laws count for little.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and essayist. His work has been published by the likes of the New York Post, Sydney Morning Herald, Newsweek, National Review, The Spectator US, and other respectable outlets. He is also a psychosocial specialist, with a keen interest in social dysfunction and media manipulation.