“The Chinese eat everything with four legs, except tables; and everything that flies, except airplanes” is often said to describe China’s – not so selective – eating habits. One glimpse at Google Suggestions shows many people share that belief. Dogs, cats… the Chinese eat anythingthey can get their hands on, don’t they? Further down the list: babies. Clearly it is time for us to do some research.
First, we are safe to assume China will not allow its citizens to eat babies (they already have an one-child-policy to control population growth) so there’s no need to go there. Dogs however, are a different story.
Dog meat has been considered food in some parts of China since 500 BC, and is still on the menu today. Thought to have medicinal properties and overall good for your health, such meat it is especially popular during winter time. There are special dog restaurants, where one can pick from an extensive menu, including dog soup, dog steak, dog with tofu or a dog hot pot.
During the last decade, however, a movement against the consumption of dog (and cat) meat was born and has been growing ever since. Since January 2007, more than ten Chinese groups have signed an online petition against the consumption of cat and dog meat. Supporters of the petition have vowed to forever avoid eating cat and dog meat. This online protest received more than 42,000 signatures from the general public, and has been circulated throughout the country.
On 26 January 2010, the first draft legislation was introduced at a national level in China, supposedly to protect the country’s animals from mistreatment, including a measure to jail people who eat dog for up to 15 days. However, according to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the law prohibiting cat and dog meat could take as long as a decade to pass. Until then man’s best friend can still be on the menu, fresh from the pound.