Don’t chow down on pet pooch hotpot, say dog lovers

By Li Ying Source:Global Times Published: 2012-2-17 0:03:34

Golden retrievers are beloved companion animals in Beijing. Photo: CFP

A restaurant selling a seasonal dish of dog meat hotpot was forced to remove its sign featuring a golden retriever yesterday, after dog lovers posted photos online and urged people to boycott the eatery.

Animal activists argue that selling dog dishes should be unacceptable, although the animal health supervision institute claimed it is lawful.

"I was so angry when I saw the image of a golden retriever on the lit-up sign advertising this restaurant," said a resident surnamed He, who is a dog lover.

He posted a photo of the advertisement on Sina Weibo Saturday and called for a boycott against the restaurant, while also revealing the restaurant's name, Kailaideng, its telephone number and address at No.93, Xi'anmen Dajie in Xicheng district.

Despite his love for dogs, He still said that he thought it was fine for the restaurant to sell dog meat, as it is not illegal, but that it was the picture of the golden retriever that had particularly incensed him.

"The dog meat is not from any golden retrievers but just Chinese 'rural' dogs," the manager of the restaurant, surnamed Cheng, told the Global Times yesterday.

"The image on the billboard was chosen by the advertising agency," she said, "We didn't know it is a pet dog until we were informed by a reporter who came to interview us the day before yesterday."

Under pressure, the restaurant has removed the controversial image, "and is now making a new one to replace it," Cheng said.

At the restaurant, characterized by typical dishes from Hunan Province, dog hotpot is only a seasonal offering provided after 9:30 pm in winter. The dog hotpot starts at 58 yuan ($9.2), or one can order one for 68 yuan with 500 grams of dog meat.

"Dog meat is especially suitable for winter dishes, as it can help reinforce people's  health and energy in cold weather," Cheng said.

Cheng said she had not felt they had sold fewer dog hotpots after the alleged boycott against her restaurant.

"In fact, not many people will order dog meat hotpot, even before this," she said.

A customer who was eating dog hotpot said he went to the restaurant after he saw the sign.

"But I didn't notice it was a golden retriever," he said, "anyway, it is just a dog," according to a report in the Beijing Morning Post Thursday.

"The dog meat was purchased by the restaurant from Langfang, Hebei province," said an employee from the Animal Health Supervision Institute in Xicheng, who conducted an inspection at the restaurant two days ago after receiving a phone call from a resident to report the suspicious dog meat.

"The restaurant showed the certificates to prove the dog meat had passed the quarantine inspection, so the actions of the restaurant are legal," the employee told the Global Times. 

A dog hotpot ad installation with a golden retriever in it, drew fire on a Xicheng district restaurant. Photo: Web
A dog hotpot ad installation with a golden retriever in it, drew fire on a Xicheng district restaurant. Photo: Web

However, Qin Xiaona, director of the Capital Animal Welfare Association believes that the remarks by the institute are untenable.

In Qin's opinion, dog meat is not included in the categories of edible animals in accordance with the regulations made by the Ministry of Agriculture, so it is wrong for the institute to make the claim.

"Dog meat trading is a black market activity filled with unlawful behavior," Qin said, "It is a high profit chain involving dog hunters and dog meat sellers, as there is almost no cost to start the trade."

"Most of the dogs killed for food are stray dogs or the watchdogs belonging to farmers in rural areas," she said.

In the run-up to the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, Beijing shut down many restaurants that sold dog meat dishes, but in recent years such restaurants have reopened, Qin said.

"Dogs, no matter whether they are pet dogs or not, are the close friends of human beings and should not be eaten," Qin noted.


Posted in: Society, Metro Beijing

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