A vendor waits for buyers beside dogs in cages at a market in Yulin city, southern China. The city has an annual dog meat festival every year on the summer solstice
It’s not uncommon to see people eating dishes made with dog meat in southern China, especially in the provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi.
The city of Yulin, in Guangxi Province, has an annual dog meat festival every year on the summer solstice.
Keith Guo, an animal lover working for PETA Asia and a native of Guangdong, southern China, said dog stew is common in Guangdong as well as the neighbouring Guangxi Province.
Mr Guo, 27, who has a passion for food sociology, explained that meat from dogs smells and tastes gamier compared to other types of meat, so chefs usually use spices such as chilli peppers and ginger to cover the odor.
As a result, dog stew is heavy and could warm up the diners’ body quickly.
‘For traditional Chinese medicine, any food that could warm up the body is considered beneficial,’ he said. ‘That’s also why dog meat is thought to be especially nutritious to the human body.’
Mr Guo added that the weather could get humid in southern China during winter, and according to traditional Chinese medicine, humidity could weaken one’s health. That’s why locals like eating warm dog stew to boost their immune system.
Mr Guo said he lost five pet dogs to dog thieves when he was growing up in Guangdong.
He condemned the thieves’ behaviour.
‘For the dog owners, the stolen dogs are their friends and family, and they shouldn’t be the food in someone else’s mouth.’