You want to end the dog meat trade? Start by going vegan

If you want to end the dog meat trade and you are living far, far away from any country in which the dog meat trade exists, don’t fret. There are plenty of things you can do today to make a change in the world to help animals!

Saving animals starts on your plate, in your closet, and in your makeup bag. Every single day in every city in the world we have the choice wherever we are on the planet to not harm others. If you wouldn’t want a dog to be bred to be a meal, living a life of confinement and fear, why would you condone it for any other animal? If dog meat, bear bile, mink lashes, fur coats, horse slaughter, elephants in circuses, and baby seal clubbing repulses you but you are still participating in the suffering and death of other species every single day because you “can’t give up (cheese, bacon, or whatever other product of someone’s torture you are too obstinate to stop consuming)”, then you have no right at all to judge any other cultures for their abuse. However, you can be morally consistent and save animals in your daily life at home. No plane ticket needed. No donations needed to be sent to corporate welfare organizations based in New York or London claiming to end the dog meat trade oceans away.

We live in an age when protests about events happening on the other side of the planet are prevalent, but making changes in our own lives in our own communities tends to be ignored as a solution to some of those same problems. If you can’t be bothered to give up the corpse on your fork in Munich, Leeds, Dallas, or Auckland, how do you think your petitions and protests against the dog meat trade in countries you’ve never even been to will have even the slightest effect? If Koreans were stopping trucks full of chickens in Sydney, sending out endless online petitions in Korean to get Australians to quit eating chicken flesh, blowing up the internet with videos of random white guys hitting chickens and women in yoga pants eating Chicken Caesar Salads, the effect would be just as impactful as the current anti-dog meat campaigns are in Asia.

The male calf shot in the face and dumped in the trash for the dairy in your Starbucks latte in Glasgow, San Francisco, or Melbourne had the same exact will and right to live as any dog anywhere in the world killed for meat, and most people drinking those lattes would claim to love animals. Do you think your culture is superior because you’ve got stacks of books of animal welfare legislation regulating an industrialized system of unnecessary mass torture and murder? The average American eats three times the amount of animal flesh per year than an average Vietnamese person. If you think murdering triple the animals a year of this country means you have the right to point fingers because they eat a species you disapprove of in far smaller amounts, you’re kidding yourself. Forty-six million turkeys are killed every year just for Thanksgiving in the US, while five million dogs are killed every year in Vietnam. 88% of Americans eat turkey on just that one day, while a tiny portion of 95 million Vietnamese even consume dog at all. If you murder a turkey to “give thanks” with your family, are you not just as bad as someone on the other side of the world killing a dog for a soup?

You’re against animal abuse, but only eat cage-free eggs, right? How about cage-free bear bile? Free-range dog meat? Surely that’s all fine if you’re ok with breeding your chickens to be exploited with a few inches more space. After a miserable 18 months spitting out eggs no human needs to survive, egg layers are stuffed in trucks to be killed for a meal easily replaced with plants, no differently than those dogs you see packed into trucks in China which you enrage you. How do you feel about about humanely raised and slaughtered pangolins and rhinos? That’s clearly OK if it’s ok for a chicken, cow, pig, or duck, right? No moral gray area there, of course. If you want to judge an entire continent for their animal abuse, make sure your hands aren’t already dripping the blood of other species while you point fingers.

Look in the mirror. Look in your fridge, your shops, and your community. Who do you pay to harm animals? More importantly, who are you donating to who is complicit in the abuse and slaughter of trillions of animals every year when they claim to protect animals?

This is how to love all animals

This lack of morally consistent messaging is what animal welfare organizations use with great success to gather the masses of animal eaters behind their message and fill their coffers . They want to end the suffering of farmed animals without actually getting to the point: stop eating them. They would never tell you that to save dogs we need to just regulate the industry for higher welfare standards. They talk of ending gestation crates for pigs, but forcibly breeding them to have their babies raised to be murdered unnecessarily doesn’t seem to pose a moral issue for them. End battery cages for eggs, they say. How about maybe just not eating little cholesterol bombs resulting in 7 billion male chicks macerated every year on the day they’re born rather than investing in billions of dollars in infrastructure changes for egg farms? Animal welfare organizations are recommending that we give money to people who exploit and kill animals when a vegan lifestyle has been approved by all major dietetic associations for all life stages. The base of support of welfare organizations are people who are paid and are paying for the exploitation of animals, from the $10 a year individual donor to the corporations that sponsor programs in the million dollar range. They simply will not upset their donor base by telling you the truth and making recommendations to actually stop the killing rather than make you feel warm and fuzzy about continuing it. Happy exploitation pays handsomely.

When you donate and share posts and pages, look for organizations who fight for all animals, not just the ones animal exploiters are happy to pay for in order to keep their conscience clear. Organizations like the RSPCA, Four Paws International, World Animal Protections, and ASPCA support labeling for “high welfare” animal products. If you are in the section of the supermarket full of cut up corpses, and you see a sticker with an animal welfare organization approving of that product, that’s your first clue that maybe that organization isn’t doing such a great job or protecting animals after all. If they are not willing to put a high welfare label on a neatly packaged dog or lion corpse, it is odd that they would consider doing so for other animals with exponentially worse lives who are bred into existence for products humans have no nutritional need for. None of those organizations use the word “vegan” in any of their marketing either. They can approve the killing of animals we do not need to survive and slap a sticker of approval on their corpses, but they cannot manage to eek out that one little word that would encourage people to stop using animals for food, clothing, research, and entertainment because it would hurt the feelings of their shareholders.

Go vegan today. Save animals in your own home and your own community if you think the dog meat trade is the most horrible thing humans have done to animals. Do your research about who you are harming in your own daily consumption habits. Fight for animal rights, not welfare. It is easier than you think and the only thing you will regret is not doing it sooner.

Cat Besch is a ferocious animal activist, pig snuggler, amateur vegan chef, and runner who is the founder and director of Vietnam Animal Aid and Rescue-US.