While it’s presumed that dog meat consumption is scowled at in most Western cultures, it’s actually legal to eat dogs in 44 states in the United States.
The centuries-old dog-eating practice is also allowed in many other parts of the globe, particularly in some Asian and African countries where dog meat is considered a regular cuisine, just like beef and chicken.
Dog Consumption in the United States
Although it's widely considered taboo, the U.S. technically lacks a state law banning the consumption of dogs and cats. But the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act proscribed the ‘transportation, delivery, possession, and slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption.’
The act includes an exception for native rituals. Certain Native American tribes have a history or a tradition of eating dogs including the Kickapoo tribe in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.
In general, dog consumption is allowed in 44 states of America. The only states that have said no dog meat are California, Georgia, Hawaii, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia.
Dog Consumption in Asia
Dog meat consumption is most widespread in Asia, where almost 30 million dogs are killed annually for human intake only. China and Vietnam in Asia are the world's biggest and second-biggest dog meat consumers respectively. It’s estimated that 10 million dogs (and 4 million cats) are eaten in China every year, and the reasons for the practice are rooted in tradition and superstition.
Shenzhen and Zhuhai became the first and second cities in China to outlaw the consumption of dog and cat meat in 2020. And the Ministry of Agriculture in the country changed the classification of cats and dogs from livestock to human companion animals.
In Vietnam, almost every part of the dog is consumed, and many believe that dog meat brings good fortune and has medicinal properties. The Vietnamese dog meat trade processes nearly five million dogs per year.
Other Asian Countries where dog consumption is most common are South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.
Dog Consumption in Africa
Dog meat is consumed for superstition, ritual, cultural and medicinal purposes in about 20 African countries. Nigeria is the largest dog consumer in the continent, where they believe the meat cures malaria and boosts libido. Other dog-eating African countries include Burkina Faso, Ghana, Liberia, Central Africa Republic, Republic of Congo, and Liberia.
Dog Meat Consumption in Australia
Dog consumption in Australia isn’t explicitly illegal in most territories and states, except in South Australia, where it’s definitively prohibited to slaughter and eat dogs. Nevertheless, cat and dog meat sale is not permitted under various statutes which govern the production of meat all over Australia.
Dog Meat Consumption in Europe
Although eating dog meat is generally taboo in Europe, some of Switzerland and Poland's populations, mainly in rural areas, consume dogs in traditional sausages or jerky. The U.K. prohibit dog meat sale but seem to allow the killing and consumption of dog provided the animal is owned by the consumer and is slain humanely.