Is it Legal to Eat Dog?

In some parts of the world you can find cat and dog meat on restaurant menus. In the US, however, eating this kind of meat can get you into some trouble in certain states. If you have ever asked yourself, “Is it legal to eat dog?” either because you are disgusted or just curious by the practice (and hopefully not into K-9 cuisine), this article will give you some insight.

States Where Eating Dog is Illegal

It is actually legal to eat dog in 44 States in the US. Granted, you will not find dog on the menu of your favorite restaurant. However, in most states, it is perfectly legal to humanely kill and eat a dog and serve it to your neighbors. The other six states have taken a hard line on the subject. Here is a brief overview of each state’s stance where eating dog has become illegal:

Virginia: VA has made it illegal to unnecessarily kill an animal. They made an exception for “farming activities,” but, since dogs are not considered farm animals, you will get into trouble for trying to serve dog at the next pot luck.

New York: NY has made it illegal to “slaughter or butcher domesticated dog” to create food for human or animal consumption.

California: CA specifically made it illegal to eat an animal that is “traditionally” kept as a pet. If you eat such an animal, like a dog, you will be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Georgia: GA has made a law to prohibit the sale of a dog or cat for human consumption.

Michigan: MI law does not make is explicitly illegal to eat dog, but, the sale of both dog and horse much be plainly labeled. Failure to do so would be considered a misdemeanor.

Hawaii: In HI, a new Bill was introduced that makes it illegal to kill and sell dogs or cats for the purposes or human consumption. Right now, it looks like the Bill is on hold with an actual effective date of the year 2100.

Other Cultures Around the World

Dog meat can be found in cultures around the world. It is legal to eat dog in China and South Korea. Other counties such as Indonesia, Mexico, Philippines, Polynesia, the Arctic, Antarctic and Switzerland eat dog on a regular basis.  In fact, millions of dogs are eaten in these countries.

According to South Korean tradition, if you scare a dog before it dies, the meat becomes tenderer. Because of this old tradition, dogs are sometimes tortured before they are killed. Many are trying to stop this cultural tradition claiming that civilized society can no longer justify such actions.

CNN actually ran an article not too long ago raising arguments for why dogs should be eaten. Click on the link below to hear the author’s justification.

We, of course, do not endorse any behavior that is either illegal or inhumane.

The argument for eating dog


Matt Pfau is an attorney and founding partner at the law firm Parry & Pfau. Matt has a background in business consulting, estate planning, business start-ups and bankruptcy and is licensed to practice in both Nevada and California. A partner in the firm Parry & Pfau, he can be reached at 702-912-4451 or [email protected].

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