Legal to eat your dog?

This came up in conversation last night, and now I am curious.

If one decided that one really liked dog, and proceeded to breed/obtain dogs for the purposes of killing and eating them, would that be legal? I’m thinking it would violate animal cruelty laws, and said so, but really I don’t know for sure.

If it’s not legal, then what differentiates dogs from, say cows or chickens or deer? Legally, I mean.


Don’t say no. You can legally or non-legally eat dog depending on your local and national laws. I don’t know why you want to eat dog, but if you move to an appropriate location you can have at it legally.

I’ve eaten dog, at a local party while I was a US Navy officer stationed in the Philippines. It wasn’t as disgusting as I thought it would be. I don’t feel guilty about sampling it, but I’m not eager to repeat the experience, either.

I suspect that in most US states breeding dogs for human consumption would constitute a violation of the animal cruelty laws, even if the statutes didn’t specifically make it illegal. The taboo against the practice in the United States strikes me as just being too strong to not expect a prosecution on those grounds.



But it’s an interesting question - as the OP asks, what is it that legally differentiates keeping dogs for meat from keeping, say, cows or pigs or chickens for meat?

Are dogs, cats, guinea pigs etc specifically protected by law, or is it that “food animals” are specifically exempted from a law that generally protects all animals from being eaten?

It’s a question that comes up with regularity on this board. You can try a search if you think it will do you any good.

Are there any laws that make dogs different from chickens or cows (which can be legally raised and eaten)?

Just search on the user ThaiDog, many recipes are even included :smiley:

Missed the window:

ETA: Read the cite on the provided wiki link. That is only for California and it does say you cannot eat animals commonly kept as pets (which makes me wonder why PETA or some other granola association hasn’t started keeping them to bend the law and force vegetarianism)

A statute, or in common law jurisdictions caselaw, which makes the practice of raising dogs for human consumption illegal.

Really, to answer this question at all, you’d have to look in the statutes and caselaw of the particular country (and in the case of federal states like the US, the state or provincial statutes and caselaw) for the particular jurisdiction that interests you. For one example (which I can give you because the Wikipedia article on “dog meat” cites it), in California is is explicitly made illegal by statute to raise/slaughter dogs (or any other companion animal) for food:

California Penal Code, §598b

If you’re curious about the legal provisions in other states/countries, it’d probably be best to consult a lawyer or a humane society/animal protective agency in the state/country which interests you.

ETA: I’m expressly quoting the cite Sapo refers to. I’ll leave it there in case anyone wants to search online statutes for your particular state/country; it’ll give you an idea of the legalese you might want to search on.



It’s illegal in Ohio, too:

*Rev. Code 959.131. Prohibitions concerning companion animals.

  (A) As used in this section: 

  (1) "Companion animal" means any animal that is kept inside a residential dwelling and any dog or cat regardless of where it is kept. "Companion animal" does not include livestock or any wild animal.... 

  (B) No person shall knowingly torture, torment, needlessly mutilate or maim, cruelly beat, poison, needlessly kill, or commit an act of cruelty against a companion animal. 

  (C) No person who confines or who is the custodian or caretaker of a companion animal shall negligently do any of the following: 

  (1) Torture, torment, needlessly mutilate or maim, cruelly beat, poison, needlessly kill, or commit an act of cruelty against the companion animal;.... *

I suppose you could argue that killing and eating a dog was not “needless” if you were starving or it was an important part of your culture, but I doubt you’d get far with that. In any event, I could find no cases in which anyone was criminally charged with killing and eating a dog in Ohio.

For the purposes of this thread, let us assume that the killing would be done in a humane way in line with what is normally done to pigs et al by conscientious farmers.

Plus the law in California explicitly mentions using the animal for food. I guess you could eat a roadkill dog in Ohio since the crime would be in killing it, not on using it for food.

As I read the state law, yes, that’s true. Some local ordinances may prohibit it, though.

So, under California law, is it permissible to eat rabbit?

Texas law distinguishes between livestock and non-livestock animals (surprise surprise, what with all the cattle around). It is legal to kill your own dog in a non-cruel manner (you and Rover and your shotgun take “The Walk From Which Only One Returns”), and I haven’t found any laws that make the consumption of dog meat illegal. You might, however, run afoul of food safety laws if you gave or sold dog meat to someone else. The relevant statutes are at Texas Penal Code section 42.09 et seq. (42.092 is about non-livestock animals).

I think that this clause

takes care of that. Rabbits raised as livestock for food purposes, and rabbits lawfully killed under the game laws, may be eaten in California without fear of prosecution.

Of course, if you want to deal with the hordes of PETA members carrying torches and pitchforks on your front lawn, be my guest. :slight_smile:



Well, it’s duck season now anyway.

Wabbit season! :smiley:

And so it begins…

So you can’t eat a dog but you could kill and eat a coyote or a wolf, which are close enough to a dog to breed with them and produce pups that can have offspring too.

I don’t know if coyotes are protected, I guess most wolves you couldn’t hunt anyway.

Guniea Pigs have been kept for meat, like rabbits but that doesn’t seem to be a big market. Rabbit is not bad, considering how cute they are.

You have to burning it first.