There is a hot pot restaurant down near Shanghaiist’s home, and every time we pass it we always frown at the dog hot pot poster on its front door. Not only don’t we eat dog (not every Chinese person eats pooches) but also the news recently reported in Shanghai Daily just worried us too much.
According to the story, thieves in the city have been stealing pet dogs and selling them to restaurants, especially during the winter when dog meat, cooked in a hot pot, is considered a good way to keep warm. Of course it could also kill you — many of these crooks kill the dogs with poison. For some reason, this isn’t mentioned on the poster near our house.
There are no local slaughterhouses that deal in canine products, so reputable restaurants order the meat from out-of-town licensed dealers, according to the Shanghai FDA.
But administration officials also worry that the lack of ready supply is causing some eateries to turn to the black market, which often relies on stolen dogs.
An increasing number of thefts are being reported in the city’s suburban areas, where watchdogs and pets are found in greater numbers.
Over the past two weeks, Shanghai Daily received about a dozen calls from residents in Qingpu, Jiading and Baoshan districts, saying they lost their dogs to thieves, some of whom carried weapons and stole the animals in plain view of their owners.
“Three watchdogs were stolen from our factory last winter and this winter. It’s common in our town,” said Dang Baoquan, a Jiading District worker. “They rode in on motorbikes — two or three at a time — sometimes armed with iron pipes. They stole our dogs after injuring them with the pipes.”
Other victims said their dogs were poisoned.
The story is actually not new to Chinese people. You can see earlier reports (in Chinese) here, here and here. These stories cover the illegal underground dog slaughter market from north to south China including Beijing, Guangdong, Guiyang and, of course, Shanghai. Some of the dogs can still be seen in the market with their tags on, while others are stray dogs that carry parasites.
Image from animalsasia.org.