Dog stew linked to salmonella; Korea asks, should dog meat be regulated?

The Wall Street Journal reports that in South Korea, soup or stew made with the meat of dogs is called "sweet meat" or "healthy soup."

But dog meat has recently been linked to a spate of salmonella and staph infections, drawing the attention of authorities — and bringing a long-simmering cultural dispute to a boil.

Though dog meat is officially banned in Seoul, enforcement is lax. It is served by an unsupervised industry of small farmers, butchers and mom-and-pop restaurants.

In March, Seoul’s food-safety office tied some salmonella cases to dog meat. Concerned, officials proposed designating dogs as "livestock," which would subject the meat to rules on sanitation. While there’s no timetable for a final decision, the agency is now making a formal survey of handling methods at restaurants known to serve dog.

People in the dog-meat industry worry their costs will rise under new regulations, weakening demand and tightening the squeeze on a business that’s already got an image problem.

Outside the capital, there are no restrictions on dog meat. A large outdoor market in the suburb of Moran, 20 miles south of central Seoul, is one of the centers of the trade in South Korea. About a dozen butchers line a row at the market, with a shop that sells herbs and spices for the stew at the end. The smell of butane, used to fuel burners to remove fur from dog carcasses, hangs over the market. Some butchers also sell goat, goose and chicken.

This in the country that is being gripped by Internet-fueled rumors about the safety of U.S. beef.

Our dog, Sadie, who likes to sit propped up, objects.