Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The hullabaloo about Song Hua Jiang restaurant selling dog meat in Singapore

An update from my earlier post "Why is a Singapore restaurant selling dog meat?" on 9 May 2011. Thanks to the readers who have left comments. Almost all expressed exasperation and disgust if this case is to be proven true. 
These couple of days, various media have also published this incident:

Is this dog meat?  (Photo by Amanda Phua, TNP)
Channelnewsasia reported that the Agri—Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) is in the midst of investigating the restaurant who is reportedly selling "braised dog meat, tofu and cabbage". AVA has taken samples for testing to ascertain the type of meat used.

For the uninitiated, under Singapore's law, any type of meat can only be imported from AVA-approved sources which have met public health and food safety standards. Authorities also ensure that local slaughter houses meet standards of safety and welfare in the treatment and handling of live animals for slaughter.  However, AVA adds that there is no premises licensed for the slaughter of dogs in Singapore. AVA said it accepts only internationally humane methods and "there is no known humane methods of slaughtering dogs for human consumption".

Anyone caught illegally slaughtering animals for human consumption or importing dog meat could be fined up to S$10,000 and jailed up to 12 months. 

The Temasek Review has reported about this case as well, adding that "the relentless influx of immigrants from mainland China has provided a ready market for dog meat in Singapore as it is highly unlikely that Singaporeans will touch the ‘exotic’ meat."  Temasek Review wonders if the import of 900,000 foreign workers on work permits into Singapore (as welcomed by MM Lee Kuan Yew) will push the sale of dog meat to be legalized one day in order to make our new Chinese immigrants feel "respected and welcomed".

The Animal Concerns Research and Education Society, Singapore(ACRES) has also voiced their concerns on their Facebook page about the Song Hua Jiang Restaurant and the conflicting responses from its owner Mr Song, a Chinese national turned Singapore citizen, based on his interviews with the Straits Times and AVA. Here is what ACRES commented.

1. First the restaurant owner says the 2 dog meat dishes are “actually made from pig innards”.

2. He then confirmed that he has been selling “dog meat” dishes as he wanted “to offer something unusual to customers”.

3. Then “he stressed that he explains to any customer who orders the dish that it is not real dog meat” even though he already said he wanted to “to offer something unusual to customers”.

4. Again, to confirm that he was not selling “dog meat”, he conveniently said that “the Chinese text for that dish had a typographical error and the English translation was inaccurate because he was not familiar with the language.”

5. “To correct the typo and wrong translation, his staff had pasted stickers on the menu to block out the erroneous text some time ago but perhaps some of the stickers had dropped off”.

6. He then added that “he did not remove the items from the menu because he wanted to promote an alternative for Chinese nationals who enjoy dog meat”.

7. Lastly, he said “I don't encourage people to eat dog meat because I think that is cruel and inhumane. I am trying to provide an alternative for people who have a taste for the dish”.

Sounds like a very confused man to me. In any angle, he is obviously shooting himself in the foot. Mr Song has lived in Singapore for 8 years with his wife and a 14-year-old daughter. They are now Singapore citizens but he says he would consider moving abroad after this incident.

ACRES said that they have made a police report and appealed to the Commercial Affairs Department to investigate into this case. So it is now up to the restaurant. ACRES said that the restaurant "can admit that they served dog meat and be prosecuted by AVA or they can admit that they served pork for a dish they labelled as dog meat, thereby cheating their customers and be prosecuted by the Commercial Affairs Department."

Coincidentally I had also posted earlier on 19 April 2011 about how "Activists save Chinese dogs from cooking pot". A group of 200 activists and animal lovers in China had recently managed to stop about 500 dogs (which were stolen or caught off the streets) from being sold to restaurants, to be slaughtered and served as dishes. The animal protection group reportedly paid 15,000 yuan ($17,600) to have the dogs released. I am utterly disgusted  and outraged by this episode and I certainly hope nothing of this sort will ever happen in Singapore in the future.

A worker in China serving up dog meat
Chinese animal lovers release the rescued dogs at the China Animal Protection Association.  Photo: AFP
A Chinese animal lover consoles one of the dogs. Photo: AFP
I hope we get a reply from the authorities soon. Oh, in the meantime, please keep a close watch on your dogs at home. 


  1. How can they bear to kill those cute dogs!
    Aiyoo!! =(

  2. I can't bear horrendous to me. thanks for bringing light to this issue.


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