Can I eat the innards of a dog?

The High Court recently dealt with a seemingly archaic issue of whether the innards of a dog are "dog meat", the consumption of which had been banned since the 1950s.

In 香港特別行政區 訴 張顯明 [2022] HKCFI 1417, a man was convicted of attempting to use the flesh of a dog for food. He was found to be dragging the carcass of a dog from a highway to the nearby pavement. While he first seem to be moving the remains from the road, a passerby saw him removing the innards, putting them into a plastic bag, and leaving with the bag.

The opinion of two veterinarians was that while the dog was seriously injured by colliding with cars, its innards were cut after death.

On appeal, one issue is whether the innards of the dog are covered by “flesh of a dog” under regulation 22(2) of the Dogs and Cats Regulations (Cap 167A), which prohibits a person from eating it.

While the word “flesh of a dog” is never defined in the statute, the court considered regulation 22(3) which reversed the defence’s burden for the offence when they were found to be in possession of “carcass” of cats and dogs in some situations. It is plain that “carcass” would include the innards and thus what is prohibited by regulation 22(3) should include innards as well.

Furthermore, the aim of the Dogs and Cats Ordinance was not only confined to preventing aminal cruelty but also to control the risk of rabies spreading due to the importation of dogs. If only the eating of meat was banned but the innards were still allowed, it would defeat the purpose of the legislation.

Clearly, the innards of dogs are also “dog meat” and it is no defence that the dog had already died. The conviction was upheld.

Can I eat the innards of a dog?
Gordon Chan avatar
Gordon Chan, Esq

Barrister of the High Court of Hong Kong. Member of the Bar Association's Committee on Criminal Law and Procedure. Specialised in medical, technology and criminal law.

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