Page last updated at 12:44 GMT, Friday, 11 July 2008 13:44 UK

China bans dog from Olympic menu

Man enjoys noodles at a restaurant in Beijing
Dog meat is eaten by some in several Asian countries

China has ordered dog meat to be taken off the menu at its 112 official Olympic restaurants in order to avoid offending foreign visitors.

Restaurant workers are advised to "patiently" suggest other options to diners who order dog.

Any restaurant found violating the ban would be black-listed, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Dog - known as "fragrant meat" - is eaten by some Chinese for purported medicinal properties.

The ban, issued by the Beijing Catering Trade Association, forbids all designated Olympic restaurants from offering dog and urges other food outlets to remove the meat from menus.

"If a customer orders dog meat, restaurant staff should patiently suggest another entree," said Xiong Yumei, deputy director of the Beijing Tourism Bureau told Xinhua.

Act of respect

The measure has been implemented to "respect the habits of many countries and nationalities," the Beijing News quoted the municipal food department as saying.

The BBC's James Reynolds says the ban is one of several steps taken by China to avoid foreign visitors being amused or offended by local customs.

Authorities have also told people to queue up politely, to smile and not to spit on the streets.

During the 1988 Seoul Olympics, South Korea also banned doggie dishes from menus. Officials invoked a law banning the sale of "foods deemed unsightly".

Dog meat is eaten in some other Asian countries, including Vietnam, the Philippines and Laos.

Read some of the comments on this story:

I was in China between March and June of this year. I heard about these bans, but I did not see any results from them. People still spit everywhere (not just on the streets) and queue chaotically. I don't think these changes will actually occur. There are ust too many people to try to change, and I don't think the older generation has any interest in "impressing" foreigners. I also had dog meat while I was there. I think it's reasonable to ask official Olympic restaurants to stop serving it, but I don't think others should. Some visitors may want to try it and they should be able to find it. If people are going to be offended when they visit another country, they should never have left their own country, that's just part of travelling!
Rachel, Washington, DC

This is ridiculous. Why should a country remove aspects of its culture to appease tourists? What is the point of travelling to another country if the experience will be no different to home. If they're that worried, why not just license only McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway, Bella Italia or other international chains so nobody can possibly be offended?
Edward Halliday, UK

It really makes me mad to hear of people eating dog thinking it's making them more healthy!! What a stupid thought. They want to get real and be educated that a dog is a pet and not for eating. I've seen clips of how they rip off the dogs' fur whilst the dog is changed up and still alive. DEFRA you should all start to see what happens in this world - I could quite easy turn veggie!
Jojo, Manchester

What utter PC nonsense that the Chinese are denying their own cultural traditions. Will this mean we won't serve pork or beef at the London Olympics? Or meat together with milk? Or alcohol? Or a million other dietary options? Those who don't like dog aren't obliged to eat it, after all.
Brent Longborough, Abersychan, Wales

This ban should be permanent.
Herbert, Phoenix, AZ USA

What is the use, after the Olympics it'll go back on the menu.
Philip Morais Jr, Hong Kong, working in Shanghai

I think it's sad that the government feels that they must suppress their own culture to please that of others.
David H., Hamilton, Canada

Very strange that China is feeling shy of its own culture. If the locals eat dogs, why should the foreigners feel concerned?? I am myself a vegetarian, but this decision to ban dog meat is indeed stupid.
Abhay Dang, Delhi, India

I find it amusing that even China is being politically correct now. They have banned dog to respect the habits of many nationalities, but eating dog is a Chinese habit, they shouldn't have to take it off menus. Anyone offended by people eating dog should simply not be in a restaurant in China, however i don't think anyone would be offended, this is just another example of political correctness gone mad. Besides I've been to China and eaten dog, it's rather nice!
Daniel Johnson, Chichester, England

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific