China's rural communities return to eating dogs & rabbits as price of pork soars

Bon appétit.

Andrew Koay | October 22, 2019, 09:00 PM

If you're in rural China looking to get a quick meal, be prepared to try something different.

According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the rising price of pork has seen the return of a traditional dish.

While its appeal had previously started to wane, dog meat is now back on the menu.

It's one of the side-effects of a country-wide shortage of pork that has been caused by the African swine fever epidemic.

And as the price of pork continues to soar, discontent swells amongst low-income consumers, according to SCMP.

It also had the effect of diminishing consumer confidence in Beijing's assertion of the country’s bright economic future.

Prices more than doubled

SCMP reported that supermarket in the town centre of the Wan’an county in Jiangxi province was selling lean pork at 72 yuan (S$13.85) per kilogram, while pork ribs cost 74 yuan (S$14.23) a kilogram.

These prices were more than double what they were a year ago, and similar to prices for pork found in major cities like Shanghai and Beijing.

Apart from dog meat, rabbit meat has also seen a resurgence with that same supermarket holding a promotion.

Rabbit meat was selling at 43.6 yuan (S$8.38) per kilogram, nearly 17 yuan cheaper than normal.

The only pork item that was cheaper was a leg bone with almost no meat attached.

Pig numbers continue to fall

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an upturn in fortunes for lovers of pork in the world's largest producer and consumer of the meat.

According to CNBC, the outbreak of African swine fever saw China's pig population fall by half in the first eight months of 2019.

Further reductions are expected with the number projected to rise to 55 per cent by the end of the year.

Citing analysts at Rabobank, CNBC reported that China’s pork production will likely fall by 10 per cent to 15 per cent in 2020, on top of a 25 per cent drop in 2019.

Top image by Natalie Ng via Unsplash