'Barbaric' dog meat trade condemned by MPs
The government is to write to UK embassies in countries where dog meat is consumed urging them to step up efforts to push for an end to the trade.
Foreign Office Minister James Duddridge made the commitment in a Commons debate as MPs described the industry as "inhumane" and "disgusting".
Labour MP Rob Flello said other countries' traditions could not be a "smokescreen" for "barbaric" practices.
He called for action to stop an annual dog meat festival in south-west China.
The Lychee and Dog Meat Festival in Yulin in Guangxi province sparked huge protests in June, when 10,000 dogs were said to have been slaughtered. However, residents and vendors in Yulin said the animals were killed in a humane way.
Speaking during a backbench business debate in the Commons, Mr Flello said: "I don't believe that it is generally the role of this House to tell societies abroad what they should and shouldn't do based on Western sensibilities.
"But we cannot allow for tradition to be used as a smokescreen for practices that are barbaric, cruel, inhumane, disgusting - pick any word you can possibly pick and it will not come close to what we are discussing here today."
Dogs help humans "in many, many ways," he said: "But what dogs are not for is for the barbaric, disgusting, cruel, vicious, evil of putting them on somebody's plate in the most horrible ways that this House in its worst nightmares could ever imagine."
Conservative MP Simon Hoare expressed sympathy for Mr Flello's motion but but warned against telling other countries what to do.
"If we go down a cultural imperialist route, as desirable as the outcome might be, I am tempted to think that there would be a very fierce backlash against that," he added.
Promising to write to all ambassadors in the area to review what they are doing about the trade, Mr Duddridge said the government was committed to improving animal welfare around the world, including working with the Chinese administration, and was able "to have these difficult discussions across cultural divides".
He added: "We will continue to raise these issues in the most effective way possible - which isn't always megaphone diplomacy but sometimes speaking louder on these important issues is needed and where it is needed, we are prepared to speak."
Mr Flello's motion calling for "an immediate end to dog meat trade cruelty" and supporting the Humane Society lnternational's campaign "to end the dog meat trade by working with government officials", was agreed by the MPs but is not binding on the government.