Canine Cuisine in China – “Fragrant Meat” CAUTION: Graphic Images

July 7, 2011

OK, this is something that I have a very hard time dealing with. Last month, June 2011, there was a week-long food festival in Yulin, China for which over 15,000 dogs were slaughtered, sauteed and served.

I’m a dog person and, of course, I have an extreme emotional reaction to seeing dogs consumed as food.

As an omnivore, however, who just finished a dinner that included Baby Back Ribs it feels hypocritical to pass judgement. Intellectually, I find it hard to condemn. In our culture we see dogs as companions, not livestock. Dogs live in our homes with us, cattle do not. If you do any research at all into current “factory farming” techniques the treatment of pigs, cattle and chicken will likely turn your stomach.

Even if you’re a vegetarian dog owner, I think you will ultimately have to admit that the selection of what animals to eat is a cultural, not an ethical issue. For another point of view on this issue, you need to read the work of Peter Singer. He makes a very strong case that all meat consumption world-wide should be abolished.

Some research has shown that pigs have an intelligence that is almost the same as dogs, though they are not as trainable. When speaking about the emotional lives of animals, is it conceivable to you that pigs don’t experience fear as they approach the slaughter house? Yet very few of us think of this when we consume crunchy, delicious bacon.

I also believe there’s something here that relates to compassion fatigue. The image of one starving child is heart-wrecnching. The news that 40 people have been killed by a suicide bomber in the Middle East is just another depressing statistic. I think this is just part of how we are hard-wired, neurally.

Is it necessary to eat dog as a source of protein? Probably not. I’ve read that the world produces enough food globally to feed the planet, the problem is with distribution (and over consumption in the developed world).

Let me be perfectly clear: I’m against eating dogs for food. But I don’t think those who do are less evolved morally, or somehow deficient in compassion. Let me know your opinions/conclusions in the comments section.

– Canine images (top and bottom) from the UK’s Daily Mail.


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