It may be an old stereotype, but seems it’s true: Chinese people do eat dogs.
Indeed, according to an undercover investigation done by animal rights group Animal Equality, around 10 million of them every year.
This is the unpleasant little surprise that awaited me on my Facebook newsfeed this morning. Between the butterflies and flowers and inspirational messages; between this and that person telling me some life inanity – bam! Photos of dead puppies. Enough to make you choke on your oats.
The basics are these:
· Every year, an estimated 10 million dogs and 4 million cats are killed for their meat and fur. Surprisingly, they are not being killed for an imagined ability to make your penis bigger.
· These animals are either bred for the purpose or picked up as strays. Some say that pets (yes, dogs are popular as both friends and food in Asia) are stolen as well.
· They are kept on “fattening farms” until they reach slaughter-ready weight.
· Here, they live in cages and are fed a poor diet. They are subjected to a life of physical and psychological discomfort – some resort to cannibalism.
· At the slaughterhouse they are kept in dark, unventilated rooms until their deaths.
· Their slaughter is cruel and painful. Beaten several times until they are semi-conscious, then stabbed in the thorax and skinned.
I do not wish to go into a gory and sentimental description about their pleading eyes and dying whimpers – the comment trolls will no doubt accuse me of being a weepy sentimentalist before saying something like yum – dog and bacon burger for breakfast!
Answer me this: Are you against the dog meat trade? I bet you anything you answered “yes” immediately. Of course you did – you’re sitting in your office, looking at a picture of a Pekingese on your phone and thanking your lucky stars that little Rufus ended up in a basket and not in a burger. Why? Because you know Rufus and he is a part of your family.
Now answer me this: What are you having for lunch? Toasted ham and cheese! Yummo!
Bear with me. I know you can tell where I’m going with this. And no, despite what you think right now, I’m not a militant vegan freak. I don’t eat a lot of meat, but I do eat some. And I love me some milk and eggs.
What I want to do is make you think about something. Yes, the dog trade in Asia is abhorrent. No denying that. But are we not hypocrites for condemning a practice like this when we blindly support the slaughter and death of millions of other animals right here?
I remember reading about Japan’s whaling practices a while back – the author quoted a speaker in favour thereof as describing the West’s opposition thereto as misguided sentimentalism. The only reason, he said, we’re opposed to eating marine mammals is that it does not form part of our culture. In essence, he was challenging the difference between marine mammals and farm animals.
If asked about the dog meat trade, I’d bet good money that a speaker from China may use the exact same argument.
And you know what? It’s a good argument.
If we allow ourselves to be honest for a second, there really is no difference.
Our only reason for gasping at dog and dolphin burgers is a sentimental attachment. If you allow yourself even an hour to do some reading about the lives of those we eat so happily, I daresay you’ll agree with me. Cows – social creatures who have best friends. Pigs – smarter than your dog. And here’s the shocker: Chickens – smarter than your toddler. Yes, I just insulted your toddler. Deal with it and Google it.
Something else we tend to be smug about is how much more “humane” and “advanced” our killing methods are compared to the Japanese dolphin slaughter and Chinese dog slaughter. I used to be smug about this as well. Yum! Steak! And to think that the cow was completely unconscious and didn’t even realise that it was being killed! Man, was I wrong. There is no such thing as a humane slaughterhouse. We are every bit as heartless as the dolphin and dog killers. Denying this is, well, denial.
But wait, you say. It’s just not the same. The hard to swallow truth is that it IS the same. There is no difference between you eating your bacon and Xiu Li eating his dog ribs…
A last thought: All opposition to cruelty is a step in the right direction. So go and sign the petition if you like. But next time you choose lamb instead of lentils, perhaps spare a thought for the innocent death you are really supporting.
Petition and videos of the dog trade: http://www.voicelessfriends.org/
Some footage of our hypocrisy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TFdHAnpTYI
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