Saturday, March 27, 2010

On the subject of dog meat

This is a pretty touchy subject between many different people, even within the same countries of origin.

CNN just did a story here in Guangzhou about it, and there doesn't really seem to be a consensus of thought on the matter in the US nor here in China. To some people I talk to back in the US, it's no different than the concept of cooking chicken, and to others, it's morally outrageous.

The reason I bring this up is that this morning, when I was walking to one of my schools, I came across a man cooking a whole dog on a stick on the side of a back street. Refer to the following set of pictures:

 The artificial lake in the neighborhood; there are plenty of fish in it, but I'm not exactly sure what the condition of the water is.

Dog on a stick: I'll keep the thumbnail small and advise you not to click the image if you are sensitive to the subject matter. I originally just kept walking, but then decided to go back and snag a picture for the sake of blog-journalism...blogalism?

"Oh look, stuff!" - I took this image because I thought the man wasn't exactly thrilled with me taking his picture. Either that, or he just made a random noise and I misinterpreted it...

Chickens further down the street.

Now, let me be clear that I'm not here to make any judgments whatsoever on the people nor the culture. I think this is an extremely complex topic that involves a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, personal opinions, and many other elements. I'm not in any sort of position to address the myriad of issues involved with this subject, but I am willing to address the debate as to whether or not it is the same as cooking chicken or other, more common meats. 

Chicken and Dog Meat: Is There a Difference?
I think the root of this part of the debate is whether or not there is any sort of empathy that a person involved in the debate may have to one or more species used for their meat. Most people lack, what I assume, is a certain required amount of empathy toward common meat sources (chickens, cows, pigs, etc), so they are disinclined to pass up a tasty burger or other meat product nor would they express any objection toward its consumption. Most vegetarians, I assume, would have this level of empathy toward these meat sources and, if not express their objections, would at least pass up on that burger or other meat product. China kind of seems to be stuck in the middle right now in terms of their relationship with dogs: they are becoming more and more popular as pets, yet are still consumed as meat.

I don't really believe there is a "right" answer or a correct side-of-the-fence on the matter.

I do, however, believe there is a strong difference between meat from dogs and meat from chickens. It's simply based on the connection our race as a whole has to the different species:
First, chickens are not generally known as pets, but dogs are. However, the situation goes much deeper than this: dogs have a level of emotional and mental maturity that chickens do not; nor can chickens really express any emotion beyond distress (read: flailing wings and loud noises). Furthermore, dogs express a sense of loyalty specifically to humans that poultry cannot. Lastly, you just can't play a decent game of fetch with a chicken, can you?


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