Thursday, October 13, 2011

I'll Eat Any Bitch!

A Dog Dinner.

Asians eat dogs, or rather, in some Asian cultures dogs are included in the pantheon of acceptable consumable animal meats. Some Asian cultures apparently abhor eating dogs - the Japanese (I believe) find the practice rather disagreeable, as do some Islamicized Asians, whilst others are pretty unapologetic about it. Somewhat less known, is the fact that opposition to dog-eating exists within those cultures that practice it. In fact, some nations that are recriminated for their chow-munching habits - such as the Phillipines - have legislation outlawing the convention.

Western revulsion for the practice is well documented and as always it is the western perspective that receives the most consideration and thus defines the practice as both disgusting and immoral. Of course, in an objective sense, eating dogs is no more or less repulsive or immoral than eating chickens or cows. Granted there is the very real issue of cruelty, but if the practice was legislated to ensure humane treatment for the animal then I fail to see how there are any objective reasons for people - any people - to feel shame about eating dogs.

At the root of the fuss over dog-eating, is a very real clash of values stemming from differing cultural norms and attitudes ultimately deriving from colonialist notions. The "issue" over dog-eating boils down to a single factor; western (mostly white) people think it's disgusting. This, of course, is just an opinion mainly from emotion, but white privilege is able to transform this mere opinion into a worldview that seems to serve as a foundation that informs the western mind about the character of Asian people. Even without notions of cruelty, it is somehow implied that eating dogs reflects a bestial quality inherent in the character of Asiatic peoples.

As a person who thinks that dogs are adorable enough to eat, I obviously share the cultural proclivity that sees dog-munching as undesirable. But for some reason I lack the arrogance to believe that I have the right to shame or pressure other people to think likewise. After my last pet dog died several years ago, I decided that I couldn't justify keeping another, because to do so would make me a hypocrite - particularly because so many people associate keeping a dog as a pet with humane-ness.

Many people in America treat their dogs better than they treat minorities, their employees, homeless people, or even their own elderly parents. For me, keeping a dog as a pet became morally unjustifiable precisely because I couldn't see how it is humane to have a clean, well-fed, well-housed dog, whilst everyday I would pass several smelly, homeless and hungry people on the street. I started to wonder why instead of trying to create cultural shifts amongst Asian societies that would see them motivated to not eat dogs, Americans didn't try harder to convince their own people to freely use whatever money they would spend on their pet dogs to better address the homelessness problem. A well-fed dog takes food out of the mouths of the homeless and diverts resources that might be better spent. Some dogs even have better health care than many Americans.

Amongst the many ironies of this situation is that dogs evolved to roam in packs in the wild outdoors, hunting or scavenging for food, and not to be kept as ornaments for the pleasure of man. Keeping dogs separated from their own kind, and indoors where they are unable to exercise their natural instincts, could itself be argued to be somewhat cruel. As it stands, American society is more comfortable with the reality that homeless people roam the outdoors, sometimes in packs, and scavenge for whatever scraps they can find amongst the shit and bloodied tampons of the humane, whilst society's pet dogs leave their warm, dry homes and bound along defacating and urinating under the canopy of overpasses and hidden corners of the buildings where the sleeping places of the homeless might be found.

The moralistic brow-beating of Asian cultures for their dog-eating habits, is simply one of many ways that western culture gets to feel smug about its own superiority. Yet, I see nothing inherently more moral or even more desirable about a society that has an entire industry devoted to elevating the comfort of dogs (who incidentally are happy to eat cat's shit!) over that of homeless and poor people. Now, it could be argued that Asians aren't particularly nice to their homeless masses, but -if true, and I'm not saying it is - this just means we are more honest. We're not the ones with pretentions of humane superiority!


  1. And despite being a dog-eating and communist (you know = evil) country. There were enough pressure gathered to stop a 6 century old dog-eating festival.

    I wonder if anyone is actually willing to get them credit for that?

  2. That's an interesting article. But, no, they won't get credit for changing their attitudes.