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The practice of eating dogs is abhorrent to Americans; we shudder at the thought of eating dog flesh yet in Asian markets dog meat is a pricey delicacy.


September 2014

Stella Starr, Pet Perspectives


Dog butchering as Eastern dog eating delicacy, a dietary practice foreign to Westerners who keep dogs as pets, not as table food.It is not only the thought of eating a dog that turns my stomach, the inhumane treatment dogs endure before being mercifully slaughtered outrages the sensibilities of all westerners. {1}


Animal lovers feel bad about the “care and conditions” in feed lots before cattle become steak, in poultry farms before they are drumsticks, and worst of all, the horror pigs (on a par with dogs as regards cognitive intelligence) endure before becoming your favorite pork roast. Yes, it’s enough to make you vegan – or make your mouth water. But realistically, it is animal flesh that elevated the caveman into the giant brain of mankind today. {2} The difference is that “back then” mankind hunted for survival and we took prey from the wild.


Scientists still debate but between 18,000 to 30,000 years ago, humans began to domesticate the dog after admiring the wolf’s hunting skills and pack-family loyalty. The significance here is that Homo sapiens finally had enough brains to take notice of wolf civilization that already existed. I suppose it is a good thing they didn’t model themselves after cats! As the human race evolved more, we began to value sheep and goats as food, and finally, asses and elephants for their strength and trainability.


Here in America, the Eskimos and Native Americans were probably the most appreciative of dogs. By the way, I even searched the library and there is absolutely no documentation that either ethnic group ever ate dogs. That seems to be only an assumption based on other ethnicities’ tastes. Both Early American and European civilizations advanced intellectually as a direct result of using dogs to hunt, carry burdens, and nurture our ego as only a dog can do. While you are weighing the knowledge that wolves were already more civilized than the human race, you must acknowledge that no animal, in fact no human, worships mankind the way dogs do.


While I was researching this distasteful subject I came to realize that nothing is as loyal as a dog. I’m a cat lover but readily admit cats only stay with us for food, warmth, and comfort. If you starve or neglect a cat, horse, or elephant, it returns to the wild. Abuse your spouse, mother, or child and eventually that person will leave your side. Your faithful dog will not.


And yet we eat dogs.


I discovered that eating dog is forbidden under both Jewish and Islamic dietary laws (Wikipedia), but most Asians love dog meat. The Chinese eat the most dog meat (over 25 million dogs in 2012) followed closely by South Koreans at 12,000 tons per year. Even today, they don’t reject it because they love dogs so much. No, not at all, are only concerned about the spread of rabies.


In 2014 officials from Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam agreed to consider (not necessarily adopt or abide by) a five year moratorium on the commercial transport of dogs from one country to another. The practice of eating dogs has gone on for centuries so I don’t think the law will “end the inhumane trade in dogs for meat.” But if a moratorium or cultural shift on eating dogs can be maintained, even if due to the risk of rabies transmission, we will sigh with relief. In Thailand where the dog-meat trade is already illegal, an agreement to better enforce regulations was made.


Kelly O'Meara, director Humane Society International said: "Rabies and other communicable diseases, such as cholera and trichinosis represents a major public health threat throughout Asia. An end of the trade will help human health and help save lives of countless dogs who suffer in the trade"


Everyone in our network certainly hopes so. Dr. Roberta Lee will rest easier. In her article {3} on the practice of eating dogs, she suggested that Americans boycott all products from those Asian countries. In an ideal world, that would have an impact but I suppose consumer demand for lower prices would take the steam out of any boycott.


As crazy as it sounds, the best we can hope for to protect dogs from being eaten is for rabies to continue to be a threat in those countries that eat dogs! EST 2002 © 149





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