China Drafts Law Against Dog Meat
As reported in Reuters Oddly Enough http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60Q49T20100127 Chinese lawmakers are proposing a nation-wide ban on eating dogs. Given how cruel some of the dog meat customs can be including tenderizing their meat while still alive (nuff said about that horror) and cooking them while alive (again, horror) it should be lauded by us western folks who revere dogs as a valued companion and Man's partner in evolution.
Recently anthropologists have discovered that Dog was Man's close companion long before Homo Sapiens stood on the plains, and that this companionship may have been instrumental in our development as modern humans. As a person who cares for dogs herself, I can tell you that tales of using them as fodder for hungry bellies makes me cuddle my own canines more closely, quietly sorrowing for those beasts so abused.
Others in China oppose these plans for a ban. They complain that dog meat is a cultural heritage, a tradition, and eminently practical in a land so crowded by humans. Let's cast aside questions of Man's right to cover the land as thick as roaches on a Twinkie and simply examine this from their point of view. Dogs can be fed on scraps, like pigs. They are softer to touch than pigs, almost as intelligent, and breed at least as rapidly. Frankly, I'd hazard that aside from the soft fur, there's not a lot that separates dogs and pigs as meat animals. Either one is too intelligent to be treated as factory products and too sensitive to be brutalized through a butchery.
But so long as eating sentient animals is a feature of human menus, should the eating of dogs be banned outright? Perhaps instead a set of directives and expectations should be drawn up protecting dogs from the crueller aspects, allowing for quick slaughter and kinder care? Is there really some special reason why dogs and cats should be less edible than pigs, cows and rabbits? All of these are mammals like ourselves with their own sentient self awareness, the capacity to suffer, and a desire for life, like ourselves. What separates the very low intelligent of humans from the very high intelligent of other mammals except species preference? Some draw a line of what is edible at cannibalism (some not even there) while others will eat only the plant kingdom, and still others will eat only plants that are still raw and healthy when they arrive at the fork. We all have our reasons for choosing our diet, and to each of us, those reasons are eminently valid.
Rather, can we instead learn to value those living things that we eat enough to provide tender care? It would drive the cost of food quite high. We'd eat a lot less and have to provide a good deal more charity. Perhaps we'd even find ourselves thinking more deeply about the consequences of having offspring of our own. Is any of that a bad thing for our future?
The next time you raise a fork or chopsticks to your mouth, please let it be conscientious food.