My God! How could these people whom we thought were "civilized" practice such barbarism?! You take a look at Rover. He's playing with his rag toy and being his dumb self, but you love him anyways. No way you would butcher and chop him up. Yet that is just what people in the Korean peninsula, China, and other nations are doing. Such a savage custom! Dogs are intelligent. They are loyal. And they're just so good with some kimchi!
What recently brought the protestor-generated controversy to light again was the hosting of the World Cup in conjunction with Korean restaurants serving dog meat. Some of you might be scratching your heads: what's wrong with dog meat?
Self-professed animal lovers would love to point out how dogs are butchered and sold with cold heartedness. Countless movies have depicted dogs saving people's lives, and even capable of doing such intelligent things as playing basketball and chess. How could anyone bear to eat Lassie's friends?
Yet these are inherently Western values. I do profess that the idea of eating dog meat personally stirs some uncomfortable emotions, yet what is much more important here is not about eating dogs, but paying respect to foreign cultures and their practices.
The central argument is the ethics of eating dogs. They are more intelligent than most other animals, save perhaps pigs, yet most people interact with dogs much more often than cows, chickens, or pigs. Dogs are a familiar part of Western culture. Yet we must not superimpose our own standards upon unfamiliar ones. That is disrespect pure and simple. To turn the logic around, how would Americans respond if Hindus angrily demonstrated in front of US embassies demanding a stop to the butchering of their holy animals?
Yet most likely, the animal rights activist inside many of us will still remain unconvinced. "It's just not right: they're dogs!"
There are indeed many other flaws in the arguments against dog meat consumption.
Take, for instance, the objections to the very butchering of dogs. Protestors zealously display pictures taken of dog farms, yet there is a noticeable lack of links regarding the butchering of cows, pigs, chickens, and other livestock. The sob stories that these demonstrators eagerly post show that dogs are treated as any other livestock, and far better than the animals in many Western farms. These people bawl about how dogs are killed with either electric shocks or a butchering process similar to the one used on cattle. Simply because this process is available for all to see, it is ridiculed far more than the cattle slaughter that Western countries so depend upon. Also, on a tangent, if one would observe the process, on the basis of health issues this is far healthier to packaged beef as the dog meat is fresh and consumed soon thereafter. But I digress.
Another interesting point regarding the statistics of the nature of these protests show just how one-sided the front against dog meat consumption really is: Notice how the organizations explicitly attack the custom of eating dogs are all headed by Westerners, such as the AAF (headed by Ms. Jill Robinson), the AAPN (headed by Dr. John Wedderburn), and the quite ironic AHAN, or Asians for Humans, Animals and Nature (headed by a quite non-Asian Ms. Vicky Lynn). Nearly all of the Asian animal protection agencies such as the Hong Kong Cat Salvation Army (headed by Dr. W. T. W. Fan) do not explicitly attack nor even mention the consumption of dogs and such animals. Their purpose seems more to be one of keeping pet and semi-feral dogs off the streets for both the public's and the dog's benefit. Yet another interesting site is the Korean Animals site, in which a lone couple is attempting to set up a shelter for dogs "rescued" from the marketplace. Not surprisingly, there appear to be little domestic support for their crusade.
Finally, some protestors lodge complaints that dog meat consumption has no real nutritional value, or that dogs have "Dog meat is consider as the habit-forming 'sinister' one. Because protein structure of dog meat is similar to human protein." [Sic] The second comment is self-rebuking. The first is without base. There has been no large-scale research in Western nations on the benefits of dog meat, primarily due to the taboo surrounding the subject. Yet according to ancient Chinese and Korean medical texts, and proven by the anti-dog meat sites themselves(under "Chosun Ilbo Daily News"), dog meat is full of protein and good for relieving complications arising from a hot summer day.
Lastly, the logic of the proverb "To judge another is to judge one's self" can be easily taken into account: abandoned dogs in many Western nations are put into shelters in which they are poorly treated and more often than not killed and wasted. One cannot argue against this. Though food dogs in the Far East cultures ultimately share the same fate, they are generally treated far better (as people buying these dogs want them in good, not sick condition) and suffer far less.
To conclude, the consumption of dog meat is not for Western protestors and animal lovers to cry or judge. It is simply a custom that many people from Far East nations enjoy, not for ignorant zealots to ridicule. To protest against what people are eating for dinner, something that is 1) not endangered, and 2) has been a part of their society for thousands of years is simply disrespect for their culture and society.
My urging is thus: though I believe that the consumption of dogs is inherently wrong in my personal opinion and probably in yours as well, it is simply an issue we must tolerate and pay respect to our East Asian neighbors, and not one for us to judge by our standards and prejudices alone. Such outrageous disrespect has already been demonstrated; let us learn from the past.