Let’s eat some dogs

Campbell Live had a slot tonight about dogs being stolen, mistreated and killed for human consumption in the Phillipines. They profiled Elly Maynard working with Sirius and the Animal Kingdom Foundation trying to help the dogs – and considering the conditions the dogs were in, good on them.

However, the main thing that Elly Maynard was saying was “Dogs are not for human consumption”. Her primary motivation did not seem to be preventing suffering (although she was obviously very concerned about that), but that eating dog or cat meat was intrinsically wrong.

But why?

Why should dogs (or cats, or whales) be considered cuddly and cute animals that we cannot eat, when sheep, cows, pigs etc are fair game?

It isn’t intelligence – pigs may be more intelligent than dogs, yet we eat them. It isn’t diet, for we eat plenty of carnivorous fish, while pigs and chickens are omnivores and we eat them, and dogs can live on a vegetarian diet. It isn’t Biblical statements about what food is ok, because modern society rejects the Bible and even most Christians believe the Jewish food laws no longer apply. It cannot be disease, for although you can catch rabies from eating a stray dog that should be no problem if they were farmed.

It can only be the Western perception of cats and dogs as pets (as that is the role we have grown up with them as), and sheep and cattle as meat.

So who is a New Zealand animal lover to tell the Filipinos they cannot eat dog, provided they farm and kill them humanely? If Hindu Indians were to come here and say we can’t eat beef we wouldn’t stand for it, so why do we tolerate Westerners trying to force their views on other cultures?

I would be very interested to hear your thoughts. Have any of you tasted dog?

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8 Responses to “Let’s eat some dogs”

  1. nandor Says:

    Hi Samuel

    Actually a number of European peoples traditionally have eaten dog (parts of Switzerland, Germany, I forget where else) and of course Polynesians used to eat dog, so its not just an Asian thing.

    I think the issue is cruelty. Regulate the trade and enforce animal welfare standards, as we do with cows and sheep here (although not pigs or chickens, which are treated appallingly). If the trade is banned, as Sirius is trying to do, it will drive it further underground and virtually ensure that the conditions for the dogs deteriorates even more.

    As a vegetarian of course I thinks its better to avoid the flesh of animal corpses, but each to their own I guess.

  2. Mr Dennis Says:

    Thanks Nandor, your post on this is very good and I completely agree with you – here’s a link as you didn’t put one in yourself.
    http://rasnandor.blogspot.com/2009/02/culinary-imperialism.html

    In this case regulations are certainly a far better idea than a ban, forcing the trade underground where dogs have to be smuggled in even more appalling conditions because you can’t transport and store them comfortably in the open.

  3. kiwipolemicist Says:

    And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.”The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given.”Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.”Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.

    Genesis 9:1-4

    On that basis I have no moral objection to eating anything that has been killed as painlessly as possible and bled (that means no black pudding). This is confirmed in Acts 15:29.

    Of course, moral objections and aesthetic objections are two different things :) I’d prefer not to eat dog, but if I had to I’d be grateful for the food. I’ve eaten soup with the legs and feet of several chickens sticking out of it, but I can’t recall anything really gross.

    The Bible doesn’t have a lot to say about animal welfare, but Prov 12:10 says

    A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal,
    But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.

    and Deut 25:4 says

    You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.

    The latter means that an ox should be allowed to snack whilst it it separating grain, i.e. he should not suffer hunger whilst working. This works both ways, i.e. the farmer gets greater productivity when the animal is properly fed, just as a modern dairy farmer gets more milk when he cares for his cows. For images of what is referred to in Deut 25:4 see http://christianclassicalliberalist.wordpress.com/threshing-floors/

    Those images are intended to accompany this post:
    http://christianclassicalliberalist.wordpress.com/2008/10/27/go-to-the-ant-o-classical-liberalist/

    All quotes from NASB.

  4. Mr Dennis Says:

    Mark 7:14-19 (ESV)
    “And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)”

    As it is impossible to drain all blood out of any meat (put a raw steak on a plate and you’ll find plenty of blood coming out) I have always taken Genesis 9:4 to mean you cannot eat any meat raw (ie “with … it’s blood”), but not that you cannot eat cooked blood, because that is physically impossible unless you go vegetarian. I therefore have no objection to black pudding, as it is cooked, and very tasty! :)

    But this is certainly an issue where Romans 14 applies, especially verse 7:
    “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

  5. Ozy Mandias Says:

    It is just a cultural thing. For some reason we in the West think our ways are better. I agree that it is most probably due to the fact we keep dogs and cats as pets and it is therfore seen as wrong.

    I would try it though. Always enjoy tasting new things, although not to the level of FEAR FACTOR. Tried bat in Vanuatu once and that was nice.

    To take things a step further read an interesting book in the holidays about a plane crash in the Andes. There was a book on the survival story and the movie was called Alive. IN it they had to eat human flesh to stay alive and a large part of the book is based on this issue. It is a completely different issue when you are doing something for your survival rather than shopping for dog at your supermarket!!!

  6. Joey Hill Says:

    It probably is the pet thing. My daughter who is now vegan would never eat rabbit or duck for the reason they could be pets and she’s now vegetarian, nearly 16 and been that way for a year. My parents farmed, and some of the lambs they bottle fed remained pets – I remember a couple of the sheep would trot up to my mother in the paddock, and she could sit there and put her arms around them – and no way was she going to have those guys for dinner. If it was survival, I guess I’d eat cat and dog. I’d certainly try not to – can’t think what realistic situation I’d be in that there was no edible plant here in NZ to consume. If I had to kill the animal, again, that’s a different story, too. But in the Phillipines – doesn’t the fact they have to steal the dogs indicate it isn’t quite acceptable?

  7. Brian Says:

    Never had dog and wouldn’t think of eating them.
    It is rumored that the American Indians did.

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