Eating Dog and Cat Meat is Cannibalism

The CNN columnist John D. Sutter has written a controversial article entitled “The argument for eating dog“.  It’s a long article and for me it rambles too much and doesn’t come to a conclusion really.  It is not clear and clean enough but I believe the point he is making is that it is illogical for people in the West to dislike the idea of eating dog and it is also wrong of us in the West to criticize people in Asia and the citizens of China and Vietnam who eat dog.  For me, incidentally, if we are to discuss eating dog we also have to discuss eating cat because they’re part of the same business and culture.

Note: I have deliberately not illustrated this article because I have decided it is unwise to show pictures of animal abuse. Those involved in the cat/dog meat trade abuse animals.

The reason why we don’t want to eat dog in the West is because they are companion animals and we see them as companion animals.  We are not meant to eat companion animals but be their companions instead.

Dogs and cats are seen as family members. People anthropomorphize their pets. They relate to them as people. I argue that to eat dog and cat meat is perceived at an emotional level in the West as an act of cannibalism, which is a no-no. It is one of the most unethical acts a person can participate in. This is the ultimate barrier to seeing dog meat as acceptable.

However, in the West we are happy to euthanise hundreds of thousands and indeed millions of unwanted dogs and cats annually.  If we are able to do that why aren’t we able to eat the animal afterwards?  It does make economic sense. Mind you the pet food trade would go out of business because they would lose their supply of raw ingredients. But the unethical behavior of killing millions of “unwanted cats and dogs” hints at the value or lack of it, which we place on companion animals.

We are in denial about the killing. We dress up the mass killing of dogs and cats by pretending it is “euthanasia”. Euthanasia is humane killing but almost every time, in reality, it is not humane killing as the animals are healthy. We like to play tricks on ourselves. It suits us.

At an emotional level millions of people are connected to their dogs as close family companions.  It is impossible for these people to envisage eating any dog because any individual dog, even though that dog may be a stray, may have had a human companion and caretaker at one time.  It would be wrong to eat a dog that was at one time a companion to a person.  We can see the connection between dog person and it is impossible to overcome that.  It is a complete barrier to the concept of eating the dog.

Advocates of dog meat say that if we eat chickens and rabbits etc., why can’t we eat dog?  Rabbits are also pets yet people accept far more readily eating rabbit.  We are rather illogical and it seems that the argument for not eating dog meat is based upon an emotional response rather than logic.

There are, however, complicating factors.  For example, in Asia where as mentioned dog meat is frequently eaten, the dogs are killed brutally before being prepared for the restaurant table.  That behavior indicates the callous nature of the people involved in the dog and cat meat trade.  That in itself is a good reason for criticizing Asians in Asia who are involved in the dog meat trade.

Another complicating practical factor is that in the West most unwanted dogs and cats are euthanized with a chemical injection and although I’m not sure that may prevent the dog from being legally acceptable under FDA regulations to be fit for the table.

The more humane argument is this: there is no humane way to kill an animal.  Killing is by definition inhumane when it is not done for humane reasons meaning to end the suffering of a terminally ill animal.

If that argument is accepted then the only way for people to behave more humanely in their relationship with all animals is to stop eating meat.  There are countless alternatives to eating meat nowadays.  There is no need for people to eat the flesh of an animal in order to ensure that we consume a balanced diet.  We eat meat because we have the habit of eating meat.  “Meat” is a euphemism for the flesh of an animal which indicates to me that we are guilty and wish to hide the way we inhumanely treat animals reared for our consumption.

The conclusion is that we should all be vegetarians or vegans then there will be no argument about whether we should eat dog meat in the West.

8 thoughts on “Eating Dog and Cat Meat is Cannibalism”


    ‘I argue that to eat dog and cat meat is perceived at an emotional level in the West as an act of cannibalism, which is a no-no. It is one of the most unethical acts a person can participate in.’

    For a change of pace, here’s a honey of a sample of moral relativism:

    ‘Some argue that the practice of infanticide . . . causes enormous psychological damage to children. Conversely. . .even. . .infanticidal mothers in New Guinea [eating] a child did not affect the personality development of the surviving children . . . there are good mothers who eat their own children.’

    [Roheim Geza, Psychoanalysis and Anthropology]

    ‘In my country India, VEGETARIANISM is a common topic of discussion, but don’t plants and vegetables have life?’

    There is no need for vegetarians to kill the plants that feed them. The escape hatch? Open-pollinated plants. Seeds from hybrid parents produce offspring that may surpass or fall short of the parent plant. O-P seed precisely reflects its parentage, and every vegetable raised in one’s garden can be allowed to go to seed and renew itself the following spring. (1) A gardener can save lbs. of his bean, pea and corn seeds to plant the following spring. (2)He can slice off three-quarters of any root vegetable (cabbage, too, which he doesn’t uproot) and poke the reminder back in the soil. The amputation will shock the plant for a couple of weeks, but it can recover and form a seed head in several months. (3) Much of a leafy green can be harvested from the outermost leaves on in toward the center, w/o killing the plant, which will go to seed, if left in peace.(4) Grains are harvested only when ripe – i.e., dead. When they turn from green to gold, they’ve fulfilled their destiny, and a gardener can save and replant thousands of their seeds. (5) Berries and fruit trees provide edibles for decades before they succumb to old age.

    Are plants stressed when you whack off pieces of them? The world-famed plant physiologist, Sir Jagadis Chandre Bose (died 1937), was not known for dabbling in the ‘paranormal.’ What he did, instead, was invent a device that demonstrated the neurological sensitivity of plants. When the apparatus was wired to a plant, the needle on the graph (which resembled an electrocardiogram) jumped sky-high when someone even walked TOWARD the plant with evil intent. Unless he has to buy them at the market, though, a person can live on plants w/o killing them.

    To push on w/this analysis:

    (a) A vegetarian diet may help, to some degree, in conserving water. How much it mitigates the suffering of animals is open to question. Euell Gibbons, the naturalist who wrote books about harvesting wild plants, drenched them in butter and cream, then sprinkled them with cheese.

    (b) Vegetables are not that palatable w/o the addition of animal fats, and vegetarians rely on dairy products to enhance their meals. Fats, moreover, are not only filling: they’re essential to health, which is why an array of vegetable fats are on the market. So is make-believe ‘milk’ made from soybeans, nuts and various oils — without, however, providing the same nutrition as milk. Further, their cultivation is soil erosive, and might be a runner-up to cattle in the water required. Finally, touch, their plantations are metastasizing the rainforests and starving the last of the orangutans.

    (c) Re the bovines who provide the dairy products, a cow is more reliably bonded to her newborn than many human parents are to their own. Yet her calf is torn from her at birth. End result? The calf, barely strong enough to stand, bleats in its fright, and the frantic mother bellows for days in her grief. Her calf is trucked to the abattoir, raised for veal – another agri-biz practice that beggars the language – or allowed to grow, away from its mother, into a steer or dairy cow. On smaller farms, with fewer resources, the calves are sometimes shot and left to lie in the pasture or bulldozed into a landfill.

    (d) If the world is faced with the necessity of going vegan within a few years(which many scientists foresee), agronomists may or may not be able to figure out how to fertilize vegetable crops in the absence of cattle, unless they intend to reduce the already comatose soil to moon-dust by continuing applications of petrochemical fertilizer.

    (e) Vegetables provide little or no Vitamin B, an essential nutrient ostensibly available in brewer’s yeast or vitamin tablets, if consumers believe in the efficacy of synthetic vitamins.

    (f) Carnivorous fur-kids will starve on tofu.

    (g) Pigs, calves, cows and chickens are practically people.


    Three days ago, on satellite radio, scientists aired the opinion that women can avoid post-partum depression by ‘placentaphagy.’ Most animals, they reason, seem free of depression. Why? Because they may absorb vital hormones in eating the placenta. Conclusion? Obstetricians and dieticians are concocting placenta ‘smoothies’ for human mothers. What they’re talking about here is placenta goosed up with a spritz of vanilla, a pinch of sugar and whirled in a blender. If that doesn’t ring a woman’s chimes as they’ve never been rung, they have a scrumptious recipe for ‘placenta lasagna’ with onions and cheese (perhaps parmesan). When the cows have vanished rom the scene, the cheese will be made from aged mother’s milk.

    Final thought for the day. The ‘Eat a Bug Cookbook,’ created by a cutting-edge chef and restaurateur. You can buy it from Amazon.

    Over & out.

  2. Cannibalism?
    It’s sick, twisted, inconceivable, mind-boggling, “stick my finger down my throat and puke” disgusting.

  3. Plants and vegetables are a different form of life, they don’t have beating hearts and faces, they don’t show us, or each other, love, they don’t as far as we know feel fear and they don’t try to escape from pickers as animals do in abattoirs there is a vast difference between harvesting fruit and vegetables to eat and killing animals to eat. A loose rule of thumb for a vegetarian that is east to live by is “eat nothing with a face” The best thing I ever did in my entire life was to go vegetarian.

  4. This is exactly who I turned veggie, no one can say they love animals, yet keep on eating them. Once veggie not only the thought of eating a domestic pet is stomach turning, as it always was for me reading about countries where it happens, but the thought of eating any flesh at all is totally abhorrent.
    Animals, birds and fish have feelings of pain and fear, we all have a nervous system, plants do not, they have no heart, no brain, no feelings….
    Animals will never be looked upon with respect while humans continue to see them as food.

  5. Michael i have visited Vietnam and Cambodia where dog and cat meat is eaten, although more discreetly since most foreign tourists are offended.In Hanoi dog meat is a popular dish among some of the locals.I did inquire about “Dog Meat” but no one guided me to a “Dog meat restaurant” but did confirm that some Hanoians ate dog meat.Also came across local Hanoians owning dogs as pets and taking them for walks in the park .In the West dogs and cats are kept as pets but at the same time millions are “KILLED(Euthanasia)” legally in so called “Cat Shelters” .Whats the difference between humans killing cats or dogs for food while others just kill them as “Pests” ? In my Country India “VEGETARIANISM” is a common topic of discussion but don’t plants and vegetables also have life ?Muslims and Jews avoid eating Pork meat and Hindu’s do not eat beef meat.Its a matter of different cultures having a different point of view to a controversial topic.

    • It is about culture. My theory in the article is that in the West where people relate to pets as members of the family it is akin to cannibalism to eat them. It is an emotional response I agree. The only way to totally correct perceived problems and cultural differences is for the world to convert to vegetarianism. It might well happen one day.


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