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.