Day 180: WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT EATING DOG?
I’m flying to the Philippines to try and intercept a truck full of stolen dogs bound for the illegal meat trade.
Bear with me. I’m not going to try and shock you – rather I want to tackle this with a bit of thought and compassion. But I don’t want to turn a blind eye, and if we care about animals we ought to look at it.
Some of those dogs may be stolen pets, all will be bound for the dinner table. This is a precarious and unlikely operation and it may come to nothing. But join me on this journey and let’s see if we can rescue a dog from misery.
But I have to be honest with you. The question I have in my mind as I set off – as a big dog lover – is a deeply uncomfortable one.
It is not: who are these bloody murderers?
But rather: What’s so bad about eating dog?
AH! (you say) MARTIN HAS DROPPED HIS FLUFFY MASK OF COMPASSION AND REVEALED THE MONSTER HE IS!
Not at all.
I suggest you ask yourself the same question. Let me explain.
The Philippines and eating dogs
The Philippines is one of a small number of places in the world where they have a cultural tradition of eating our so-called best friend.
They believe it gives strength and warms up the body. Yet the practice is illegal, except for traditional ceremonies, and consequently not as rampant as in Korea where they farm the pooches (and where they believe the meat cools them down….hmmmm) but it still happens. The fact that it is pushed underground makes it more murky and often more barbaric.
It’s easy to be horrified when you hear the stories that I’m not going to repeat here.
But if we care about all animals and still choose to eat meat (as I still do…rarely, but sometimes) we have to ask ourselves why we should be upset to eat dogs when we might otherwise eat pig or cow.
If I really love all animals then shouldn’t I either not eat any animal at all or at least eat occasionally eat dog?
It’s easy to be shocked by this suggestion but less easy to provide a coherent answer. Behind our thinking on this lie some cracks in our logic – and compassion- and we’d do well to examine these fault lines and get out the emotional polyfilla.
If your answer is: we can’t eat dogs because they are so fluffy and sweet, then go to the back of the class. Fluffiness and sweetness never stopped many of us eating lamb. It would also mean we ought to regularly eat hairless chinese crested dogs (oh, they do eat them in china?)
If your answer is: they are our companions, we don’t eat our friends. Then go and stand in the corner. I’m not sure that companionship has ever been the most valid basis for deciding how worthy something is to eat or not eat. Should we eat those dogs that are not friendly? Should we NOT eat those cows that are friendly? more on this tomorrow.
If you are a full-on-vegan, or even vegetarian, UNLIKE myself, then you can go to the front of the class, collect your bottle of soya milk and go out to the playground to play with butterflies and cute worms. Your life is more consistent than mine.
If you’ve got a puppy burger in your lunch box which you created yourself by murdering a dog this morning then I’m going to let you out of the classroom too. Partly because you are also consistent. And partly because you may be insane.
Or are you?
You see, its pretty uncomfortable all this stuff. Can we can judge people who eat dog? Maybe not. And yet… I want to go and save one because it appalls me.
Am I doing the right thing?
TOMORROW: Let’s look at this a bit more closely alongside the whole horsemeat scandal in Europe. Thoughts please. I’m feeling uncomfortable about all this.