Mar 20th


    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?


    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.

    I need some emotional healing

    I need some emotional healing


    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?)

    Chinese crested hairless dog

    Chinese crested hairless dog

    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.


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    11 Responses to “Day 180: WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT EATING DOG?”

    1. Martin and anyone who would like some answers to this extremely difficult question, I recommend a book called “Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat” by Hal Herzog. It’s a very good examination of these very questions. Actually he fails to even answer the question for himself, there are just too many conflicts in human nature, but I think his exploration to try to find answers is very well done.

    2. Very good question. I believe that there is no difference between eating a dog and eating a pig, cow, bird or snake. I realize that my opinion may be of the minority, though.

    3. Simple — stop eating meat. In Northern Thailand, stolen pups are boiled alive because it is believed that the adrenalin contributes to the flavor. Food by torture is never right.

    4. yes, that is probably the most honest option!!

    5. All animals want to live as much as you and I want to live… They feel pain, sense fear, establish families and want to leave in peace… Confinement and torture for any living being is wrong….. I as a Vegan, now *get it*… God speed Martin in your journey…it will be hard…very hard at times…and I will be with you in spirit….

    6. If I can communicate with an animal, why would I want to eat it? I don’t eat meat but my confusion lies in occasionally eating fish. I feel hypocritical in that respect, and when I really think about it I can’t eat fish either. Any sort of cruelty or lack of respect for the life of another seems wrong to me (especially when humans have the capacity to think things through.)

    7. I think the difference is that the way the dogs are farmed and slaughtered (along with pretty much all the farmed animals in Asia) compared with the slowly improving welfare standards in the UK (assuming you eat meat which has been sustainably farmed)is absolutely appalling. I mean, factory farming in Europe and the US is criminal, but it looks like paradise compared to the misery suffered by animals destined for dinner plates in places like China and South Korea and Thailand.

      The horsemeat scandal is exactly that because it showed that producers have no idea what is going into their food, regardless of whether it’s horse, cow, pig or sheep. Next week we’ll find out they’ve found human remains in frozen burgers, and then we’ll really start to panic!

    8. yes, when we get baby in burger it all go into meltdown. What a thought. I think its a fair criticism to say that they had no idea what was being put into the meat – but surely hidden horse meat is no more scandalous than the copious amounts of antibiotics that most people are blissfully unaware of. In fact it’s less is it not?

    9. martin, maybe when you are in the phillipines if you make it to manila you could look mali the elephant up, its a sad sad story and lots of people have been trying to help her https://www.facebook.com/pages/Free-Mali-the-Elephant/264127640360151

    10. yes, I am going there!

    11. If eating dead flesh is your thing then differentiating between species doesn’t make a lot of sense. However the method of raising and killing of said flesh is what really gets my goat. The horsemeat thing is a scandal because people haven’t made the choice to eat it, its a disgrace because the horses welfare is not mentioned much.

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