What do you think about eating dog?
by Jeremy Joel

"What do you think about eating dog?", my student asked shamefully. This question was asked of me the second day I was in Korea. I looked at her and almost quipped, "are you asking me out for lunch?" Instead I gave the only response that came to mind. "Eating dog is not part of my culture. Dogs in my culture are only pets." "Yes I know, she muttered, but what do you think about Korea eating dog?" "Well from what I've heard dog meat is considered traditional Korean food. Its really none of my business if you choose to eat it or not." She smiled at my answer and said, "I think eating dog is bad. I don't eat dog."Before coming to Korea I had never really thought much about the issue of animal cruelty. To me it was an issue brought up by old Hollywood actresses like Brigett Bardot and others who wanted to get back in the public eye. I did however cringe over news reports about cosmetic companies spraying chemicals in cats eyes to see if it caused, "irritation". I've been living in Korea for over two years now and this issue follows me everywhere I go. I'm always being asked questions by Koreans about whether or not I've eaten dog meat or not.

My friends and family back home have also asked me the same questions, usually in a joking manner. Most of the Koreans I meet seem rather apologetic for the practice that they deem traditional. I used to go along with the idea that eating dog is cultural specific to Korea and that I shouldn't judge. I mean, why not eat dog, isn't it just an animal that we westerners have given a human identity to? Why is it I often wonder that we don't eat the cute animals.

We made a big fuss about dolphins being caught in nets designed for tuna fish. Millions were spent to save the dolphins but what about the tuna? I guess it pays to have a little human identity attached to you, sorry Charlie.
I admit I have now changed sides on this issue. It wasn't a particular argument or article thatswayed me, instead it was the trip I took to the dog market. I call it the dog market, but actually its quite a menagerie of livestock. There you can find, dogs, chickens, ducks, rabbits and cats. Yes all of these animals are on the menu. All of the animals are shoved into small cages without benefit of food or water. The cages are tiny and the dogs don't have enough room to lie down. The conditions that these animals have to suffer through are appalling.

I really don't care if Koreans want to slaughter dogs and use them for food, but the least they can do is provide for them the minimal conditions that livestock receive in other countries. Dogs in Korea are beaten and tortured. Many times not only are they shoved into these small cages but they are tied to the cage so that they can't lie down. They are put out in the boiling heat without water and left to starve and dehydrate. This kind of treatment leads to disease, and bacterial contamination once they are turned into meat.Eating dog is constantly being referred to as a traditional practice. The tradition however dates back to a time of famine when dogs were the only widely available livestock. Since then South Korea has emerged from this famine state but the tradition of eating dog survives. It survives under the guise of being "stamina food" This however is just simple marketing strategy so that those involved in the trade can make a lot of money. Dog meat is actually expensive as meat goes, because of its supposed benefits.

When I toured the market one guy came out with his hands on his hips and said to me, "make you strong!! good stamina!!" I wondered if he believed what he said or if he was just being a good salesman. I think that everyone who has a chance should tour one of these markets and see for themselves what its all about. It certainly has changed my view of the practice.

Take a look for yourself.
Dear Yaofeng (Email Removed)
I have to apologise for the delay in answering to your reply. And I hope you will accept my reply to you in this thread instead of the thread "Spam from the dog-eating country". It seems something wrong has happened to that thread, and I think our current discussion could be more on-topic in this thread. I will copy my questions to you and your answers to them below, and try to speak my thoughts afterwards.

As I typed the BBC report I lost my usual typing speed and then stopped typing. I looked at my dog lying beside me. He noticed me seeing him. His eyes were so peaceful. I could not help but think of the dogs' terror-filled eyes. I felt as if I were standing at the scene.If your dogs should be stolen by dog-meat sellers, how would you feel? You say you cried when your dogs died - died of old age as you wrote to me before. Don't you feel a dog's life is too short? Have you ever realised the truth that your dogs love you throughout their lives? You didn't choose cows after you lost your dogs. You chose dogs. And you say you love dogs. The same animals are being killed for humans' appetite or sexual desire, without being given a chance to live their short lives.

Dogs are loyal to humans. That's why they are called man's best friends. It is not only cruel but also not fair to kill such animals. And I think it is never good for children's education. I can't believe people having no pity for such dogs can have pity for humans.
I wish I could live forgetting such cruelties. I am too happy to keep on remembering sorrowful things. But no, I can't forget. Don't you really remember the terror-filled eyes when you see your dogs' happy eyes?
tobysdad jp
I can relate to your point of view always having had dogs in the household. I've alway mainained dogs are just like children that never grow up. You enjoy them until the day they die. Naturally you have to take care of them like taking care of children too.
Of course I am against cruelty in any form to animals. But like I said, eating dogs is a custom practiced in the orient for a couple thousand years. Eating them should be separated from cruelty to them. Does that mean everbody eat dogs like they do chicken or pork? Of course not. I have never been to Korea so I don't know how widely is the custom still kept there. I grew up in Taiwan. I can tell you there is no open market for dog meat in Taiwan. Eating dogs is a practice very much frowned upon but I know it exists.

Is it legal? I don't know if it is. But I know there are no dog farms which raise dogs for the sole purpose of consumption. So those who eat dogs have to steal them from the owners. In the sense it is against the law. I hope that gives you a view of how this dog eating practice is still kept in Taiwan, from what I know. It may be a little different now because I have been living in the US for over 25 years. I doubt the practice has been completely stopped.

After all, it is one with a few thousand years history.
What happens in China, or Korea regarding this practice, I'd say varies in degrees. But it is a far cry from the rampant cruelty and slaughter of dogs as some animal rights groups protray it to be.
I told you I have never had dog meat. Does it make me a beter person than those who had? No. I never had it because my parents never do and we almost always have a dog in the household, like many do. Furhemore, I never had it because as I grew up in Taiwan, none of the people I associated with do it either. But I hear enough stories about those who do. Despite of this, cruelty to dogs is not something those people who kill them openly display like thwy kill a snake for the spectators, although I can't say it doesn't exist.

You know, if I was born in a different environment, I could have just as easily eaten dogs like I do chicken as I grow up. No, that's an exaggeration. Maybe some exotic monkey or animals. But certainly not as common as chicken.
Let me relate to you something which is widely accepted by those who eat dogs. Dogs are so smart that when the dog eaters are enjoying the dog meat, if there is a dog present, it knows and will bark incessantly.
Since I have been in this country so long, I must say something about it regarding our treatment to man's best friend. Naturally, eating dogs is strictly forbidden in the US. But aside from that, are we really treating the canine species that well? My first dog is adopted. From that point on, all the dogs in my household have been through adoption. After visiting the dog shelters and dog pounds so man times, I have decided we have too many unwanted and unloved dogs. So I will simply do my small part to get one through adoption. A visit to the local dog shelter will tell you how man unwanted and unloved dogs we have despite we claim we are a nation which loves dogs.
We know many dogs in the local shelter are put to sleep if the fall sick because the do have enough resources to take care of them. Also, because so man people love the animal, there is a canine breeding industry driven by greed. Often times these animals end up in shelters and evntually put to sleep.
Comparing to how people in the orient treat dogs, I am not at all sure we are better. We just have a more sterile way of killing them is what I think.
I can relate to your point of view always having had dogs in the household. I've alway mainained dogs are ... to animals. But like I said, eating dogs is a custom practiced in the orient for a couple thousand years.

No not all places in the "Orient" eat dogs. The Japanese who will eat nearly anything raw find the idea of eating dogs disgusting .Vietnamese may eat dogs, but the Cambodians do not historically have such a tradition. Therefore to say that it is an "oriental" or "asian" tradition is misleading.
I think the discussion shouldn't only relate to dogs, it should relate to animals in general, especially when kept in a cruel manner (and also see the link about wild badgers and sars i posted, http://edition.cnn.com/2003/HEALTH/11/15/sars.return/index.html ).

Some cultures think it's okay to eat cows (i.e. most of western society), while some cultures don't (some Hindu and Chinese religions). Some cultures think it's okay to eat dogs, i.e. as mentioned before, but they are all just different sorts of animals.
Personally, I do not endorse the consumption of animals, for many reasons, but in this case, I would say because a lot of animals are not only kept cruelly, but in a way that can even endanger humans because their conditions are so filthy or containminated (see SARS link, I saw it on CNN today Emotion: sad )
So for many people, eating dog may be taboo, or something 'wrong', because we keep dogs as pets. But if we also kept a cow as a pet, we would also have feelings attached to it, and may not want to eat it either.
I don't think I can offer even the slightest solution to the problem of animal rearing, or meat consumption, or dangers/issues involved, but I think, since food is a personal choice, that the first thing that needs to be done is to raise awareness on animal cruelty issues in regards to food. That is more important than what kind of animal it is: they all have a life, and so people need to be aware that many of them suffer unnecessarily for consumption purposes.
Good links to check out: Peta.org
Regards, C.
No..USA didn't write that.
Take another look at the headers.
I think that I would not. I feel "uncomfortable" persecuting others that do as I eat other meat that would be illogical. But as I often say Humans are not logical creatures they are emotional.

Tim Pace
Accept that some days you are the pigeon and some days the statue.