By Yibo Zhao
For centuries, dog meat has been received in China for its unique flavor and it is believed to help keep warm in the North China. For some it’s a treat worth shelling out for. So far China has no law to ban eating dog meat. However, as the booming of China’s economy, more dog lovers mainly from the burgeoning middle and upper class began the battle towards the dog eaters.
In China it is already common to see that dog lovers in many ways, claim that, dogs are not animals but human being’s friends. Dogs also have their animal rights. But what about fish, cows and baby sheep? As for animal rights, why some certain animal should be treated so specially while some can only reasonably become food? Also, honestly speaking, to domesticate the dogs as “pets” for the selfish needs and to use them for food, are hard to judge whichever is better.
Well, the feeling of pet owners is quite understandable and surely the prospect of eating dogs turns their stomach. Still, if one feels uncomfortable to eat dog meat, just don’t eat it. But is there a need for it to become a national law to forbid any person in China to eat dogs? Can it be effective based on the totality of the circumstances?
Here comes the example from Zhu Guangbing, a Chinese peasant. His family raised one dog to watch the door and one to be killed in the Lunar New Year because they were too poor to buy pork. He doesn’t understand what is wrong with it. Like him, many grass-rooted Chinese people treat eating dogs is no difference with cows and sheep.
Maybe, it is an argument between morality and tradition. Something needs to bear in our mind is that Western culture should not be imposed value on this case. Besides, in Victoria’s Era, it was even once a custom for Europeans to eat cats and dogs. Well, if we look back Chinese history and tradition, dogs were not treated as pets until Chinese Culture Revolution. And these people allowed their dogs to bite the servants, which left a very bad image for the whole society.
Another famous incident happened in 2011. The title in Chinese popular discussion website mostly goes “A working truck hauling dogs forced off the road by a black Mercedes-Benz whose driver was on his way to a resort hotel with his girlfriend.” Even from this description, the resentment towards the rich can be sensed easily. The truck drivers and many others in China see the issue again as rich versus poor (the gap between these two social classes widens quickly).
Many people claim that the money and time for the animal activists should be used for the poor rural in China. Without talking about the human care, does fighting for animal rights make any sense?
However, a large number of dogs in meat market are stolen pets. And the food safety problem is really worrying. I do think the relevant departments should make effective measures.
Get back to business. From what I learnt, laws can help lead people to do the right thing, but if they get too far out in front of what people want, they will usually be ignored or opposed by the public. Based on my experience, only 5 people told me that they have tried dogs and it is not regular food for them. Maybe someday because of the culture and the society change, the banning of eating dog meat will be practiced into law. Apparently, now is not the right time.
Have you eaten dogs meat? June 2012 http://migrationology.com/2012/06/eating-dog-cat-meat-china/
Eating dogs in China. September 2013http://sabotagetimes.com/travel/eating-dog-meat-in-china/
Eating dogs in China. It is very complex. Very. June 2011 http://www.chinalawblog.com/2011/06/eating_dog_in_china_its_very_complex_very.html
What is wrong with eating dog meat? June 2011http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/30/whats-wrong-with-eating-dog-meat/