Eating dogs is something we joke about when we think of Chinese food, and then we are often scolded by those who are more “politically correct” than us. However, throughout much of China dog meat is a fairly common delicacy.
Lately there has been some discussion as to whether or not eating dogs and cats should be banned, but that discussion became a nationwide argument this week after volunteers rescued/stole 500 dogs (ministry of tofu covered this store in more depth). I am heartened by the news that an increase in pet ownership in China has spurred on more animal rights activists, since human rights are more or less taboo.
I’m somewhere in between on the issue. After all meat is meat, and it all comes from somewhere (read my post about Chinese markets). If the dogs were being butchered in a humane way I might find it acceptable, since they are raised for consumption.
However, the way these animals are treated is beyond the pale (if you are susceptible to human emotions, now would be a good time to stop reading).
I had a Chinese friend in Guangxi who attended a staff barbecue. She noticed two small dogs tied to a tree when she first arrived but thought nothing of them. A short while later she was horrified as one of the dogs was placed into a sack and beaten to death with sticks. The men pulled the bloody dog out of the bag and put the other one in repeating the process. She felt ill and had to leave.
This is the part that many Chinese leave out of the discussion about eating dog meat. It is generally believed that the dog must be beaten before it is killed to cause maximum adrenaline flow and therefore more flavor, and that is the aspect that I cannot condone as a cultural tradition that should be continued.