Ever tasted dog? I haven’t. Never will. I’d rather eat my own arm.
A pig, a duck, a rabbit, a cow – even if I was temporarily emotionally attached to one of those as a pet, actually I could probably bring myself to eat the meat too if absolutely necessary.
But eating dog? Man’s best friend – and until comparatively recently a member of the family? Nah.
It came as a bit of a shock when a pal happened to mention he’d eaten dog.
I could suddenly taste unpleasant stuff in my mouth, which I can only presume was bile. That kind of reaction has never occurred before.
You might have guessed this wasn’t the Balls Pond Road or Stow-on-the-Wold, this was a city in China. Some people out for dinner. He just had some of what others were having. Normal social behaviour out East, I suppose. Going native and all that.
It was “very tasty” apparently.
I didn’t like to mention that it’s well documented that dogs are subjected to atrociously cruel, long-drawn out and painful deaths because the Chinese believe it will make the meat tastier.
I just find the whole idea utterly repellant and in practical terms, eating dog meat seems to carry significant health risks. The meat market guys don’t seem very fussy about where they get their dogs from. They could be rounded up in the countryside in which case they could be rabid or diseased, stolen pets or from dog farms where St Bernards are crossed with Chinese mongrels to provide fast-growing big puppies which will be caged and slaughtered for food at only four months old.
The rabies risk is primarily associated with the butchering and preparing of dog meat but with rabies cases in China increasing and Chinese scientists having a taste for dog meat themselves, who knows whether proper, reliable studies have ever been conducted into links between eating dogs and contracting the disease?
It’s not difficult to find images of dogs in “live markets” packed tight on top of each other in cages so they are unable to move, soulful eyes staring out helplessly. How many of those are incubating disease?
Son no 2 returned from China with tales of having eaten mice, snake, rats. He hadn’t, as far as he could tell, eaten dog and would never deliberately eat it.
When we all spent a holiday in Beijing we ate at many different restaurants offering regional style dishes from all over China. He took care to make sure there was no dog on the menu of any of them.
Not surprising as he was brought up with dogs. We always had a springer spaniel in the house. More than a pet; more like a four-legged member of the family. A constant presence bringing warmth and mischief and laughs and dog farts and the motivation for long country walks and developing a nifty wrist-action with the dog frisbee.
Dog birthdays were marked with sausage dinners. The dog had Christmas presents and a bit of Christmas dinner. I always feel that if you have a dog, it might as well be properly integrated into the family and trained to behave properly at home, at other people’s houses and in hotels.
Dogs are good for you. They love you whatever mood you are in, they remind you what it is to run free and explore with untrammelled joy. They stop you from working too hard, reminding you it’s time to take a break. They won’t leave your side if you are ill (although they will leave you for dead if a stranger appears with a sausage) and they will accept as many hugs, strokings and tummy-rubs as you care to bestow.
The net result of all that is I couldn’t stand being with people happily helping themselves to chunks of dogmeat without a thought or care how the poor animal died. It would be like watching cannibalism.
I wouldn’t be able to look at a bowl of brown cooked dogmeat without hearing the screams of the poor filthy creatures as they were captured and caged. Creatures capable of so much devotion and affection doomed to a horrifying end; some skinned alive.
At one time, I thought the Chinese didn’t have any awareness of cruelty or will to adopt any animal welfare policies at all except when it comes to their beloved national symbol, the panda.
It seems things are changing. Dog ownership is on the increase. In some cities the authorities allow people to own bigger dogs and they are seeking to promote understanding between those who own and like dogs and those who don’t.
It all sounds promising because those responsible dog owners – some cities give out free rabies jabs for pet dogs – naturally take a different view about eating their canine chums.
They even have the equivalent of the PAT dogs (Pets As Therapy) that we have here – dogs that visit people in hospital to cheer them up.
So I hope the tide is turning and one day, maybe they’ll take dog off the menu and the sickening cruelty associated with it will be a thing of the past.
Lucky dog – narrowly avoiding becoming dinner….