Farm Dog: different in Korea than here in Texas

Came across this article today regarding the cancellation of a dog meat festival near Seoul:

“Animal rights activists put up such a stink that the organizers, from the Korea Dog Farmers’ Association, said there was no way they could go through with the event.”

There is actually a Korean Dog Farmer’s Association? I lived the majority of my life believing the whole “Koreans/Chinese eat dog” thing to be a myth, Urban Legend. Until I met A…

One day in the lab we were talking about something random as we tend to do..and the topic floats around to a local Chinese restaurant. It had recently closed down and someone said it was because there were no more dogs in the neighborhood (what with Pat Sajak’s “spay/neuter” campaign success of course). Then they realized that A was standing there and had been listening. Background: A is Chinese..moved here as a young adult and has lived in America for about 25 years now.  Everyone involved in the conversation got very quiet..afraid that they had hurt her feelings. About a minute of awkward silence ensued…crickets were chirping and a door squeaked somewhere down the hall as it caught a random indoor breeze. Until A says “Actually, dog is very good.”    …..  . …

Here we are not wanting to hurt her feelings by insinuating they DO actually eat dog in China and her reply is “Actually, dog is very good.” I love her so much.

Anyway, back to the article:

“Organizers of the festival had wanted to showcase the positive side of the dog meat industry in South Korea, where there are about 600 farms that raise dogs for meat, according to Ann.”

Where have I BEEN?? Apparently living under a rock. So, if anyone else was cohabitating there with you go. It is NOT a myth..or Urban is a fact. Dogs are food. Not fish, little Nemo..but dogs. Who knew? Well, I suppose the folks that run any of the 600 farms in South Korea may have had an inkling. So the next question of course is…how do I feel about this?

When I was in high school my mom and step-dad raised goats. They had a couple dozen at the time, and some would have actually had triplets that made the local newspaper (very small town).  My step-dad was from Louisiana where they pretty much eat everything (yes I am generalizing swamp town, LA). He once ran over a rattlesnake, stopped, reversed the truck and picked it up. Fried it that evening for dinner. You could peer into his pot of turtle soup and spot the shell bobbing around. Same for squirrel gumbo except instead of shell, it would be tiny skulls that the meat had fallen off of. So of course it would reason that he had a hankering for baby goat. Apparently it is good on the pit. I couldn’t bring myself to try it. It’s hard to dissassociate yourself from the “pet” image. If it weren’t for Charlotte, Wilbur would have made it to the dinner table as well, but “Some Pig”  apparently transcends “food” and suddenly it’s “pet”. If I lived in a society that did not see dogs as pets..could I eat them? Of course. But I don’t. I live in America. More than that, I live in Texas where almost everyone has a pet or working farm/hound/coon/hunting/cattle dog. As a pet. That helps them get dinner a lot of times, but still..a pet. So I don’t think I could ever knowingly eat dog meat. I don’t think less of anyone who does, it’s just a different culture. If I were to visit, and someone asked “Hey there, would you like a dog taco?” I would probably politely decline. But then again, I am a huge proponent of “Intestinal Adventures while Traveling” …not a book (yet) but an idea that when traveling one MUST indulge in the local flavors to get a true experience. I probably would try it at least but it all depends on the breed… 😉

“As William Saletan wrote in Slate a few years back:

In the country, they raise “meat dogs,” also known as “junk dogs” and “lower-grade” dogs. But you don’t become a “lower-grade” dog by flunking an IQ test. You’re just born in the wrong place. Then you’re slaughtered and fed to a man who thinks he’s humane because he pampers a Golden Retriever that has half your brains”



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