I have no inspiration to write at the moment… so this post may become one of those rambling post where I just dumped my thoughts on the keyboard.
Recently on my social media I saw a lot of ‘call to protest’ and to stop this certain dog-meat festival that is happening in certain country later this month. I don’t want to put on any specific details, I’m sure it’s googlable. (Hey, new word: Googlable!)
Many of my friends are protesting against this festival for obvious reasons. That dogs are pets, they are human’s best friends, they are cute, etc etc. There are pictures of dogs in various states of ‘going to the slaughterhouse’ – bound up, crammed in cages, etc. Those pictures made me cringe.
Yes I’m against this dog-meat festival. I’m also against cruelty to other animals. Pictures of chickens, cows, pigs going to the slaughterhouse also made me cringe. I see no difference between dogs and cats and chickens and cows and pigs.
I grew up eating meat. Like most people I’m conditioned to see certain animals as pets and certain animals as food. I had dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, turtle as pets. And I ate chicken, beef, pork, and fish daily. There were a few times when my mom purchased a live rooster for cooking – and so I witnessed the slaughtering process up close. I remembered I felt sorry for the rooster, it obviously didn’t want to die, but I suppose it was a quick (albeit painful) process, slit by the throat and had the blood drained out. Yet I happily gobbled down the cooked rooster at dinner time.
In university one of my project is about recycling. And so I read a lot about environmental sustainability that time. I found that one of the action we can do towards sustainability is to eat less meat, due to the resources needed to produce meat. Then I started to venture into vegetarianism. At the beginning it was just an experiment, just to see if I can survive without eating meat. After I graduated university, got a job etc, and I found yoga, and found out one of the Yama, the universal morality, is Ahimsa, translated as ‘non-violence’. Non-violence towards all beings, not only to humans. So there’s more reason for me to not eat meat.
After not eating meat for a while I didn’t even want it. A plate of juicy steak used to be a yummy fare for me, but after not eating meat for a while a hunk of meat becomes overwhelming.
I admit I still eat little pieces and bits if it’s in a cooking like soups or stir-fry and it wasn’t convenient for me to ask for a non-meat version, for example if I’m at home and mom cooked for the whole family. But if I have full control of what I order or cook, I opted meat out.
Anyway. Back to the dog-meat festival. I once ate a small piece of dog meat, in a Batak restaurant, a long long time ago, because I was curious of the taste. It tasted like meat, I couldn’t tell the difference. (Batak is an ethnic group from the North Sumatra, they commonly consumed dog meat)
Viewing certain animals as food, and certain animals as pets, is a culture thing. Like in India, cows are viewed as friends of the family because it help them mow the land, gave them milk, and thus not to be eaten. So cows roam freely and happily, undisturbed. Yet I saw a documentary recently where these cows are smuggled to the borders of the country, because the neighboring countries view cows as food.
Wether a certain animal is food or not food is cultural. There are even cultures or group of people who view other people as food. Read more here: Cannibalism – a history of people who eat people.
I hope the dog-meat festival will not happen, that enough people protest and make it stop. At the same time, I also hope that more and more people eat less meat, so less chickens, cows, pigs, lambs, fish, etc got slaughtered. The dog-meat festival is a once a year thing, whereas the slaughter houses operates everyday to meet the demand of consumers.
What’s the difference between a dog and a cow? Between a cat and a chicken? They’re all animals. Not that much different with us.
Image source: Getting to know each other by Blue Gum