Not Really a Blog

January 21, 2012

Dog Food

So, you guys know that  the Chinese (at least on some parts of China) eat about everything, no? I’ve read that in Guangzhou, Cantonese cuisine, they eat ‘everything that has four legs but a table, everything that flies but an aeroplane and everything that swims but a submarine‘. So, yeah, anything really.

They eat dog food. I got to realise this on my first day in Guilin when I saw a guy on a motorbike carrying three dead dogs on the back of the motorbike. If you’ve ever been to China town in London, you might have seen ducks hanging from restaurants in a brownish/reddish colour, no? Same here. I think they burn the skin and hair so that’s the colour they acquire. Shame that I had my camera packed away and couldn’t take a picture.

So, on my visit to Yangshou, I could see a bit more of this,

Dog Food
Yep, that’s dog meat for sale

but apparently it gets worse (if you don’t like to look at this, don’t go to Chinese street markets). They have cages with dogs and cats (alive) at the market, just like they have small pools with fishes that you can buy in European markets.

Now, to me seeing this is pretty shocking, as I only see dogs and cats as pets. It kind of horrifies to see this, but, well, they are animals and this is their culture,who am I to judge?. Who are we to say what can be eaten or not? right?. We have bull fighting in Spain and that’s frown upon in many other countries, so…

Anyway, I tried to get some opinions from locals about dog food. Whether it was good, a delicacy and what people thought about it. I failed at getting answers/opinions. I don’t know if it’s because they are shy, they considered it taboo or they are tired/annoyed by westerners’ questions.

But, interestingly, I saw this woman protesting int the centre of Guilin against dog and cat being slaughtered…

eating cats and dogs a national shame?

People were looking curiously at this woman…

What do you guys think? I find it interesting, not particularly affected by it, not particularly against it.

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  1. Interesting blog entry.

    Although it’s a little unsettling from a Western point-of-view, the only reason we object to it is because we’re used to keeping dogs as pets. If we kept chickens or pigs as pets more commonly, I suspect we’d feel differently! Plus, the set of animals that are “edible” vs the set of animals that are “pets” isn’t just different in China either. We are somewhat hypocritical for objecting to people eating dogs when we eat cows, which is pretty much an affront to Hinduism and banned in most of India, and pigs, which are considered dirty in Islamic countries. Not to mention eating meat at all is verboten in plenty of belief systems.

    While I find myself objecting to other cultural values when they mistreat women or homosexuals and suppress rights or free speech, I can’t find a logical objection to choosing what set of animals you might find on your plate. For me, a case of “live and let live” applies here, I think.

    Comment by Ian Maddison — January 21, 2012 @ 17:30

  2. although “everything is edible” is true to a certain degree, i have to say that regarding the dog-eating culture, not all kinds of dog would be served on the plate. The Chinese only eat certain type of dog. For one, I was told by older generation that they wouldn’t eat poodles.

    Oh, and eating dog meat in China can get you in jail for up to 15 days. but then it’s China, no one really follow the rules…

    For me, I think eating dog and cats is simply horrible. (I’m Cantonese, from Hong Kong. I have never seen or eat dog meat in my entire life, and I hope to stay that way.) I pretty much agree with everything Ian said above. and I believe every culture eat somethings that’s un-think of for another culture anyway.

    Comment by Katharine — January 21, 2012 @ 18:17

  3. In Vietnam it certainly seems that some Vietnamese eat dogs and some don’t, some like the taste and some don’t, eating dogs is supposed to happen more often at certain times in the lunar cycle. I haven’t tried dog due to mostly hearing pretty negative reports on the taste and I think most dogs killed for food often live in pretty grim conditions. Also, as humans, we generally don’t eat carnivores (other than some types of fish…). Horse, on the other hand, can be delicious and I say this as a horse lover!

    Comment by juracraven1 — February 22, 2012 @ 05:15

  4. Oh dear, before I say anything the photo alone is disturbing to me.
    I would feel that same any slaughtered animal presented to my eyes. :-(

    Now travelling to Asia has become a luxury to me. It’s just so far.
    I will go see my family in March but that’s about it. Not easy to hop around within the limited time.

    I’m checking out other posts too. A great blog.


    Comment by puret0ne — February 22, 2012 @ 12:17

  5. This is so cruel! I am an animal lover, espeacily of dogs and this picture and fact hurt me so much! I feel so much pain in my heart and everyone who eats dogs and/or cats should be ashamed because these are mans best friend but clearly the people who slughter for this or any other type of animal and eat it should feel guilty!! I feel like i’m going to cry!:( This should be put to a stop right now! It’s hard to explain what i’m feeling right now but i know i feel hate, saddness, and beat. This is going to stop!

    Comment by Cecilia — March 21, 2012 @ 22:19

    • Well, humans eat just about everything, and many animals. And you know, animals eat other animals too, so, cats and dogs are within that category wether we like it or not…

      Comment by jesus — March 22, 2012 @ 05:57

  6. Stumbled upon this by accident, and while I’m generally of the mindset that yeah, we should be mindful of other peoples’ cultures, there’s more to our visceral western reaction than merely an “ohmygosh, I love dogs” reaction.

    Domesticated dogs do occupy in some very real sense a different space in our collective consciousness. They have a different relationship with humans than any other class of animal on earth–one of all but utter dependency and trust, and so I think there’s a bit more to our negative reactions than just being attached to our pets. Our cats, cows, goldfish, pet snakes, and hamsters just don’t have the psychological connection to humanity that dogs enjoy.

    Comment by sassiitalytours — March 22, 2013 @ 00:54

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