Tuesday,21 August, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1232, (5 - 11 February 2015)
Tuesday,21 August, 2018
Issue 1232, (5 - 11 February 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Trading your best friend

How puzzling, how enigmatic, how confusing is the nature of man! We are weary of the decline of his sensibilities, his cruelty, his inhumanity, his capacity for vice, which makes our blood creep. To watch man’s brutality towards his fellow man, why should we be shocked when this cruelty is directed towards God’s other creatures? Yet we are! Filled with unspeakable horror we desire to hide, to disappear from this inhumane presence.

A British documentary aired recently records the appalling cruelty of the many industrial farm dogs — dogs raised for the sole purpose of human consumption. Yes, dogs are considered a tasty morsel, voraciously devoured by humans in many countries… it is shocking, how many!

The first animal to be domesticated in history, going back 12,000 – 18,000 years, canines have been the closest to man, serving as companion, helper, protector, loyal friend, commonly referred to as ‘man’s best friend’.  But for millions, perhaps billions, that loyalty is not returned.

Historically, the consumption of dog meat in China goes back 5000 years, but the penchant for it spreads far and wide. Apart from Korea, Viet-Nam and other countries in Southeast Asia, would you believe it is consumed in Europe, Oceania, the Americas, Africa and Australia! No wonder the trade is booming.

In Canada it is legal to sell and serve dog meat, if the killing does not violate the Criminal Code. In the US native Americans have enjoyed it for centuries and still do. In Australia it is often found on menus. Though forbidden in Islam and Judaism, in Morocco, a Muslim country it is used by unscrupulous vendors as a replacement for beef or lamb in sausages. Indonesia, also pre-dominantly Muslim it is prevalent. Obama was accused of eating dog meat served by his Indonesian step-father. In Cameroon, the Congo, Liberia, Ghana and other parts of West Africa it is greatly relished.

In the pristine and refined country of Switzerland it is enjoyed by farmers in the Alps, who greatly resent the government’s ban, and its interference in their tradition and centuries-old lifestyle.

Despite the warnings about health hazards like rabies, fungal skin diseases, typhoid fever inflicting those who smuggle, slaughter or eat it, this lucrative industrial trade is on the rise.

Why do millions savour it, even crave it?

Not only is it a succulent delicacy, they believe it has medicinal properties. It boosts your energy, protects the stomach and kidneys, promotes bodily heat, raises libido for men and more.

About 10 million dogs are served annually, five million in China alone.  During the 2008 Olympic Games, Chinese officials ordered dog meat to be removed from the menus, in case visitors would be appalled by the practice. Animal protection groups have been actively working towards a ban against the annual week-long festival “lychee week” where 100,000 dogs are served to merry-makers and dog meat lovers.

If you are a dog lover, you are cautioned that the following may be hazardous to your psyche.

Footage of the British documentary aired on Channel 4, reveals the horrific cruelty of industrial dog farms. They are stuffed in tiny cages until they are bludgeoned. Some are electrocuted, hanged, thrown into boiling water or beaten endlessly to tenderise the meat. Unable to move, they watch helplessly as others are bludgeoned and skinned alive. This is purposely done to raise their stress level and boost the adrenaline, thus enhancing the flavour.

Efforts by animal protection groups to ban the practice in many countries are fiercely resisted. Consumers argue that it is no different from eating pig, cow, lamb, goat, chicken, duck, goose, turkey and pigeons. Horse and camel meat are also consumed, therefore why the distinction!

Dogs are beloved pets, members of your family, your best friend. Can you have your best friend for your dinner?

No other animal has served man so long and as loyally as dogs. These precious, extraordinary creatures, with their acute sense of smell and hearing, have endless capacities to love, serve and obey. They are an integral part of Law Enforcement, detecting illicit drugs, explosives and criminals. They are of major importance in hospitals, nursing homes, psychiatric wards, raising patients’ morale. They lead the blind and the deaf. They warn a diabetic when his sugar is too low and can detect cancer in its early stages.

Since the Bronze Age they have hunted side by side with early man, guarded his sheep, herded his cattle protected his home, his property and his life.  Movies have regularly depicted the extraordinary love, loyalty and devotion of dog to man. Their love is unconditional, unequalled, unspoiled, how can they end up as a chewy tidbit in man’s mouth!

As for cat lovers, do not yet heave a sigh of relief. The consumption of cats is growing in popularity in many Asian countries. Known as “little tiger”, they too are considered a rare delicacy.

To be a dog in ancient Egypt was akin to being a god. Pampered by servants, they were fed special diets and outfitted with jewelled collars and often interred with the ruler to protect him from harm in the after-life, which he would, if he could.

In the history of human civilisation the time has come for the human to learn the virtues of humanity from their dogs.

This is the world we live in… offensive, shocking, repulsive: “Stop the world, I want to get off.”

“Cruelty, like every other vice, requires no motive outside itself---it only requires opportunity”

George Eliot (1819-1880)


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