Thursday, October 26, 2006

To meat or not to meat...

My friend Eveline moved to Beijing a few months ago, and started a blog a while ago to write of her adventures. It's quite entertaining--have you ever heard of the Mongolian spot? Want to see the cutest commercial ever?

But her most recent post beats them all. But as a warning: do not look at the pictures if you are squeamish or a dog lover. You'll be able to tell why once you see the title of the post.

Click here at your own risk.

Of course we've all heard about or joked about this before--Asians who eat dog. (Reminds me of Grace's post about wanting a cookbook to go with her book Year of the Dog.) When I was traveling in Canton, China 9 or so years ago, I saw a barbecued dog hanging in a store window. It looked just like one of those BBQed ducks, but its anatomy looked different...and upon closer examination we also noticed that the Chinese symbol for "dog" was printed on the window. But what's the difference, really, between eating different kinds of animals? One is not more or less wrong (morally) than the other, just because one animal we may consider a pet and the other a source of food, right? Although maybe there is a difference between eating fish versus birds versus reptiles versus mammals. Anyway, I've never been squeamish about meat. I eat meat on the bone, I eat whole fish, I've tried kangaroo, crocodile, rabbit, and deer. I think people who don't like to eat meat that looks like the animal it comes from are a bit hypocritical. But part of me wonders if vegetarianism will be the norm in the future. Part of me feels guilty for eating meat, mainly because I know I don't need to eat it. As I've mentioned before, I love tofu and vegetables and fruit and beans...I can go days without eating meat and not even notice. In fact, if I think back on the last two days, today I went without eating meat, and yesterday the only meat I had was shrimp. So yes--I could survive very happily as a vegetarian. But the thing is, every now and then I love a good burger, or fried chicken, or bacon. Mmm. Bacon. But maybe someday I'll make the plunge. I could live on cupcakes.

Oh, and Rita has a similar experience with Guinea Pigs in Peru.


Anonymous said...

I know there shouldn't be a difference, but somehow there is! Dogs look into your eyes like you are their whole world. And they lick my face when I am sad. A chicken has never done that to me.

Anonymous said...

Different people eat different things. I was not as grossed out by this as I expected to be. But I grew up on a little family farm and know how animals become meat. One thing I wonder: Are meat dogs treated differently from pet dogs? Do they bond with their owners? I would guess that they are treated more like livestock, but I could be wrong, I'm often quite wrong. People have pet pigs and steers. I had a pet chicken. No, we didn't eat her. But the coyotes did...


alvinaling said...

Maryp, I definitely know how you feel, but I also know that some people have had similar experiences with birds or even fish. And although it's easier to have this kind of connection with another mammal, why is a dog a pet and a pig food? Certainly they both have similar intelligence.

Carolyn--yes, I think they are treated differently. Eveline describes them going to a place where there were 15 or so dogs kept in the basement, and I think they were all intended to be meat.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the mention, Alvina!!

Someone told me, after my cuy chactado experience, that importing guinea pigs as food is actually illegal in the United States. I was fascinated by this--as if the U.S. government had drawn a line I couldn't personally intuit.

But I just looked it up, and it's not true. Cuy is totally eaten in the U.S.

! :)

Anonymous said...

I just read your friend Eveline's post and WOW, those pictures were hard to look at!

I'm also fascinated by your report of seeing BBQ'ed dog hanging in a window in China. When my relatives and I went, several years back, we were on the alert but never saw any (offered as food, that is).


Anonymous said...

whoa i just saw this...i stopped reading your (or anyone's) blog for a really long time when blogger got blocked over here. now it's unblocked but wikipedia has been re-blocked. sigh. stupid china.