Hello everyone! Today I come at you with a topic that has recently hit Western headlines, and has caused quite a controversy amongst people all over the world. So the topic today? Dog meat.
Most people reading this will probably screw their face up at the idea alone, but I’m not just going to discuss dog meat in general, I am going to discuss the Chinese annual festival that revolves entirely around eating dog meat (and cat meat too) – The ‘Yulin Dog Meat Eating Festival’ or more commonly known as the ‘Yulin Festival’.
This annual event is held in Yulin, located in the province of Guangxi, China, and is a celebration of the summer solstice; in recent years roughly 10,000 dogs are butchered for the festival alone, and are consumed with lychees and washed down with strong liquor. It is common knowledge that many countries in the world including Korea, Vietnam and Switzerland besides China consume dog meat with it still being popular in many parts of Korea and China today; as an example, the ‘Nureongi’ dog is a landrace dog native to Korea and is commonly used as a livestock dog raised for its meat, and are not often kept as pets.
In China it is sometimes referred to as ‘fragrant meat’ and is believed to have health benefits such as medicinal properties, the ability to raise body temperature and some even say it keeps evil ghosts at bay. The consumption of dog meat dates back thousands of years, even as far back as 500BC and it is still common to find restaurants in Southern China selling dog meat dishes where dogs are raised specially on farms for food purposes.
And it’s not just the West who are against this, as due to criminal acts such as dogs stolen for dog meat and modernised thinking with regards to dogs, organisations such as the Chinese Companion Animal Protection Network (CCAPN) have began movement against the consumption of dog and cat meat, gaining positive response from the areas that they have campaigned in within China. Due to acts like these and local governments putting restrictions on the use of dog meat, consumption of dogs has decreased and is continuing to do so, with it dropping by a third in 2014 compared to 2013. There is also a woman who has saved 50,000 Yuan (roughly £5,000) of her own savings which she will use to save as many animals as possible before the Yulin Festival, and bring them back to her safe house.
So this festival will take place on June 21st 2015 (tomorrow) and here in the West it has hit the headlines hard, and petitions are being shared, tweeted and posted between everyone and anyone who cares about animals. A couple of people who have been fairly popular on the front of raising awareness for this are Ricky Gervais and Ian Somerhalder. They have been desperately posting and tweeting with regards to the Yulin Festival in the hope of getting as many people as possible to sign the petitions available in an attempt to shut it down.
The festival is a recent event having started in the 21st century, but an exact date as to when the festival started is difficult to find, another reason why so many are outraged by it since it isn’t a cultural tradition. The news claims that the majority of the animals involved in the festival are stolen or strays, and that they will be beaten, burned or boiled alive as they are prepared for the festival, their last minutes are full of fear and pain before meeting a cruel, inhumane and devastating death. Some organisations and reporters have managed to enter the slaughterhouses where everything takes place and documented the disgusting environment that these animals are kept and slaughtered in; crammed in cages and emaciated as they watch others brutally beaten to death before them.
This act of animal cruelty is sickening, it is beyond me why people would ever want to treat animals that way, but why are we really angry? Is it because we can’t imagine our adorable pooches being put through such treatment? Or because they are eaten? Why does it make you angry? It’s time to take a look at the bigger picture here.
Note: I stand against animal cruelty of any kind; I am not a vegetarian or vegan, I do eat meat on a daily basis and I am not ashamed of that, but I will not stand for inhumane behaviour towards animals of any type. I am not in any way, shape or form justifying the acts that the people involved in the Yulin Festival commit. I am simply putting a topic up for discussion, perhaps to make readers think deeper into the situation than simply what they see or personally believe.
Okay, I just wanted to stick that in there in case someone out there reading this decides to hate on me for putting across what I am about to say.
Firstly, yes I am a meat-eater; I thoroughly enjoy meat and animal harvested products such as milk, cheese, honey etc. I understand why vegans boycott animal produce, the less people who eat or take from animals then the less harm or inhumane behaviour there is towards animals right? I guess that’s correct in a sense. I personally don’t see anything wrong with consuming animal produce like cheese, and I always try to make sure that I buy from free-range or organic because I do understand that like anything else in this world there is always some corruption when it comes to a business and profit making, and I don’t take any enjoyment from the idea of cows having pregnancy forced upon them in order to produce milk. However I do know that many places are not like that, especially since I live in the South-West of England where there is an abundance of farms and people selling home-crops, farming with animals that are cared for in a loving and respected manner. And before anyone argues against me, just because I eat meat and animal produce DOES NOT mean that I do not care for animals.
I do not support hunting methods, I really don’t like the idea that people kill to eat let alone kill for sport. Living where I do, it’s not just the upper class who like to take their guns out on the weekend; I know many people who shoot ducks, rabbits, grouse, pigeons and even deer to take home for supper, but this makes me uncomfortable. They don’t do it in an inhumane way or anything, the kills are quick and clean, but these animals are innocent and living life as a wild animal, they are not controlled by humans and therefore do not belong to us. I wouldn’t like to be served a wild animal for dinner, I only tried duck a few years ago for the first time and that is a real rarity for me to have; I don’t really like fish but even that makes me uncomfortable to some degree, especially if it is served on my plate as a whole fish! I could take this discussion onto a whole other level regarding killing animals but let’s stick to the main topic of discussion. The main types of meat I eat are chicken, pork, lamb and beef.
Why? Because we bred them for it. It is many people’s livelihoods, breeding animals such as pigs, sheep, chicken and cows for meat. I know other animals such as ducks, geese, turkeys and rabbits are also bred for this but I tend to stick with eating the main four. Despite knowing that these animals are living creatures with their own life, I still choose to eat their meat knowing that they were slaughtered for my plate. I eat their meat knowing that they lived a good life, were fed well and cared for up until the point that they were given a humane, quick death – make a mental note of this.
I can live with that, I can deal with that. I cannot deal with the illegal battery farms that are still hidden in the UK or the famous companies like Bernard Matthews who treat the livestock disgracefully, forcing them to live in cramped, unsanitary living conditions surrounded by those that died early, and forcing them to have an inhumane, painful and dragged out death. That is disgusting, that I cannot deal with.
Top photo is credited to the watermark, the only photo that I could find of a horrifying mid-act moment; because of this, I cannot support or even try to understand the idea behind the Yulin Festival regardless of cultural differences. It disgusts me, it saddens me and above all, it angers me. Is it because they are killing cats and dogs? No. I have known about some countries eating dogs and when I found out about the Yulin Festival, I won’t lie and say that it hugely bothered me. Most people, especially in Western countries, would and are in a massive uproar over this because they are killing dogs; man’s best friend, the loveable, cuddly, loyal companions that we know today are being served for dinner.
But that didn’t bother me, it only bothered me when I discovered that the slaughterhouses are not only very similar to the battery farms we despise here in the UK, but are 10x worse! The battery farms here tend to slit their throat, shoot them, electrify them or break their neck, but those slaughtering for the Yulin Festival bludgeon the animals to death, burn them alive or throw them into boiling water. These animals receive a slow, excruciating death, and some are even beaten with a hammer but left alive even when they are being gutted and chopped apart because it ‘keeps the meat fresh’. Our battery farms are awful but this is beyond comprehension as to how people can have the guts to do that to something that is not only innocent but has proven to be a loyal and loving member of the family.
I can understand why so many people are against it purely because they are killing, what is known to us, as household pets (and many are stolen loved household pets as they still wear their collar in the slaughterhouse); to me however, it was purely the treatment that these animals were given in their last moments of life, especially since many were pets who only a few days before prior to being stolen were being pampered and loved.
So please, help to stop this disgraceful act of cruelty by clicking the links below and signing a petition today. With everyone’s help we can start to clamp down on such acts of crime, not just for the animal cruelty but the many other criminal acts that are necessary to make the Yulin Festival happen. We might not be able to save the dogs this time, but with enough support and media coverage, we can raise awareness and help to continue the decline in dog meat consumption and hopefully the ban on it for next year.
If you have a dog, cat or any pet that you love dearly, take a moment to look at them and then imagine them being beaten to near-death and boiled alive, or having their skull-smashed in before being impaled and their body gutted and blowtorched. As a last minute thought, some people might be wondering why the fact that dogs are killed didn’t really bother me. The reason being is that despite being a dog-lover, I understand the cultural differences. The people of China have eaten dogs for thousands of years, and although the Yulin Festival is surrounded by many criminal and illegal acts, there are many places out there that butcher and sell dog meat that has been specifically bred for food purposes. There are farms and humane slaughterhouses that produce dog meat just like we have in the UK for cows; to them, eating dogs is normal and the dogs are a form of livestock not pets, just like the Nureongi breed in Korea.
This is the topic that I wanted to put forward for discussion or at least to make people think. Why is it terrible for them to eat dogs and not for us to eat cows or pigs?
As Ricky Gervais tweeted – “Stopping the #YulinDogMeatFestival isn’t about objecting to which animals they eat. It’s about the disgusting f****** skinning them alive.”
So please remember that ANY act of cruelty to an animal is animal cruelty, not just because the animal is considered a pet.