Who Eats Dog Nowadays Anyway??

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Common Breed of Dog for Consumption

In a follow up to my last blog post about cultural food practices in China, I found an article from the “Winnipeg Free Press” that discussed the ethicality of eating dog.  For the past six centuries in Jinhua City, Zhejiang province a dog eating festival takes place where 5,000-10,000 canines are killed and consumed.  This deep rooted tradition dates back to 1389 when a “Ming dynasty military hero who was trying to capture Jinhua decided to kill all the dogs so they wouldn’t bark at night and disrupt his invasion.”  Apparently this practice was stopped before the October 18th, 2011 celebration by a multitude of Internet supporters who condemned the practice of slaughtering dogs for food.  The Internet’s successful intrusion into a relatively grounded cultural practice raises a number of questions.

One thing that the article didn’t cover, however, was the demographic of these Internet crusaders.  Was the main contingent of the activists from the “dog-friendly” West trying to intervene into a local custom? Or were these e-protestors from the surrounding area?  The article only states: “Photographs and graphic accounts of the slaughter have circulated for the last few weeks over the Internet, with tens of thousands of people expressing outrage.”  While I couldn’t find the sources for these protests on the Winnipeg ariticle, I did find another articlefrom the Shanghaiist.com that reported the cancellation of the festival came from the “Jinhua Daily” and that an activist tweet from “Sina Weibo” (a Chinese Twitter) was reposted over 55,000 times.

I think I am getting closer to my research topic through the discovery of this article.  Since a majority of the protests came from the Chinese portion of the Internet, it is safe to say that the activists were from a younger generation.  I could possibly find a place where dog is sold and observe the type of customers that purchase man’s best friend and then interview them.  How many of those people that eat dog own a pet of their own? Is there a religious aspect to this? Or is it purely generational?  The article states that one of the main reasons for the protests was because of the unethical treatment of the animals before their slaughter.  If the animals were ethically handled would those same people still have an issue with the festival?

Personally, I don’t believe there is anything wrong with the consumption of dog meat as long as the meat is handled safely and ethically.  While I was in China in high school, I had the opportunity to try a couple of weird foods but was unable to get my hands on dog.  The fish eye had a nice crunch to it…Although I do have two dogs of my own, I think I will be able to stomach it.  I won’t know until I try it!