Why Don't We Eat Dogs?

Why don't Americans eat dogs? There are three to four million dogs euthanized annually in the United States. Are we throwing away food? What makes it so taboo? I know, they are cute and cuddly, but so are sheep. They are our companions, but often times so are farm animals. I'm not suggesting we start eating Fido, I'm just putting this out there for your consideration (and to make some people mad).

From the Wall Street Journal:

By JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER
Despite the fact that it's perfectly legal in 44 states, eating "man's best friend" is as taboo as a man eating his best friend. Even the most enthusiastic carnivores won't eat dogs. TV guy and sometimes cooker Gordon Ramsay can get pretty macho with lambs and piglets when doing publicity for something he's selling, but you'll never see a puppy peeking out of one of his pots. And though he once said he'd electrocute his children if they became vegetarian, one can't help but wonder what his response would be if they poached the family pooch.

Dogs are wonderful, and in many ways unique. But they are remarkably unremarkable in their intellectual and experiential capacities. Pigs are every bit as intelligent and feeling, by any sensible definition of the words. They can't hop into the back of a Volvo, but they can fetch, run and play, be mischievous and reciprocate affection. So why don't they get to curl up by the fire? Why can't they at least be spared being tossed on the fire? Our taboo against dog eating says something about dogs and a great deal about us.

The French, who love their dogs, sometimes eat their horses.

The Spanish, who love their horses, sometimes eat their cows.

The Indians, who love their cows, sometimes eat their dogs.

While written in a much different context, George Orwell's words (from "Animal Farm") apply here: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

So who's right? What might be the reasons to exclude canine from the menu? The selective carnivore suggests:

Don't eat companion animals. But dogs aren't kept as companions in all of the places they are eaten. And what about our petless neighbors? Would we have any right to object if they had dog for dinner?

OK, then: Don't eat animals with significant mental capacities. If by "significant mental capacities" we mean what a dog has, then good for the dog. But such a definition would also include the pig, cow and chicken. And it would exclude severely impaired humans.

Then: It's for good reason that the eternal taboos—don't fiddle with your crap, kiss your sister, or eat your companions—are taboo. Evolutionarily speaking, those things are bad for us. But dog eating isn't a taboo in many places, and it isn't in any way bad for us. Properly cooked, dog meat poses no greater health risks than any other meat.

Dog meat has been described as "gamey" "complex," "buttery" and "floral." And there is a proud pedigree of eating it. Fourth-century tombs contain depictions of dogs being slaughtered along with other food animals. It was a fundamental enough habit to have informed language itself: the Sino-Korean character for "fair and proper" (yeon) literally translates into "as cooked dog meat is delicious." Hippocrates praised dog meat as a source of strength. Dakota Indians enjoyed dog liver, and not so long ago Hawaiians ate dog brains and blood. Captain Cook ate dog. Roald Amundsen famously ate his sled dogs. (Granted, he was really hungry.) And dogs are still eaten to overcome bad luck in the Philippines; as medicine in China and Korea; to enhance libido in Nigeria and in numerous places, on every continent, because they taste good. For centuries, the Chinese have raised special breeds of dogs, like the black-tongued chow, for chow, and many European countries still have laws on the books regarding postmortem examination of dogs intended for human consumption.

Of course, something having been done just about everywhere is no kind of justification for doing it now. But unlike all farmed meat, which requires the creation and maintenance of animals, dogs are practically begging to be eaten. Three to four million dogs and cats are euthanized annually. The simple disposal of these euthanized dogs is an enormous ecological and economic problem. But eating those strays, those runaways, those not-quite-cute-enough-to-take and not-quite-well-behaved-enough-to-keep dogs would be killing a flock of birds with one stone and eating it, too.
Read the rest here.

More reads:
What's wrong with eating dogs? - By William Saletan - Slate Magazine
Dog Meat Recipes
Dog - The Congo Cookbook (African recipes)
Cooked Dog Meat Recipes
Pooch Master: Dog Meat Recipes From Korea
Dog meat - Wikipedia

Nutritiotional Value of Dog Meat:
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 260 kcal 1100 kJ
Carbohydrates 0.1 g
Dietary fiber 0 g
Fat 20.2 g
Protein 19 g
Water 60.1 g
Vitamin A equiv. 3.6 μg 0%
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.12 mg 9%
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.18 mg 12%
Niacin (Vit. B3) 1.9 mg 13%
Vitamin C 3 mg 5%
Calcium 8 mg 1%
Iron 2.8 mg 22%
Phosphorus 168 mg 24%
Potassium 270 mg 6%
Sodium 72 mg 3%
Ash 0.8 g

Percentages are relative to US
recommendations for adults.
Source: Yong-Geun Ann (1999)

(Photo illustration by Darrell Eager)

Note: If any of this offends you, lighten up.

2 comments:

  1. Reminds me of...

    http://art-bin/art/omodest.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. The most different blog post I've ever read.

    ReplyDelete