Thursday, February 5, 2009

Culinary imperialism?

Campell Live had a story tonight about Elly Maynard. She is the founder of Sirius GAO and is campaigning to ban the eating of dogs in the Philippines.

I've seen some video about the dog trade that still makes me shudder. Admittedly that was from China, but the footage on Campbell suggested that it's pretty horrendous in the Philippines too. Elly is raising money to buy dogs being sold for food so she can rehabilitate them, and pressuring the Philippine Government to ban the eating of dogs. I find it hard to support her.

If people want to give money to buy and rehabilitate dogs that's their choice, but I'm not sure that artificially stimulating the market like this is a wise way to go about stopping the practice. It is just going to raise demand and make it even more profitable – a sure way to guarantee that it continues either legally or illegally.

Secondly, I really find it objectionable for a New Zealander to be campaigning to ban the eating of dog, simply because in NZ culture we don't eat dog, we keep them as pets. We do eat cows, sheep, pigs, chickens and a host of other animals. Just because Elly Maynard has pet dogs doesn't give her the right to decide the culinary practices of Filipinos.

Now I'm basically a vegetarian. I find the eating of pigs, for example, just as objectionable. They are easily as intelligent and as sensitive as dogs. I don't understand why Elly Maynard thinks eating pigs is ok, but eating dogs is not, nor why she thinks she has the right to dictate to Filipinos what they can eat in their own country.

In any case banning the trade will ensure that treatment gets worse, not better. In my mind the focus should more properly be on the terrible conditions that the dogs are kept in, and the cruel way they are killed. If the trade was properly regulated, with animal welfare standards, then cruelty could be addressed without forcing Filipinos to give up a traditional food.

Actually dog is a traditional food for many people. A number of peoples in Europe have a history of eating dog. Similarly in Asia and in Polynesia.

The real question in my mind is, why be campaigning in Asia when the treatment of pigs and chickens in this country is equally vile? Not to mention vivisection.


Anonymous said...

Exactly what I thought when I saw that, she has no right to go into another culture and dictate to them and try and force them to follow her rules, just because she feels uncomfortable with theirs.

scrubone said...

I have to admit that I've never understood the idea that "our" arbitrary selection of animals to kill is ok, but if "theirs" doesn't then it's not.

Did you know that NZ is actually one of the biggest exporters of horse meat? They plonk a fancy name on it and no one bats an eyelid.

Durham said...

I tried dog meat in China. Too stringy and gamey for my tastes, a bit like goat meat but not unacceptably so.
I certainly wasn't impressed by snake or camel meat however.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering what your motivation is to being a vegetarian?

Anonymous said...

I suspect that intolerance plays a big role in this campaign besides compassion. I bet that if Asians can criticise aspects of New Zealand culture they would be told to mind their own business.

Viagra Online Without Prescription said...

I think this is really sad, but it's the same thing happening every day, just before eating your piece of pork in the microwaves!