Yulin Dog Meat Festival: Are we asking the right questions?

NPR reported today that The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is going on as scheduled, despite international protest.

NPR reported today that The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is going on as scheduled, despite international protest.

NPR reported today that The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is going on as scheduled, despite international protest.

For people used to keeping dogs as pets, the idea of eating dog meat is horrifying. The public outcry reminded me of how upset people were a few years ago about U.S. horse slaughter. Stories like these shed a light on the interesting lines we draw as a society about which animals we will eat and which we won’t.

Why is eating a dog or horse considered taboo, while most people eat pig and cow meat without a second thought?

You’re probably tired of hearing about how pigs and cows are smart and loving. Vegans! We can be such a bummer. But news like the outcry over the Yulin Dog Meat Festival really does call our seemingly arbitrary social constructs about animal foods into question.

Pigs are very intelligent creatures. They’re smarter than dogs, according to IQ tests, and they’re certainly as lovable. Check out Esther the Wonder Pig getting her bath. Notice that she comes when called and has learned some basic commands, just like a dog:

Cows are also intelligent and emotional animals. Herds of cattle have social structures and complex relationships, including deep friendships. Look at the beautiful bond between this mama and baby cow living at Farm Sanctuary:

In a farm setting, that baby cow would have been separated from the mother shortly after birth, so the farm could collect the mother’s milk for humans to drink. Once a dairy cow’s milk runs dry, she’s forcibly impregnated again, so the cycle can continue until she’s unable to bear calves. If the calves she births are female, they grow up to become dairy cows, living the same grueling life their mothers did. Male calves are sold to livestock farms for slaughter.

If you’re outraged about the Yulin Dog Meat Festival or at the idea of eating animals like dogs, cats, or horses, you have to ask yourself why you draw the line between which animals you’ll eat and which you won’t. Is a dog or a cat that different from a cow or a pig? When you look at how these animals behave, the answer seems to be no. Does “bacon is delicious” really trump the rights of intelligent, social creatures?

Image copyright vytophoto.

6 thoughts on “Yulin Dog Meat Festival: Are we asking the right questions?”

  1. Jen Brikowski

    I agree which is why I am a vegetarian. While I know that our slaughtering of animals is not the most humane, this festival and how the dogs are beaten, tortured and killed prior plus also cats, is not even in the same league as what happens here. We don’t boil animals alive, skin them alive, etc. Even if they were using pigs and cows at Yulin we should still be outraged at the treatment these animals receive prior to being slaughtered. Finally, the idea that some of these cats and dogs are stolen pets gives more reason to be outraged.

    1. In Yulin they do not boil,skin or butcher animals alive that is just animal rights BS they drag the dogs out club them to death and skin some for soup and leave the skin on for some that they fry like fried chicken!! It is true that some butchers beat the dogs for several minutes before clubbing them because it raises the adrenaline levels in the dog and some Chinese think they taste better,it is no longer a common practice because of the outcry of the loons!? People need to go to the festival themselves instead of listening to activists that have an agenda,also I don’t think it is the right of westerners to try and demand the Chinese not eat this or that they need to mind their own business!! I have been to China at the festival twice and although not pleasant it wasn’t different form many slaughter houses in the US or Mexico. Americans kill 2 million dogs a year and throw them in a landfill does that make any sense dead is dead meat is meat??!

  2. I previously held the same stance as the author – that meat is meat so what is the difference? Their society eats dogs and we eat cows and pigs. However, these dogs are tortured because the meat is believed to taste better than if it were humanely killed. They are literally butchered while alive. This is unacceptable. Many practices here in the US are unacceptable so I stopped eating cows and pigs too.

    1. Exactly. What happens at the Yulin Dog Meat Festival is vicious and disgusting. I haven’t seen petitions anywhere to stop certain countries from eating dog meat. The cruelty, both in the U.S. and outside of it, is the issue.

  3. It’s not so much that they eat dogs and cats but the way the manner in which they are killed. They skin these animals alive and boil them while still breathing because they believe it makes the meat taste better. I would be livid if this was happening to the meat I eat. Sorry you can’t claim a higher road here.

    They string them up by all four legs and while they wiggle and howl and yell in pain the skin them slowly. Or toss them in boiling water alive.

    Also a lot of these dogs are peoples loving pets that have been stolen. How would you feel if your family pet was stolen and died a horrible death like the one described above.

    And it’s not just dogs and cats these “people” do this too.

  4. The people who are in charge of the Yulin Festival should be told that all other countries and parts of China that don’t go along with the torture and killings of these dogs, will boycott Yulin! It will not have any future dealings with others as long as they continue to do these killings!!

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