Granted, we need to be sensitive to other countries cultures, even though they often differ greatly from our own.
With our modern emphasis on “diversity,” we’ve learned to appreciate the traditions and norms prevalent elsewhere in the world and to recognize their contributions to a more interesting—if not more ethical—world.
But the latest news from China, which unfortunately provides secondary fodder for vegetarian activists, goes way beyond any level of tolerance or acceptance. Here’s the story:
Despite protests by animal rights activists, a controversial “dog meat festival” will go ahead this week in Yulin, in the Chinese province of Guangxi, which borders Vietnam, according to a report in the South China Morning Post.
(By the way, those protests are taking place online, seeing as there are precious few people willing—or able—to travel to China and protest anything in person.)
As the newspaper phrased it, “The annual festival involving savoring the delights of dog meat hotpot, lychees and strong liquor on the Summer Solstice is a cherished tradition among Yulin locals. Thousands of diners are expected to crowd food streets and enjoy the feast. Animal protection activists estimate more than 10,000 dogs are killed during the festival.”
Animal activists said that they are afraid the demand for dog meat during the festival would lead to the abduction of stray dogs or even pets. But according to the newspaper, Chinese officials said that the dogs “processed” during the event are raised by local dog farms.
Summertime, and the doggies are delicious Okay, this entire story just got worse. “Dog farms?” Where dogs are raised for meat? You thought puppy mills were bad. I can’t imagine the conditions on a dog farm, where the animals are simply bred, fed and dead.
A tradition to die for
Efforts to block the festival, which include open letters to the Yulin government, recruitment of celebrities to condemn the practice and even petitioning to the White House, have angered some locals.
One resident told the newspaper she would defend the festival because it was part of the local tradition.
“It’s unfair to call Yulin people brutal only because we have this tradition to eat dog meat,” she said. “People who call us uncivilized and cruel should stop eating meat first.”
The story quoted Du Yufeng, a member of a Sichuan-based animal welfare organization, said she saw slaughtered dogs on sale in several wet markets in Yulin.