News from Korea – owners of dog meat farms slam their First Lady

This news is from Korea:

First lady Kim Keon Hee faces criticism from a group representing dog meat farm owners for her recent remarks calling for an end to the country’s contentious culture of eating dogs.

The group claimed Kim, who is neither a president nor a lawmaker, should maintain neutrality as the role of the first lady is supporting the president.

“Siding with animal rights groups, which are interest groups, and calling for banning dog meat consumption is obvious political activity that exceeds her authority,” the group said in its statement, Thursday.

The comments came as Kim vowed to work to ban dog meat consumption within the tenure of the Yoon Suk Yeol government.

“I will try to put an end to dog meat consumption before the tenure of this government ends. I think that is my duty,” she said during her luncheon with officials from animal rights groups, including Kara, on April 12.

The short version is that the current First Lady is trying to end the culture of eating dogs (and cats) in their country. But dog meat farm owners are calling her move as political and even disrespectful of the country’s culture (of eating dogs and cats).

This is really a very contentious debate.

The Korean dog meat farmers say that eating dogs and cats is “cultural”.

The First Lady is siding with animal rights groups to call for an end of this (for lack of a better term), “culinary culture”.

I once spoke to a senior vet about this. Of course we in Malaysia are appalled by the practice of eating dogs and cats, but the senior vet had his own argument. He asked, “Do you eat chicken and fish?  If you do, then who are you to criticise people who eat dogs and cats? All of them are animals with feelings.”

He is right.

That is why at one time, one dog-rescue organisation in Malaysia clarified that their members are not animal lovers; they are dog lovers. Period. And yes, their members eat chicken. They are not vegetarians.

You know how it is that in some Chinese families, the reunion dinner on CNY eve must have a certain number of different meats? I don’t remember if it’s seven or nine because our family does not practise this at all. Now, isn’t this practice just encouraging slaughterhouses, farms and butchers to provide those meats for the festival? And doesn’t this make those families accomplices to the slaughter?

It does. No matter how people try to spin it, it does. I’ve heard the usual defense of “But we didn’t do the killing”. Sorry, that doesn’t work. It is a simple case of supply-and-demand.

And there is another defense where some people say that “certain” animals are meant to be eaten while “certain” animals are not.

Well, who decides?

A good example is when I told a friend that rabbit meat solved Indy’s GI problem. I received a solid lecture from her, reprimanding me for feeding rabbit meat to Indy. “How could you?”, she said. “The rabbit is a mild-mannered animal, it isn’t meant as food.”

I know, I know, I love rabbits too. I’m born in the Year of the Rabbit, not that that matters. But if I did not feed rabbit meat to Indy at the time, he might have died from the bloody diarrhoea that wouldn’t stop. Indy had a serious food allergy problem, he needed a novel protein to mitigate the problem. Rabbit meat worked.

But talking about mild-mannered, aren’t most animals who are eaten as food also mild-mannered and herbivorous? The cow, the pig, the goat, the deer, the chicken, the fish, the prawn, etc. – aren’t they all mild-mannered animals?

Why is it okay to feed chicken to cats but not okay to feed them rabbit?

The chicken is a highly intelligent animal too. And they definitely have feelings and fear. Some people keep chickens as pets. I did, in my childhood.

And the friend who reprimanded me feeds lamb to her many dogs. You don’t hear me reprimanding her for that.

The lamb is also a very mild-mannered feeling animal, right?

Dogs are omnivores and cats are obligate carnivores so if we look after them, we have to feed them meat.

Some dogs can be vegetarian, but the debate is still going on. Cats? No. Cats are carnivores.

And of course many humans are vegetarians and vegans, but (1) plants scream when they are being cut, and (2) many critters are killed in vegetable farming too.

So…are vegetarians worm-lovers? Are they caterpillar-lovers? Grasshopper-lovers? Cricket-lovers?

Perhaps a moderate far-from-perfect approach is best.

Do what you can, as far as you can, be as kind as you can be.