France’s Society for the Protection of Animals (SPA) appealed to Chinese President Hu Jintao to put an end to the cruel slaughter of dogs, which it blasted as an affront.
“The SPA does not set itself up as a judge of a country and its culture, but is asking for animals to be killed in a dignified way,” the SPA said.
“Millions of dogs (in China) are hanged, beaten with sticks and butchered while they are still alive,” it said in a press release.
The organisation added that it had tried to get French media to accept an advertisement as part of its campaign against dog butchering, but the picture — of an animal being cut to pieces in a pool of blood — was so graphic that it had been rejected by every newspaper.
The upcoming Chinese New Year on Sunday ushers in the Year of the Dog. Up to 10 million dogs are slaughtered every year in China, many killed slowly and cruelly to supposedly enhance the meat’s flavour, according to animal rights groups.
I have mixed feelings about this. It makes us feel good to protest against killing and eating those animals we love, like dogs and cats, but aren’t we all turning a blind eye to the fact that all kinds of animals suffer so that we might eat? That’s not to give dog-killing the thumbs-up; I’m against it. But do we ask other countries to give up aspects of their culture so that we can feel a little more comfortable, as we dig into a juicy veal chop?
I can see protesting to demand the dogs be treated more humanely. But as long as most of our own entrees come from the slaughterhouse, we really don’t have much of an argument.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.