Mon dieu – the French launch protest at Chinese dog killing

dog china.jpg

Compassion or hypocrisy?

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.

The Discussion: 51 Comments

I vote for ‘hypocrisy’. I’m very interested to see what other people think of this, unfortunately not many seem to have anything to say :(

January 29, 2006 @ 2:05 am | Comment

I ate dog couple of times. It was very long time ago. I must say chinese do not eat dog as often as korean, so even you think it worth protesting, it’s not fair to only protest to chinese.

Personally I don’t have any particular animal other than beef, chicken, or lamb that I must have to eat.

However,
I do not agree making animals sufferring too much during “execution”.

I do not agree in south china somewhere people eat monkeys as it is TOO Close to human, i think it “cross the boundary”

I do not eat animals while it is still alive before I walked in restaurant. I mean, i will eat meat alreayd dead instead of those still in cages waiting to be cooked.

Basically, I think mankinds all should be trying to become vegeterian as a whole.

January 29, 2006 @ 3:08 am | Comment

Chinese “Year Of The Dog” Google Logo. What A Year It Will Be For Dogs in China…

Setting aside the protest logos we’ve all been creating to mock Google’s caving in to Chinese censorship, this is the REAL logo currently at Google.cn, obviously to usher in the Year of the Dog (happy version linked here). The REAL…

January 29, 2006 @ 3:56 am | Comment

Richard
The issue is not “turning a blind eye to the fact that all kinds of animals suffer so that we might eat.” It’s very simple and has been dealt with a number of times on your site. It is simply as this group puts it killing these dogs “in a dignified way.”
“Millions of dogs are hanged, beaten with sticks and butchered while they are still alive.”
What exactly are you morally unsure of? We do not torture cows to death and laugh as we boil chickens to death; how then can you cloud the issue with this “well, maybe we can skin dogs and cats alive because we kill cows to eat.”
By using such a vacuous argument I think it only invites more of the same simplistic coimmentators who keep writing the same apologia for all things CCP without any attempt at rationalisation. It’s getting a bit tired to have to wade through. I’ve had enough, especially this past month, reading such things as how maybe Chinese people enjoying victimising animals should be accepted and applauded and anyway the West is hypocritical because they voted for Bush. (sic)

January 29, 2006 @ 4:41 am | Comment

Keir,

I am not enjoying victimising animals so maybe 1.3 billion minus 1 are like you said. Oh, my girl friend is not either, so maybe 1.3 million minus 2; oops, my mum is not either, minus 3, my father either, minus 4.

I think I should tell people who did those dirty jobs to cry while working….oh maybe it’s not a good idea either, because you would say CCP are forcing them to do it, right?

I am sure you are not the one enjoying shooting korean civilians, I am also sure you are not the one burning vietnamese villages and I am sure you are not the one enjoying iraqi women giving you blow jobs. Wow, why did I see laugh on their face? It must be wrong! The soldier that receiving blow job must be crying while ejeclation!

January 29, 2006 @ 5:16 am | Comment

Hm. Xin, do you realise that when you even mention Muslim women “giving blow jobs”, you’re offending them? In their culture you just don’t talk about women that way.

January 29, 2006 @ 5:27 am | Comment

PS, and the point for Muslim women is not so much about whether the sex was forced – the point for them is, that you just don’t TALK about them in that way.

January 29, 2006 @ 5:28 am | Comment

Very interesting Ivan,

It seems I am offending them instead of those heros holding M4 Rifle.

January 29, 2006 @ 5:59 am | Comment

Dogs and cats are simply viewed differently in some parts of the world. In some they’re primarily food and resources, in others they are exclusively pets (experiments notwithstanding). I think China is inbetween, leaning more and more to the pet side but definately not exclusively in many areas.

“Millions of dogs are hanged, beaten with sticks and butchered while they are still alive.”
What exactly are you morally unsure of? We do not torture cows to death and laugh as we boil chickens to death; how then can you cloud the issue with this “well, maybe we can skin dogs and cats alive because we kill cows to eat.”

Keir

I have seen video of American workers laughing and having fun while torturing chickens. I also saw another video of a worker slicing open a cow, who was still alive and moving, while it was hung upside down on some sort of chain or hook. All of these pretty gruesome videos were from the PETA website. I am sure there are videos of worst treatment in American factory farms that I have not seen yet.

I know that most factory farms in America follow the standards regarding the humane treatment its animals. Just like most Chinese keep dogs as pets exclusively and do not eat them. But obviously if video exists of American workers torturing animals in the factories, it means that its still occuring and there needs to be stricter enforcement and inspection of the industry.

January 29, 2006 @ 6:17 am | Comment

Does anybody else think that this is a little bit funny coming from the French? Surely they can take care of their own countrymen’s penchant for force-feeding geese until their liver swells up like a ballon for that rare treat called fois gras.

Of course just because they are hypocrites does not mean they ain’t right. The practice of inflicting excessive cruelty to animals is ont right whereever it occurs in the world. I would say that it is especially despicable when done to dogs, because so many of them bring us happiness by sharing our lives and giving us their love. But that’s my personal view as a dog owner.

January 29, 2006 @ 7:38 am | Comment

As culturally snobbish as the French are, who the in hell are they to attack another nation for their culinary preferences?

I don’t like the idea of dogs being slaughtered for food, but I also realize that we attach different meaning to such animals in the West. Though I wouldn’t eat it at home, I’ve tried it in China and it actually tastes pretty damn good.

January 29, 2006 @ 7:48 am | Comment

Battlepanda, good point about the fois gras. Seems like this French group should focus their energies on their own backyard before taking on animal abuse half a world away.

January 29, 2006 @ 8:18 am | Comment

And think of all those frogs in wheelchairs.

January 29, 2006 @ 8:43 am | Comment

I think there are two issues here.

One is cultural affinity for certain animals – which animals should be killed? Public opinion depends on culturally whether or not animals belong in the pet or food category. Issues arise when cultures have different sets of animals in each group. In China, which in recent history has not been a nation of abundance, there is little reason for there to be any animals in this cateogry. Anyone that has been to France and seen the dog poop in the cities know that they love their canine pets. If dogs, cats, etc gain popularity as pets in China (and they certainly already are) eventually the chinese perception will change.

The other issue is the method of killing. The most distanced the killing is from human interaction, the less people seem to be upset. Cows for example are killed by nail guns to the head, automated for high volume – relatively quick but i’m sure just as cruel. Jews like their cows drains of blood before the cow is killed because their god says so. What drives this is cost – a nailgun is cheaper than a band of laborers with beating sticks. China’s cheap labor justifys the latter. The extrusion process for Turkeys for example, involved throwing them into a machine tube and it’s not visible that the guts are torn out and filled with fat. So when the China gets richer per capita, and these tasks get automated, people won’t be complaining anymore, since it’ll be the same worldwide.

January 29, 2006 @ 10:01 am | Comment

Don’t frog legs regenerate?

January 29, 2006 @ 10:26 am | Comment

animal assisted suicide, or genetically modified animal brain (for no pain)

January 29, 2006 @ 10:39 am | Comment

“We do not torture cows.”

We do torture calves to get “milk-fed veal,” however. Check it out; it’s hideous what’s done to those calves. I stopped eating veal years ago.

While it isn’t necessary to torture cattle and other animals to be slaughtered for meat, I don’t know if they are treated as humanely as they could be. Modern “factory farming” practices cause animals to lead miserably confined lives, very unlike the way farm animals have been treated in the past.

January 29, 2006 @ 11:12 am | Comment

I thought France’s neighbors to the east, (the Swiss not the Germans) also had a tradition of eating dog? Is this true?

January 29, 2006 @ 12:18 pm | Comment

Hypocrisy. The French force-feed geese hormones and fat-laden gruel through massive metal tubes stuck down their esophagi to get foie gras and down feathers…with nary a peep from the effete SPA, no doubt enjoying their beef wellingtons as they write this.

January 29, 2006 @ 12:40 pm | Comment

if you have a dog or are attached to your dog, isn’t it weird to see their fellow members slaughtered for food? that’s one reason i converted to vegetarianism.

if you ate dog meat, how can you look your dog in the eye again? if you see this as no moral quandry then i suggest we start looking at dead humans as a source of meat. i hear they taste really good too.

for those who think american factory farming is a piece of cake for animals, http://themeatrix.com .

January 29, 2006 @ 1:04 pm | Comment

But xs, your dog is not a vegetarian, and shouldn’t be.

t_co,
Do you know for sure that the French SPA have not spoken out against Fois Gras too?

January 29, 2006 @ 4:17 pm | Comment

Liu YiXi wrote:
“Battlepanda, good point about the fois gras. Seems like this French group should focus their energies on their own backyard before taking on animal abuse half a world away.”

Sounds like dogs are in taiwanese menu too, YiXi~~~. lol

I hardly recall any evidence that in history chinese owned dogs as pets, they generally used dogs as a guard or servant especially in those “bad guys” house. Until today dog is still an offend when refering to a man. I mean, you can say “she is so cute like a little cat or kittie” but no way to say “like a dog”.

With more and more people having dogs as pets, fewer and fewer people would eat them in today’s China.

And, just a side note, as far as I am concerned, I don’t think we chinese eat cat, when some you guys mentioned it, I nearly threw out last time.

Also, though meat like dogs, deer, donkey are available, they are not commonly used by public. In that case, I doubt the processing of those meat are under certain industry standard. So still better not eat them often. They don’t provide unique nutrition anyway.

Pekingduck is an exception. I love it. I can eat a whole duck. ;)

January 29, 2006 @ 4:39 pm | Comment

Oh guys, By the way:

Since last time the muslin roit in France, and also I heard that government even banned muslin girls wearing head cover, I already took France out of my list of “Western Democratic Countries”. ;p

In China muslin men would wear a white hat, I never heard it was ever banned.

BTW, I realised that English speakers kinda don’t like french speakers. The other time I had dinner with a guy from UK we were working for same company. I asked him about french, and I did hear an english version of “what chinese talked about japanese.” It seems neighbours never get along well.

January 29, 2006 @ 4:51 pm | Comment

Does anybody know what percentage of the world is vegetarian. More importantly, is this percentage increasing or decreasing?

I’m guessing vegetarians are a dying breed, but that’s just speculation.

January 29, 2006 @ 4:57 pm | Comment

many dogs live long and well on a vegetarian diet. look at the diets of dogs adopted by buddhist monks or buddhist practitioners. even if my dog isn’t a vegetarian, he isn’t about to eat another dog.

i believe the percentage of vegetarians are increasing. but shouldn’t you meat eaters be happy? more meat for you?

January 29, 2006 @ 5:07 pm | Comment

XS, if you feed your dog commercially produced dog food, your dog is not only eating the remains of other dogs, but also horses, pigs and many kinds of other animals.

Nice to know, eh?

January 29, 2006 @ 6:19 pm | Comment

Terry asked: Don’t frog legs regenerate?

Terry your must have fallen asleep in your biology classes. Frogs are not the same as lizards.

It’s a damn nuisance, isn’t it. Otherwise farming frog legs would be a very viable business.

January 29, 2006 @ 7:25 pm | Comment

Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

(Macbeth, Act IV, Scene 1)

January 29, 2006 @ 7:29 pm | Comment

Fat Cat,

Maybe Terry was confused by the fact that frogs are an asexual species rather than being able to rejuvenate extremities.

Wait, are we talking about the people or the amphibians? Then again, I guess that applies to both :P

January 29, 2006 @ 10:00 pm | Comment

gordon,

i presume you are feeding your dogs substandard commercial dog food mass marketed to western consumers and recommended by most vets. do a little research and you can buy a good dog food with real premium meat, no corn, no beef byproducts and no soy. many dog owners have cottoned onto the commercial dog food industries’ tactics. i presume you are not a dog owner.

January 30, 2006 @ 12:05 am | Comment

Dogs are nice animals.
Pigs also.
Some other animals are quite nice too.
French food is great.
Chinese food is great too.
Germans don’t eat dogs.
Dogs are sacred animals in Germany.

January 30, 2006 @ 3:40 am | Comment

oh man here i am reading these comments and some of them taking the high road of “what? it’s really not my country and so we do bad things too, so we really shouldn’t say anything.’

Folk, this is just plain f-ing sick–no matter how you cut it. As long as you adhere to some precious sense of thinking you are some bloody highbrow, you will continue to whine and pout, but you really don’t say crap.

What the Chinese do to dogs is sick. Comparisons don’t even come close.

If it walks like a duck, quacks like duck…

China is a psychotically sick country filled with psychotic sub-human people.

I feel immense sorrow for a few Chinese people.

I feel greater sorrow and outrage at foreigners who try to paint everything with the same brush, and attempt to justify what is CLEARLY WRONG.

Cowards!

January 30, 2006 @ 4:08 am | Comment

Mister lincoln is not a nice animal.
Surely doesn’t know how to cook.
Surely doesn’t like Elvis.
Germans love Elvis.

January 30, 2006 @ 4:33 am | Comment

Shulan,

are you german?

January 30, 2006 @ 6:05 am | Comment

Tadppoles regenerate their tails…I wonder how tasty they are.

January 30, 2006 @ 6:43 am | Comment

Not all but some shulans are Germans.
This Shulan definitely is German.
Shulans love to have a long, nice siesta after breakfast.
Shulans sometimes forget to pause their siesta to have dinner.
Dogs are nice animals.

January 30, 2006 @ 7:08 am | Comment

Okay, so they don’t regenerate their tails yet, just wait, they will someday.

January 30, 2006 @ 7:09 am | Comment

XS said:

i presume you are feeding your dogs substandard commercial dog food mass marketed to western consumers and recommended by most vets. do a little research and you can buy a good dog food with real premium meat, no corn, no beef byproducts and no soy. many dog owners have cottoned onto the commercial dog food industries’ tactics. i presume you are not a dog owner.

Most people in my family raise German Shepherds and I’m not talking about those damn skiddish showdogs either, but your right, I am not a dog owner at the moment.

You’re also right about being able to find premium dog foods that do not contain the unhealthy ingredients that the majority of commercially produced dog foods have in them, but I don’t know that I’ve seen any of the high quality dog foods like that in China. From my observations, most people in China don’t even really know how to properly care for their dogs – they’re still making the adjustment from dish to pet.

January 30, 2006 @ 8:03 am | Comment

Lincoln Said:

Folk, this is just plain f-ing sick–no matter how you cut it. As long as you adhere to some precious sense of thinking you are some bloody highbrow, you will continue to whine and pout, but you really don’t say crap.

Thanks for providing us with a perfect example.

What the Chinese do to dogs is sick. Comparisons don’t even come close.

If it walks like a duck, quacks like duck…

hmmm..castigating an entire culture because they don’t share the same belief system and values as yourself?

Nice.

China is a psychotically sick country filled with psychotic sub-human people.

I feel immense sorrow for a few Chinese people.

Funny, I’m sure many of us feel the same about you.

It’s pretty simple actually. If you don’t like the idea of eating dog, don’t eat it.

I feel greater sorrow and outrage at foreigners who try to paint everything with the same brush, and attempt to justify what is CLEARLY WRONG.

What is wrong? It looks like you are the one painting the picture here and it looks like that of a hypocrite.

January 30, 2006 @ 8:13 am | Comment

Damn Tags.

January 30, 2006 @ 8:13 am | Comment

Dear TPD,

(smacking lips, drooling):
“Mmm, crunch crunch, is the mister lincoln TASTY? Is he CRUNCHABLE?”

Sincerely yours,
Gollum

January 30, 2006 @ 9:05 am | Comment

Lincoln, please don’t refer to the Chinese as sub-human. When you do, you are the one who appears sub-human.

January 30, 2006 @ 9:06 am | Comment

Watch out for Mad Dog Disease. Dogs can eat chicken bones as long as they’re not cooked.

January 30, 2006 @ 9:13 am | Comment

Thanks for fixing the tags, Richard.

January 30, 2006 @ 9:35 am | Comment

Xin said : “I asked him about french, and I did hear an english version of “what chinese talked about japanese.”

As French, I totally agree with this statement. Ze English tried to invade our country and the continent about 600 hundred years go during the Hundred Years’ War. They burnt down our villages, raped our women and ate our babies. Still today, we haven’t forgiven them.

To Richard TPD and others, please do not generalize this protest to all French people.
It is a SPA campaign targeting French audience . It is always cheaper to protest against animal cruelty in a very far country than at home. Though I am not sure they do not protest against foie gras practise in France.
Personaly, I don’t like frog meat but I enjoyed dog meat in Korea. Furthermore, I breed silworms as pets and I am totally outraged by boiling them in order to obtain silk. I think about starting up a society to defend silkworms rights. Only a few people know these animals are clever. I spend days talking to them. And they are so cute when they eat mulberry leaves…

January 30, 2006 @ 9:36 am | Comment

wugong,

And the Russians still haven’t forgiven you for how you and Napoleon behaved in Moscow.

On the other hand, if it weren’t for the Russian Army, today you French would all be speaking German.

January 30, 2006 @ 10:11 am | Comment

Oh and of course your big brothers in Britain and America. Together with the Russians we all saved France’s sorry ass.

January 30, 2006 @ 10:12 am | Comment

wugong, do silkworms regenerate?

January 30, 2006 @ 11:57 am | Comment

Silkworms are all randy little bastards, rakes, slags and hoydens who think of nothing but sex. (Well, sex and eating.) They all deserve to die, and meanwhile let us use those immoral little creatures for our own purposes. HAHA! (Maniacal laughter…)

January 30, 2006 @ 12:38 pm | Comment

Ivan,

Loved the Gollum comment. Hilarious.
You have too much time on your hands. You should watch more Fox News. :-P

January 30, 2006 @ 1:24 pm | Comment

“On the other hand, if it weren’t for the Russian Army, today you French would all be speaking German.
Posted by Ivan at January 30, 2006 10:11 AM”

No.
If it weren’t for the US Army, they’d be speaking Russian today! lol

February 1, 2006 @ 5:35 pm | Comment

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