Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dog – It’s What’s for Dinner

Dear Korean,

I heard that people eat dog meat in Korea. Is it something special, or do they put the dog meat to any meaty meal?

Sibelius

Dear Sibelius,

The answer is no. Dog-eating is one of the things for which is Korea is notorious, and much of it is distorted or misunderstood. For example, Wikipedia’s page on dog meat consumption in Korea is filled with utter falsehood, likely generated by anti-dog meat crowd in Korea. Hilariously, the Wikipedia post cites to some incredibly dubious sources such as Helsinki Times – clearly an authority in Korean culture. Therefore, the Korean will outline the facts about dog-eating in Korea, and follow it up with the Korean’s own opinion regarding the topic.

The “fact” section will be organized in a Q&A style. Because the Korean is feeling rather generous today, for this topic only the Korean will accept any further question on this topic that he did not address through the comment section.

Facts about Dog-Eating in Korea

Q: Do Koreans eat dogs?
A: Yup, they sure do. A good friend of the Korean would not believe him, saying, “I thought it was an untrue and malicious stereotype.” No, it is all true. Koreans eat dogs.


But this is not what happens. (Seriously, the picture is a joke.)

Q: Why do Koreans eat dogs?
A: People eat what’s around them. Protein, especially obtained from a large animal, was traditionally scarce in Korea. Eating a cow was nearly out of the question – each household, if it were lucky, would have a single head of cattle to pull the plow. Pigs competed for the same food that humans ate. Dogs did not. Traditionally, dogs are eaten during the three high heat days of summer, called bok or sam-bok ("three bok").

Q: How prevalent is it?
A: Dog meat is not very prevalent in modern Korea – it is not what people eat every day. You have to visit a restaurant that specializes in dog meat-based dish to get it. There are apparently around 530 such restaurants in Seoul, which is not many for a 12 million people city. Roughly 1 million dogs are slaughtered for food each year. By weight, it is the fifth-most consumed meat in Korea, following chicken, pork, beef and duck.

-UPDATE 4/18/2011- According to the survey commissioned by the National Assembly in 2006, approximately two million dogs are slaughtered for food each year, and it is the fourth-most consumed meat after chicken, pork and beef.

Q: Is dog meat considered a gourmet delicacy?
A: No. It is traditionally a peasant food, and was never considered high-end. Reflecting this status, you would have to get out to the poorer outskirts of Seoul to encounter a good dog meat dish.

Q: What do Koreans think about dog-eating generally?
A: According to a survey conducted in 2000, 83 percent of Koreans (91.9 percent of males and 67.9 percent of females) have eaten dog meat. 86.3 percent of Koreans favored eating dog meat (92.3 percent of males and 72.1 percent of females).

-UPDATE 4/18/2011- According to the survey commissioned by the National Assembly in 2006, 55.3 percent of all adults have tried dog meat. Approximately 75 percent of Koreans are in favor of eating dog meat.

Q: What do Koreans who own pet dogs think about dog-eating?
A: Some pet dog owners in Korea have become extremely vocal against dog-eating, citing all the reasons that are familiar to non-Koreans who find dog-eating unpalatable. Most pet dog owners are more moderate: in most cases, they wouldn’t eat a dog, but do not care about other people who do. Still others distinguish dogs raised as pets and dogs raised as food, and have no qualms about eating a dog. The Korean’s friend who lives in Korea owns a Yorkshire Terrier as a pet but is nonetheless a huge fan of dog meat. She frequently goes to the dog meat restaurant with her Terrier, and says she feels no inner conflict.

-UPDATE 4/18/2011- According to a survey conducted by Bayer in 2007, about a quarter of pet dog owners have tried or enjoy dog meat.

Apparently, looking at this mug does not dim the Korean's friend's appetite for dogs.

However, the distinction between edible dogs and pet dogs is not necessarily ironclad for sellers of dog meat. Recently there was a report that abandoned pet dogs were being trafficked to dog meat dealers instead of an animal shelter, where they are supposed to go. The movie Ddong Gae (English title: Mutt Boy) shows the main character fighting the bullies who ate his dog, which the main character picked up as a stray.

Q: I heard dog meat is illegal in Korea. Is that true?
A: It is more correct to say that dog meat is in legal grey area. Livestock Processing Act of Korea sets forth various standards for how livestock may be raised, slaughtered, processed, sold, inspected, etc. Oddly, dogs do not fall under the definition of “livestock”. This is an odd omission because the definition of “livestock” includes horses, which Koreans almost never eat. (The Korean's guess would be that whichever aide to the legislator who drafted the law copied a non-Korean law without thinking too much about it.) This does not mean that dog meat is illegal; it just means that Livestock Processing Act does not regulate the processing of dog meat. Instead, it is regulated by Food Hygiene Act, which simply defines “food” as “all foodstuff, except taken as medicine.”

But dog meat-abolitionists of Korea often argue that this indicates the Korean law’s recognition that dogs are not for eating. On the other hand, however, the National Tax Board of Korea issued an opinion that dog meat restaurants may receive the same tax treatment for their purchase of dog meat as, say, the tax treatment that a barbecue restaurant receives for its purchase of beef. So it’s fair to say that this issue is muddled.

Several years ago, there was some attempt on the part of Seoul city government to regulate dog meat processing in order to ensure it is processed in a hygienic manner. However, the vocal minority vigorously opposed the “legalization” of dog meat, and the idea was dropped.

Q: How are the dogs raised and slaughtered?
A: Because Livestock Processing Act does not cover dog meat, dog-ranchers (so to speak) and dog meat sellers essentially go for the raising/slaughtering method that generates maximum profit. This generally leads to unsightly living conditions for edible dogs, similar to those of pigs or chickens in industrialized farming in the U.S., only in a smaller scale. Dogs are raised in a small cage and sold alive until they get to meat market. Then they are generally electrocuted before being processed and shipped to restaurants.


Freshly slaughtered dogs in a market in Korea that specializes dog meat wholesale.

Q: Is it true that the dogs are tortured before they are killed?
A: Again, because Livestock Processing Act does not cover dog meat, there is no restriction about how to kill a dog for meat. At the meat market, the need to slaughter the dogs quickly usually means dogs are electrocuted, similar to cattle. However, especially in rural areas where people slaughter dogs to cook and eat on their own, the common method is to hang the dog and beat it to death, in an attempt to tenderize the meat. (This, however, may be counterproductive; while beating the meat does tenderize it, an animal that dies in a stressed state generally produces tougher and less tasty meat.) A figurative expression in Korean for a severe beating is “like beating a dog on bok day.”

Q: Enough with the cultural stuff, let’s get to the food – How is dog meat cooked? Is it like a Chinese restaurant, where you can get the same dish in different meat? (e.g. beef fried rice/chicken fried rice/shrimp fried rice/dog fried rice?)
A: The answer to the second question is no. Dog meat is generally cooked in two different ways – in a spicy soup or steamed and braised. (The same soup is sometimes made with goat meat.) In addition, dog meat broth made with herbs is considered medicinal, and is often prescribed by oriental medicine doctors in Korea. It is supposed to be an energy booster.
Dog meat, two styles

Q: What does dog meat taste like? Is it good?
A: It tastes closest to goat meat – like extremely lean beef, with a little bit of its own aroma (a little like lamb). Yes, it is very tasty.

Q: What does the Korean think about dog-eating in Korea?
A: Glad you asked, made-up-questioner!

The Korean's thoughts on dog meat, and additional questions/objections about dog meat, after the jump.

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at askakorean@gmail.com.




The Korean’s Thoughts on Dog-Eating in Korea

The Korean has no problem with people who refuse to eat dog meat. Far be it from the Korean to quibble with other people’s preference in food. The Korean also has no problem with people who are repulsed by dog meat, or the process of turning dogs into dog meat. You are who you are, and if you are repulsed by a certain food for any reason, that’s completely fine. By all means, please go on eating what you like, and be happy.

But to everyone who is trying to stop anyone from eating dog meat, the Korean has only this to say: please, go fuck yourself. Seriously, please remove yourself from the Korean’s vicinity and give yourself a handjob. The Korean cannot disagree more with your position. Go eat what you want, be happy, and leave Koreans alone. Koreans will go on eating what they want, and be happy too.

Objection against Koreans’ eating meat usually comes in three flavors. The Korean will address each in turn.

1. Koreans should not be eating meat, period – and that includes dog meat.

Often, self-righteous vegetarians and vegans make the argument that no one should be eating meat, based on two arguments: (1) it is morally impermissible for humans to cause pain on sentient beings; (2) because meat is less efficient to produce than vegetables and grains, forgoing meat would significantly alleviate (if not eliminate) world hunger.

The Korean is receptive to the second argument – that argument alone was enough to turn the Korean into vegetarian for a year. But what makes the second argument very convincing turns the first argument unpersuasive, and even dangerous. What’s the difference between the first and the second argument? The second argument focuses on humans and their suffering. The first argument focuses on “sentient beings” – i.e. non-human animals; to which, the Korean has two objections.

First, let us soberly face our biological destiny. Humans are omnivores. We are biologically wired to be omnivores. There is no human society that does not eat meat, absent certain religious or personal creed that overrides the biological impulse. Our biological destiny is amoral. We do not think lions are immoral because they eat meat. That is what they do. Similarly, humans eat meat. That’s what we do. Even in places that have few animals to eat, humans turn to animal protein. For example, in traditional New Guinea society where there was no large animals (chicken counts as large) to eat, people ate mice, spiders and frogs.



One might think one would just turn vegetarian rather than going through the trouble of catching and eating these little critters.
As biological omnivores, there can be no moral judgment attached to the fact that humans eat meat. In order to eat meat, pain must be caused on animals. This is not only inevitable, but also universal in a world in which animals eat other animals to survive. Sentient beings cause pain – and indeed, death – to other sentient beings all the time, as far as eating and survival are concerned. It is unpersuasive to say that humans must be an exception.

Second, while the Korean has problems with the “sentient being” argument itself, he has even bigger problem with the kinds of behavior that the argument justifies. Stated simply, the “sentient being” argument leads people to value animals more than humans. This is utter insanity, and completely unacceptable.

Case in point? The 23-month jail sentence of Michael Vick for running a dog-fighting ring. To be sure, animal cruelty – and specifically, what Vick did – is despicable. Animal abuse has to be illegal because we wish to discourage the abuser’s twisted desire for sadism. Regardless, the Korean was in utter shock when the news came out Vick received 23 months. Federal Sentencing Guideline (which is, as the name suggests, a guideline and not a hard rule) recommends level 10 for gambling rings that involve animal fighting, which translates to 0 to 6 months in prison for a person with no prior criminal history, like Vick. If you don’t think running a dog fighting ring (as opposed to, say, a cock fighting ring) had nothing to do with the between 4- and 23-times increase in Vick’s sentence, you are crazy.

Please take a look at the linked Federal Sentencing Guideline and see what crimes typically get 23 months in prison for a first time offender (which is level 15 and 16.) Involuntary manslaughter is at level 12. Aggravated assault is at level 14. Sexual abuse of a ward (i.e. a child in one's supervision, like a foster child) is level 14. Can you honestly say that dead dogs – no matter what the number and the manner of death – are more serious, or even equally serious, than a dead person, a person with severe injury, or a sexually molested child? If you answer yes, your priorities are severely misplaced.

Lest you think this is hypothetical, here is a real life example that parallels Michael Vick. Earlier this year, Donte Stallworth – another high-caliber NFL player like Vick – was driving under influence, hit 59-year-old Mario Reyes, and killed him. Here is a man who recklessly killed another man. How much jail time Stallworth receive? (You might to sit down for this one.) 30 days. If that does not make you indignant, the Korean does not know what to say to you. Reyes was a construction worker who worked all night and was trying to get home by catching a bus. Presumably, he had a family to feed. Did any of the dogs killed by Vick have a family to feed? If it stopped Reyes from dying, the Korean would gladly torture and kill any number of dogs with his own bare hands in the most horrendous manner imaginable. No word yet as to if a charitable society rushed to make sure Reyes’ family was taken care of in a high-profile photo-op, like the dogs rescued from Vick’s dog-fighting ring.

Seriously, the Korean couldn't even find the picture of Mario Reyes on line. But picture of Vick's former fighting dogs? They are everywhere.

But we do not even need to compare Reyes’ life and dogs’ lives. What about Vick’s life? Isn’t Michael Vick human? Isn’t his freedom important? Didn’t he deserve to be treated fairly, and receive the punishment that was proportional to his crime? Isn’t Vick’s constitutional right more important than lives of dogs? By any measure, Vick should not have received more than 6 months in prison. Instead, he got 23, and he was bankrupted in the process. And the pitchfork mob wants more blood out of Vick, staging petition drive to ban him from the NFL, depriving him of the only way in which he can earn a living.

Anyone with a functioning moral compass would say that human interest must come before animal interest. Yet when it comes to dogs, Americans just lose their minds – and the “sentient being” argument fuels this insanity. By imbuing morality into an amoral subject, the argument over-values animals’ pain and undervalues human interest. The result is that one high-profile NFL player kills a person and resumes his life after 30 days in jail with minimal publicity, while another high-profile NFL player kils dogs and gets his life nearly destroyed, with the media harping on and on and on. The “sentient being” argument makes people value animals more than humans. That cannot stand.

(As an aside, it must also be noted that one rarely sees anyone other than white people in those PETA rallies, for a good reason – colored people of America have been fighting for the last few centuries trying to be treated like humans. Now that we are being treated like humans, we are not very much inclined to give the same status to dogs.)

Maybe the two girls in the back count as colored?

Furthermore, even the most orthodox “sentient being” proponents appear to get especially worked up over dog meat than, say, pesticides that kill millions of animals (insects) in order to grow the vegetables they eat. This leads to the next group.

2. Koreans may eat other meat, but not dog meat.

This is the most contemptible argument against eating dog meat – that while eating other meat is ok, eating dog meat is not. The argument is contemptible because it belies its proponents’ underlying conviction of cultural superiority, which is completely objectionable. It is pretty much a historical accident that Europeans/Americans developed a particular penchant for dogs. In a herding economy like old Europe, dogs were more useful as herding assistant than for their meat. But in an agricultural economy like old Asia, dogs had just about one use – meat. In that sense, dogs in East Asia were not much different from chickens. But no matter – to the opponents of dog meat, their historical accident is superior to any other people’s historical accident, regardless of how accidental their historical accident was.

In an attempt to forge an objective argument separate from the historical accident, opponents of dog meat basically make the case that dogs are more special over other animals, and therefore we cannot eat dogs. There are basically two sub-arguments as to why dogs are more special: (1) dogs are smart; (2) dogs are loyal, and therefore our friend. Let us discuss each in turn.

First, dogs are smart. Really? The Korean’s friend’s Maltese would not stop eating toilet paper and excrete white poop, although you can obviously tell it suffers from pain as the toilet paper passes through its digestive tracks. But regardless, why does intelligence determine what we eat? Pigs are known to be extremely intelligent – smarter than a three-year-old human child. Mother sows sing songs to piglets as they nurse, for crying out loud. Yet barbecue restaurants roasting dozens of whole pigs a day are innumerable and everywhere in America. So that’s not a real argument – unless one is willing to argue that no human should eat (or kill) any animal, as above, partly because animals are intelligent.

And it's not as if pigs lose out on the cuteness factor either. Aww.

Second, dogs are loyal – “Man’s best friend”, as it were – and therefore special over other animals. But the value of dogs’ loyalty tends to be vastly overstated, because humans project their values and emotions onto creatures that cannot talk back. Humans are particularly good at projecting their own values and emotions with animals, distorting the truth of what happens in the social life of animals.

Here is an example: at Pier 39 in San Francisco, there is a sizeable colony of California sea lions, which serves as a tourist attraction. In front of Pier 39, there is a statue of three sea lions – a large one symbolizing the father figure, slightly smaller one for the mother figure, and a cute, tiny one for the baby. Cued by the statue, the visitors often try to figure out which sea lion would be mommy, daddy or the baby, often trying to find the smallest one and saying among themselves, “That must a baby!”




Sea lion statue at Pier 39, San Francisco

Truth is, no sea lion at Pier 39 is a baby. Moreover, no sea lion at Pier 39 is a nuclear family of father, mother and child as the statue suggests – the sea lion colony at Pier 39 is made entirely up of adult male sea lions. They are there because a regular colony of sea lions is made up of one male and up to thirty females and their babies. In other words, the sea lions at Pier 39 are the loser males – the males that would not get laid ever in their lives. But what kind of tourist attraction would celebrate a collection of dudes who lost out in the process of creating a harem of one alpha male and 30 women? Better to pretend that it’s a family, although the smallest sea lion may well be the oldest one among the bunch that just happened to have a small stature.

The same with dogs. The Korean will readily admit that dogs are generally loyal. But it is a mistake to ascribe the value of human loyalty to a dog’s loyalty. Dogs are not loyal because they choose to be loyal – dogs are loyal because that’s exactly what they are hard-wired to do. All domesticable animals – dogs, horses, cows – have the same trait: they are all pack animals, which follow the pack leader. Humans could domesticate those animals exactly because of that trait – human could assume the position of the pack leader, and the animals would follow them.

We do not think sea lions are immoral because they practice polygamy. That’s just what nature is making them do. For the same reason, dogs are not on a higher moral plane somehow because they are loyal – being loyal is just what nature is making them do. Can we admire it? Within reason, sure. Humans admire the lion’s strength and eagle’s swiftness, and often borrow their names for things for which we wish they embodied those qualities. (For example, national seals or sports teams.) By the same token, we can admire a dog’s loyalty. But that does not make dogs any better than any other animal.

3. Koreans should not eat dog meat because the process by which dogs are turned into meat is unnecessarily cruel

This argument has some merit in the Korean’s opinion. Even as an avid meat-eater, the Korean will readily accept this point – while there can be no moral judgment attached to the fact that humans eat meat, there can be moral judgment attached to how humans eat meat. This is just like the fact that humans are supposed to have sex, as it is their biological destiny to have sex. However, morality dictates that there are certain restrictions as to how sex may be conducted in human society.

Similarly, the Korean believes that humans need to treat the animal that sacrifices its life for our benefit with dignity and respect. That includes doing away with the most horrifying aspects of industrialized farming, which features heavily stressed out animals living in cages too small to move an inch, which in turn prompts massive use of antibiotics just to keep them from dying from stress.


This needs to stop.

(Aside: If the Korean were to choose the most notable difference in Korea and America with respect to the way in which its people approach their food, he would pick the level of respect towards food – Koreans are nearly reverential of their food, while Americans display almost no respect toward their food. It probably is not a coincidence that Korea is the thinnest country in the OECD, and America the fattest. But that’s a topic for another day.)

And yes, treating animals with dignity and respect means that the current way in which dogs raised for their meat in Korea must change. The tiny cages must go, and so must the unsanitary living condition for those dogs. The method of slaughtering the dogs must be regulated as well, so that the dogs may end their lives in a humane, dignified manner.

But – not so ironically – the greatest obstacle to regulating the processing of dog meat in Korea is not the dog meat restaurateurs or dog ranchers, but the opponents of dog-eating. As the Korean described in the “fact” section of this post, the lawmakers of Seoul city government attempted to regulate the dog meat processing procedure so that it would be more hygienic, and therefore humane. (Because after all, it is humane to have animals living in a clean condition.) But it was the opponents of dog-eating – who believe that currently dog meat is illegal in Korea – who rabidly attacked the proposal, fearing that it would “legalize” dog meat. The legislators saw no political gain to be made from pushing the proposal, and backed off.

In other words, while attempting to reduce the suffering of dogs raised for meat through regulation is a valid and worthy goal, boycotting dog meat is not the way to do that. Dog meat restaurateurs or dog ranchers are not a politically powerful group. They are, in general, very poor people with limited resources, and the poor condition of the dogs that they raise is a reflection of their human caretakers’ lot. They have no leverage at all if the Korean government – of any level – wanted to make the dog raising/slaughtering process more humane and sanitary (and presumably more expensive). Those who oppose eating dogs hold all the leverage. The best way to make the dogs’ lives less miserable, therefore, is to target those who blindly oppose any measure that attempts to regulate dog meat. They must be convinced that unregulated dog meat could be a human health hazard, and promotes the dogs’ suffering as well.

Conclusion

This post was rather long, so the Korean will distill it into three major takeaways:

(1) Koreans eat dog meat – not as much as beef, chicken or pork, but they do. Dog meat is tasty.
(2) If you don’t like it, fine – eat what you want, and be happy.
(3) If you want Koreans to stop eating dog meat – didn’t the Korean already tell you go away and fuck yourself?

-EDIT 9/1/09 8 p.m.-

As promised, the Korean will answer more questions from the comment section.

Q: What breed of dogs are most popular to be eaten?
A: Wikipedia entry claims that there is a specific Korean dog breed that is raised for meat, but that is not the most correct way to describe it. (Seriously, when it comes to Korean culture, don't trust Wikipedia.)

First, one must understand what kind of dogs live in Korea. Because Korea traditionally did not raise dogs as pets, few dogs were raised in a carefully selective manner enough to create any notable breed, with certain exceptions. At this point in time there is only one breed in Korea that is worth a name -- the famous Jindo dogs, bred for its intelligence and loyalty as hunting dogs. (But even with Jindos, there is a lot of problem figuring out exactly which dogs qualify as a purebred.) All other dogs in Korea are either imported dogs specifically for the purpose of being pets, or generic mutts that do not have any real breed.

So the most accurate way of describing the breed of dog eaten is: all dogs, except certain dogs protected by law as national treasure (i.e. Jindos) or pet dogs that are imported. Pets are usually owned by someone so they are generally not eaten, except in certain situations described above, i.e. some shady restaurants turning abandoned pet into dog meat. Jindos are national treasure, and it is illegal to take a purebred Jindo out of their native Jindo Island (for which their name is given), much less kill them for food. In practice, this means generic mutts in Korea are (by and large) the only dogs that are turned into food. But it is not as if those generic mutts belong to a particular breed.

Q: How popular is dog meat among younger Koreans?
A: Definitely less popular than among older Koreans. Younger Koreans are more likely to have dogs as pets, so they more often refrain from eating dogs. Reflecting this factor, dog meat abolitionists in Korea are overwhelmingly young women. However, interestingly, while young people may eat dogs less, they are the most in favor of "legalizing" it according to this survey cited by an animal rights group in Korea. (But as explained above, "legalizing" dog meat is not a perfectly accurate term.)

At any rate, the Korean really hopes that dog meat does not fade into history. Seriously, it's tasty. Don't knock it until you try it.

Also, some corrections are in order:

- Commenter Jewook pointed out that in Animal Protection Act passed in 2008, which bans cruel methods of killing an animal (such as hanging) or killing an animal in a public place. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this law is not particularly well-enforced, but Jewook points out at least one news report where a man was arrested for killing a dog in a public place by hitting its head with a shovel before cooking it. So there is some restriction as to method of killing.

(The Korean's original point -- that formally regulating dogs as livestock would improve the dogs' welfare and therefore more humane -- still stands, because Animal Protection Act does not specifically regulate how dogs raised for their meat may be raised. It says in broad terms that "Owner of an animal must endeavor to provide suitable food and sufficient amount of water, exercise, rest and sleep" -- which may as well not be there, because it is not followed by how this clause may be enforced.)

- Robert Koehler, proprietor of the blog Marmot's Hole and a fan of dog meat, noted that dog meat dishes are not particularly cheap (between $10~$25 per person, depending on the dish,) and one does not need to go to the outskirts of Seoul to get it. That's a fair point -- it does not make dog meat a high-end food, but it is not random cheap food either. The Korean would note that, regardless, dog meat is more popular outside of Seoul, where there is less money and presumably less pet dogs to distort one's perspective.

Koehler also linked an interesting article on the current Korean president's favorite foods, which includes steamed and braised dog meat during summer.

-EDIT 9/3/2009 6:26 p.m.-

More questions are answered:

Q: What's the Korean name for the steamed and braised dog meat dish? Is it also served in boshintang restaurants?

A: It is called su-yuk, or gaegogi suyuk. Suyuk is actually generic term for steamed and braised meat, and gaegogi means "dog meat". Suyuk can also be made with pork, and the pork version is more popular. Boshintang is the name for the soup, and yes, boshintang and suyuk are almost always sold at the same place.

Q: In France/Europe we eat rabbit, and I heard in Korea they didn't eat rabbit because people think it is too cute of an animal. Is it so?

A: Nope, not at all. Rabbit meat is generally rare in Korea, but that's just because there aren't too many rabbits in Korea. The Korean had plenty of rabbit in his Europe trip, and is a massive fan.

-EDIT 9/20/2009 4:47 p.m.-

A reader sent an interesting New York Times article: archeological study says that dogs were first domesticated in southern China, for the purpose of eating them.

-EDIT 9/28/2009 3:27 p.m.-

More questions!

Q: What do they feed the dogs raised for food in Korea? Is it cost effective to raise them in a large-scale setting, given that dogs require at least some meat to feed?

A: The Korean does not know exactly what the dogs are fed. But the Korean knows that not enough dog meat is consumed in Korea to justify a factory-style ranching like chickens or pigs -- in other words, dog-ranching is not a large-scale thing. Usually a dog farm would not involve more than about 30 dogs, and mind you, these are very primitive operations. Therefore, presumably, not much effort or thoughts go into the dogs' diet. But given that these dog farms are nonetheless doing business, it must be cost effective somehow.

-EDIT 3/6/2010 8:26 p.m.-

Not a question, but an objection:

Objection:

I think humans, who are at the top of the food chain, need to draw a line at some point. My Korean friends (who don't eat dog meat!) use that "dogs-are-the-same-as-cattle" argument whenever we have this debate, which I'm sure many of us have heard a gazillion times (and it's the only argument they have). Foreigners, esp.the politically correct ones, cite "culture" and "tradition" as reasons for why there's nothing wrong with dog meat consumption. Culture and tradition? Then perhaps certain African tribes that practice cannibalism could use "culture" and "tradition" as their excuse to continue their hideous practices. "But this is different! They're eating humans!" many may cry. Yes, but from an objective point of view, we're all just animals, aren't we? But I give this extreme example to show that "culture" and "tradition" are merely weak attempts at excusing certain habits which should have been done away with a long time ago. There is a certain line that must be drawn, because in my humble opinion, the depravity of the human mind knows no limits when held unchecked.

The Korean's Rejoinder:

If one only resorted to "extreme examples", one can basically make any dumb argument. For example, the Korean can try to make an argument that racism against African Americans do not exist in America in any form whatsoever, citing such extreme examples as Barack Obama (the president) and Michael Jordan (a pop culture icon). But that argument is obviously wrong. In fact, the problem for anti-dog meat people is this: they can give nothing but extreme examples (e.g. equating dogs and humans) because their position is so incorrect that giving a reasonable example is all but impossible. And they cannot even stay with that extreme example, because when pressed, they are forced to admit that humans are more important than dogs.

-EDIT 3/9/2010 9:18 p.m.-

More objection in bold, the Korean's rejoinder in normal font.

1) The comparison between Vick and the other guy seems ridiculous. Torturing and killing numerous animals over a period of 6 years and accidentally (i agree recklessly) killing a human being cannot be equated. Very simple, one was done for amusement (i dont buy the crap that it was his means of livelihood...that ways a thief's 'means of livelihood' is stealing!) and the other was an unfortunate accident , for which he was punished. 

The Korean thinks you are presupposing what you have to prove. Your argument works only if it is presupposed that killing dogs is equivalent to (or at least close to equivalent to) killing humans. And when pressed, not even the most ardent animal-rights supporter is ready to say that killing dogs is just as bad as killing humans.

To be sure, the Korean does think that Vick deserved to be punished. But the punishment is deserved not because dogs died, but because Vick displayed a level of depravity that is unacceptable in civilized society. In other words, the focus has to be on the human, not on the dogs. The Korean thinks Vick got an unfairly large amount of punishment exactly because the punishment focused on the dogs, not on Vick.

And the reason why there was no need for media publicity about the slain man's family was probably beacause they were paid off a reasonable sum as compensation, they in all probablity had Social Security, Medicare etc. What did the dogs have? If PETA had not made a hue and cry about it, what do you think would have happened to the dogs? They would either have starved or been euthanized. But i guess you dont care about that.

You are correct -- the Korean really does not care what would have happened to those dogs. They are dogs. Mario Reyes' family is human. And the concern for humans must always, always, always come before the concern for dogs. Furthermore, while you idly assume that Reyes' family was getting provided for, no one in the media gave a peep about Reyes' family getting provided for.

2) Some people have commented on Leona Helmsley. After September 11, 2001, she donated $5 million to help families of New York firefighters. Among other contributions, she also gave $25 million to New York's Presbyterian Hospital for medical research. In addition to that if she was a dog lover, that is none of anyone's business.

For the record, the Korean does not think Helmsley did anything wrong. It is her money, and she can spend it however she sees fit.

3) The argument about human beings being 'animals' just doesnt hold water in the 21st century. If we are just animals preying over ALL other creatures on the face of the earth, why not just go around naked. Why even bother to cover ourselves up since no ther animal on earth does that. The reason why we are on the top of the food chain is not because we are the smartest, its because there is no species left on this earth that the human being has not killed for food, amusement or other possessions.

We do not go around naked because we are civilized humans. The Korean also pointed out in the post that as civilized humans, the worst aspects of our current meat consumption must change. Those aspects most certainly include caging dogs in a tiny cell and beating them to death, as well as industrialized farming.

But civilization cannot mean that humans are supposed to give up their most essential nature. And humans' most essential nature includes eating meat. Again, there has never been a human society that did not consume animal protein, except for those human sub-groups which are compelled by a self-made construct (i.e. religious or personal morality.)

4) I very much doubt that dogmeat is 'traditional' food in Korea. The fact that it has healing and aphrodisiac properties was just a rumour spread around by dog meat cultivators. There is no sicentific or medical truth to back up this claim. 


Please refer to an edit made to this post on 9/20/2009 at 4:47 p.m. for a New York Times article that shows dogs were initially tamed in China for food. In Korea, there are wall paintings that were made as early as 4th century that depict dog eating. Also, traditional medical books in Korea dating back to the 15th century speak of the medicinal effect of dog meat. Does this mean that those effects are real? Not necessarily. But dog meat is certainly a traditional food in Korea.

Honestly the argument that dog cultivators are poor people who cannot afford humane conditions for the animals is utter crap. Agreed they cannot afford to spend too much. But is the fact that they beat up dogs to terrorize them before killing also because they are poor? Or because they are barbaric? Beating the dog so that another Korean can belchand then fill his sh**pot with dog corpses the next day is nothing short of indescribable brutality.

As the Korean explained in the post, dog meat dealers generally electrocute the dogs, like the way cows are slaughtered. Beating only happens in rural areas for self-consumption, and even that is being prevented by the newly enacted Animal Protection Act, referenced in the edit on 9/1/09 at 8 p.m.

5) It is SO easy to go vegetarian and it is SO unnecessary to inflict so much pain on another fellow being. All said and done, we can have a satisfying meal without meat (unlike tigers or lions) and butchering animals is CRUELTY. 

The question is not about what is necessary and what is not. If you want to be a vegetarian, please feel free to be that. But the problem starts when you want other people to change what they eat. Eating is one of the most intimate forms of human interactions with the world. It is highly context-sensitive. And you want to change Korean people's eating habits by imposing your own frame of thoughts, in which dogs are considered a "fellow being." Hell no. Dogs are no human's "fellow being". To even suggest that is insulting.

-EDIT 3/14/10- More objections!

You tell us not to try to change people's opinion about this, but what are you doing here?

No, the Korean told you to go fuck yourself. You can try to change people's opinion all you want. But please, do go fuck yourself.

Your post is definetly [sic] a pro dog meat one and indirectly, even --maybe-- you don't realize this,it's pro cruelty to these animals!!

You completely ignore what the Korean clearly wrote in the post:   

And yes, treating animals with dignity and respect means that the current way in which dogs raised for their meat in Korea must change. The tiny cages must go, and so must the unsanitary living condition for those dogs. The method of slaughtering the dogs must be regulated as well, so that the dogs may end their lives in a humane, dignified manner.

From your words I can only see that human is an animal, nothing more, he has no compassion and reason to differentiate from animals.

You again completely ignore the clear words from the post:

[W]hile there can be no moral judgment attached to the fact that humans eat meat, there can be moral judgment attached to how humans eat meat. This is just like the fact that humans are supposed to have sex, as it is their biological destiny to have sex. However, morality dictates that there are certain restrictions as to how sex may be conducted in human society.

Similarly, the Korean believes that humans need to treat the animal that sacrifices its life for our benefit with dignity and respect. 


Why do you bother commenting if you are not even going to read what is written?

In another point of view, civilized countries and modern society in general, fight for human & animals [sic] rights and try to produce minimum of suffering to the animals bred for consumption.This is the concept of civilization and humanity.. (if [sic] things don't go like this around the world is because of the people that consider themselves above all things , they're cruel or indifferent to the nature and all the creatures.Those who eat meat are just as guilty as those who provide it ; there is no offer without a request)

So there is not a single civilized country in the world, according to you. That's reasonable... how?

It's suffering as much as a human would suffer, the pain is the same, so as the will to live, just like you!

Every living thing has a will to live. That's why it's alive. Plants also go through all kinds of effort just to stay alive -- so do you object to eating them too?

If you can't put yourself in its place and care about what happens, (it can be called also empathy by the way)I doubt that you would care about other people! So stop pretending that you care about human rights,or what happend to that guy and his family, I don't think you care!not even for a second, so stop being hypocrite! [tired of sics]

Right, the Korean does not care about other people and human rights. That's why he urges his readers to vote for CPAF and LiNK multiple times. Because the Korean totally does not care, "not even for a second."


I also think that there is a simple explanation to the fact that you can't find anything about Reyes .. but so much about Michael Vick ..Well ..they are so many car accidents and news about this, (and also so many animals killed by cars, but you don't hear so often about this,or someone to really do something about.. right?!)

There are NOT so many car accidents where a high-profile NFL player recklessly kills another person by driving drunk. And the NFL player gets 30 days in jail for killing a person, while Vick gets nearly two years in jail for killing dogs (in a sentencing that completely disregards normal sentencing jurisprudence.) Think about that.

I'm sure that they would have been much more protests and a higher penalty if this guy had done that to human beings instead of dogs..(so it's not like animals are before people,don't worry.. or you do you agree with what he did?!in that case something is wrong with you!)

Your logic makes no sense. Federal Sentencing Guideline says that for the crime that Vick committed (which is "running a gambling ring involving animals",) Vick should get between 0 to 6 months in prison. Instead, Vick got 23 months, in complete disregard of the guideline. And the crimes that do get 23 months in our justice system are involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and sexual abuse of a ward (i.e. a child in one's supervision. By sentencing Vick at 23 months, our justice system decided that killing dogs was equivalent to killing a person or molesting a child. Really? REALLY? If you really believe that, there can be no other conclusion -- you are putting animals before humans.

And yet again, you ignore what the Korean wrote: To be sure, animal cruelty – and specifically, what Vick did – is despicable. Animal abuse has to be illegal because we wish to discourage the abuser’s twisted desire for sadism. Read the post before you comment, will you?

My korean friends don't agree with dogmeat and also told me that it's more like an old people practice..not so common among young people..

See here: Survey. The linked survey is at an animal protection site in Korea that opposes dog eating. The survey asked if people were in favor of "legalizing" dog meat, and people in their 20s were most in favor of legalizing dog meat.

you call yourself "a korean", just this..in this way, you identify yourself with the whole nation .. who gave you this right?

First of all, the Korean calls himself "the Korean", with a definite article. And he got that right the same way you got the right to imply that you are an Irish by choosing a handle "Ginger".

if you'll delete my comments (like I saw that you did to others )this means that you don't have the courage to support your point of view in a civilized way, you can not accept criticism, (immaturity or lack of arguments maybe?)and you don't allow others to explain their opinion.. so what's the point then to keep this blogg ?

That's rich when your compatriots at KARA shut down their comment board while the Korean is sitting here responding to your drivel.

-EDIT 4/6/2010-

More objections, this time free of invectives.

I've read a few pieces on this blog and I must say I'm a little surprised to find The Korean get so hostile and defensive as to tell people who disagree specifically with dog-eating to go fuck themselves. I hope by trying to set out the reasons I have against it, I can convince The Korean that not all those who disagree are mere sentimental woolly-minded idiots.

Matt, the Korean has been dealing with dog meat opponents for years, and you are the first one who managed to make a coherent argument without resorting to invectives. The Korean appreciates that, and he is now convinced that not all those who disagree are sentimental woolly-minded idiots -- now, all but one who disagree are sentimental woolly-minded idiots.

When the goal itself is to produce pain, however, there is simply no defense. Beating an animal to death is immoral and barbaric.

The Korean absolutely cannot understand why people cannot read the clearly written words of the post. Of course the Korean agrees with you, Matt. This is what he wrote in the post:

And yes, treating animals with dignity and respect means that the current way in which dogs raised for their meat in Korea must change. The tiny cages must go, and so must the unsanitary living condition for those dogs. The method of slaughtering the dogs must be regulated as well, so that the dogs may end their lives in a humane, dignified manner.

The Korean said there is nothing special about this because it's canine nature; in other words that there is no moral value to a dog's loyalty because they do it by instinct rather than choice. I find this odd. ... just because an emotional bond has evolved doesn't make it invalid. For instance, you can equally well say that a mother nurturing her child is following evolutionary programming, but no one would say that means it has no moral value. Instead, we regard the mother-child relationship as beautiful, moral, or even sacred.

Even though evolutionary programming may dictate human mothers to care for her children, a significant portion of human mothers nonetheless abandon their children all the time. In fact, most human mothers feel the temptation to abandon their children from time to time. It is the choice that the human mothers make that enables us to call them moral. In contrast, it was not the dogs' choice to be loyal and affectionate. The degree of loyalty and affection of feral dogs is certainly not the same as that of domesticated dogs. Whose choice it was that the domesticated dogs are to be loyal? It was a human choice. Dogs had nothing to do with it other than having the right genetic makeup that responded to human needs. That does not make dogs any better than any other animal.

The Korean may ask why anyone with no personal relationship with a dog should care. Firstly, it's not just a matter of having a personal relationship with a dog, but of valuing such relationships in general and seeing dogs as at least potentially of value to someone. This is the situation in the Anglosphere countries in general, and in northern Europe and in fact many other regions of the world.

That's an argument that may be used to ban dog eating in Anglophone countries (which you anticipate), or an argument that may be used to ban stealing another person's pets to eat regardless of the country. But that argument cannot support the proposition that no one in the world, including Koreans, may eat dogs.

Again, The Korean may ask why anyone not from one of these dog-loving countries should care. Because, I think, cultures can learn from one another. People in England, for example, have started to learn that there's nothing disgusting about squid and therefore gained from the knowledge. Koreans, I believe, are already starting to learn to value the relationship with dogs, and, once people in general realise how special dogs are, the attitude to dog-eating will change.

The Korean thinks this is an utterly incorrect argument. You state that cultures can learn from one another, but your true argument is that Korea must learn from other cultures and stop eating dogs. Why must Korea learn from any other culture? Why can't Anglophonic countries learn from Koreans that dog meat is hearty, lean and delicious? Or better yet -- and this is the Korean's position -- why can't Anglophonic countries just LEAVE KOREANS ALONE? How can one -- other than by resorting to either purely personal preference or bald cultural superiority -- explain that the value of relationship with dogs is so great that no one (including those who do not share those values at all) should be eating dogs?

This is not the past: there is no longer any shortage in Korea of other sources of animal protein. Dog-eating can no longer be justified as important to the diet...

Because your position is incorrect, your argument is bleeding into argument in favor of vegetarianism, with which you explicitly stated that you disagreed. At the present, you can single out any type of food in the world and correctly, but meaninglessly, argue that there is no need to eat that type of food. This argument is as hollow as stating, "There is no need to eat spinach, because you can get the same kind of nutrients from the abundant brussels sprouts that we have." Vegetarians make a huge push based on this argument ("Because of modern farming, we can get all the protein we need from plants!") while completely disregarding that, with modern technology, it is also possible to have a healthy, meat-only diet as well.

As the Korean stated above, the point of being able to eat dog meat is NOT about necessity. Again, no single food in the world is absolutely necessary. The point is the ability to eat what you want, without being bothered by the arbitrary and exogenous cultural prohibition being imposed upon your choice for dinner. Eating is one of the most personal activities you can do; it is one of the primary ways by which we exist in and interact with this world. The fact that dog meat opponents dare to dictate what people may or may not eat, particularly when there is absolutely no bodily harm caused by consuming dog meat (unlike, say, consuming cigarettes,) is what pisses off the Korean enough such that he tells those people to go fuck themselves.

-EDIT 7/6/2010- A few more objections and questions.

Those definitions are contrived by the anthropocentric perspective of humans, so of course, animals will be defined as inferior. However, justifications of animals suffering and cruelty based on notions of a human's superiority is problematic. Historically, humans have justified their debase actions against other humans based on differences of appearance, language and perceived ability. Depraved acts against animals are justified in the same way. The lesson: if you continue to discriminate against other life forms because they don't look like you, speak your language, or have an ability equal to yours; then, my friend, we will never transcend racism, as, that rationale is wholly the basis of oppression and tyranny across cultures.

Your argument is ludicrous. Should we not use barbed wire to keep our cattles in, because historically barbed wire has been used in concentration camps?

Outside of Seoul, can you give evidence or perhaps stats that verify this: [Then they are generally electrocuted.] The reason I ask: it is my understanding ... that the dog must be beaten for the meat to taste good and for the stamina benefits. This is not just from over zealous vegans but from the 6 different teacher classes I have taught and each time the story is the same from all of my teachers.

Have you tried asking them if they prefer going to a restaurant that beats dogs to death rather than electrocuting them? It is a common (mis)understanding that dog must be beaten to death in order for it to taste good. It does not mean that the method is always employed. It is common understanding that a dry-aged steak tastes better; but not every steak restaurant serves dry-aged steak.

As to stats, there is none that the Korean could find. Which makes sense, because dog meat restaurants are not exactly a focus of studies. The Korean's experience is that only personal slaughtering and consumption involves beating dogs to death, because it takes too long to kill a dog for one to make a business out of it.

[before being processed and shipped to restaurants.] This may be true in most of Korea as I recognize I have only been here 2 yrs and lived in only one part of Korea, however from the evidence I have seen with my own eyes is the dog is not pre-process before the restraurant. If that was so then the cages behind the restaurants would not exist, and the trucks filled with packed dogs in front of the restaurants would not exist, and the small cages that you go and choose the dog you want to eat that day would not exist. So, is this only in Seoul where the space needed to beat the dog doesnt exist, or what may account for this discrepancy?


You probably saw a restaurant that is also a ranch; those are common in rural areas.

Last, I agree the single best thing would be to legalize it and regulate it, but what I think advocates fear is by doing so Korea will only wink at those that don't follow the laws. ... So in the end I think most sane advocate (not the bumbling minded vegans) believe the best policy is a full abolishment of it.
 
Again, priorities. Suffering of dogs should be much, much lower in the priorities list, and absolutely cannot overtake people's choice of what to eat.
 
What do you say about these arguments specifically? "Korea was traditionally a Buddhist nation and therefore beating dogs for meat would have never been a 'traditonal food.'"
 
Stupid. Korea has not been a Buddhist nation for the last 700 years, since the Confucian-based Joseon Dynasty replaced the Buddhist Goryeo Dynasty. And even in Goryeo Dyansty and earlier, there is no shortage of records about eating meat, including dog meat.
 
"Just has there are examples of ancient paintings that include dog slaughter for meat, their [sic] are also examples of paintings of dogs as referenced as a good luck charm And it could be deducted that something that is referenced as a good luck charm would not be beaten to death and eaten."

Also stupid. Pigs are considered extremely lucky in traditional Korea; pigs showing up in dreams are considered the best dreams, foretelling money and happiness. But Koreans eat pigs liberally.

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at askakorean@hotmail.com.

276 comments:

  1. Good post. In my opinion, too, let people eat whatever they want to eat. It's only naturl. On a side note regarding the part about caring about humans more than animals, humans are animals (so says the Oxford English Dictionary, primary def). According to Taxonomy, the species of human are classified as animals in the kingdom of Animalia, and dogs are even in the same class (mammalia). So, it is kind of hard to care for humans more than animals, but rather care for humans more than other animals. On a personal note, I, too, find dog meat quite tasty, and am happy to continue my omnivorous ways.

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  2. I've eaten it several times and have finally decided that I don't like it. I don't like a lot of meat though. I think it's the smell or the fact that the skin is still attached.

    As The Korean and Joshua said, I don't see one thing wrong with eating it though. I do wish, however, that the methods were a little more regulated and that people would stop refering to food when they see me and my wife with our 똥개 on the streets. It gets a little old.

    From the mouth of my
    father-in-law upon seeing my dog for the first time: "Are you presenting this to me as a pet or food?" He was kidding of course and I thought it was damn funny, but that's the point: Big dogs have not reached pet-status yet and certainly not in the city. That's slowly changing and, in the past few years, I have started to notice a lot more Koreans walking big dogs.

    Slightly unrelated and I can't remember where I read it (I'm sure it was in jest), but there was an article proposing that instead of euthanizing young and unwanted dogs at shelters, those animals should be slaughtered and their meat distributed to impoverished communities and countries. It wouldn't go over well with most people, but considering that millions of pounds of dog meat is being discarded every year in the US alone (over 4 million dogs), it might not seem so crazy.

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  3. I don't think I saw this mentioned in your excellent post, but what species of dogs are most popular to be eaten? Is that a question that arises when this whole issue comes up? A fascinating post.

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  4. One of the more shocking and despicable events that I've come across in my 20 years of living in America was when Leona Helmsley, after giving "consideration" to the less well off members of *human* society, decided they were not worth a dollar of her money, and left behind billions of her wealth to be used exclusively for the welfare of DOGS. Sad to say, I became a little less American after that fateful moment.

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  5. “there is no restriction about how to kill a dog for meat.”

    Actually you are incorrect on that. An Animal Protection Law (동물보호법) has been established since February of 2008. It makes it illegal to kill an animal (including dogs) in a cruel or inhumane manner. Probably not as well enforced yet but a few people have been prosecuted and fined for it. The punishment is mild compared to other countries but it means things are changing for the better. Though I enjoy dog meat very much I still think it is unacceptable to slaughter them inhumanely.

    Animal Protection Law link:
    http://likms.assembly.go.kr/law/jsp/Law.jsp?WORK_TYPE=LAW_BON&LAW_ID=A0374&PROM_NO=08852&PROM_DT=20080229&HanChk=Y

    And a news article about a man who was prosecuted.
    http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=102&oid=003&aid=0002269375

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  6. Great, great post, dude. I'm sick of all the self-righteous m*therf*ckers who judge Korea on the basis that we eat dogs here.

    In fact, I'm gonna go have a bowl of 보신탕 after work tomorrow.

    Again, great well-written post. I'm glad someone finally wrote a well-organized explanation of this topic.

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  7. one should be free to choose the food he likes
    now talking about meat they are all the same
    poison for the body
    it is one own choice
    to be acanibal or not...
    bon apetit

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  8. If someone raises a dog to eat it, it doesn't bother me much. But in my previous neighborhood, there were guys who stole other people cats to eat them!!!! This kind of behavior is wrong because you inflict a terrible pain to the owner!!!!

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  9. Thanks for this awesome post.

    I agree especially with your post about animal rights activists. I remember an episode my senior year at Berkeley where PETA staged a campaign on Sproul Plaza and had ridiculously offensive posters of slaughtered cattle on meat hooks juxtaposed with a silhouette of a lynched African-American male, as if to say the two were equally immoral. I'm all for animals rights, but not when you start to spew ridiculous bullshit like that.

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  10. hwa-kun ha da. glad the Korean laid it out straight, "Doggy, its the other white meat"

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  11. well written! I tried 보신탕 with friends more out of curiosity than anything else, but can honestly say its not for me ;). However I agree with The Korean's sentiments on people eating waht they want, within reason of preparing (and raising) the food humanely.
    I am shocked about the info you gave re the NFL players and their conflicting sentences... truly, what kindof legal system allows a 30-day sentence for manslaughter and nearly 2 years for animal abuse? Its a scary thought that the legal system protects animals more than its own people!
    Well written Korean :)

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  12. Very interesting post on the subject. One question I often wonder about is how popular eating dog meat is amongst young Koreans?

    The general impression I get is that it tends to be more popular amongst older Koreans who lived in a time when Korea was poor and eating dog may have been necessary for protein.

    While younger Koreans never needed to eat dog meat and therefore eat it less. I'm not opposed to eating dog meat, I often wonder if this is the reality or not.

    It also may be more of an urban/rural split as well as you alluded to. In 분당구 I see 'dogs are friends not meat' graffiti while in 완도군, well, I saw a lot of dogs in small cages.

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  13. Good post. Agree with you completely. Although I keep four dogs at home, I have no problems with Koreans/Chinese/Vietnamese eating dog meat. It is their choice. I have used the "pig" argument many times in discussions about this, but then, people who have a false superiority complex refuse to listen.

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  14. Buffoon, try the fish argument next time: we don't eat your chihuahua like you don't eat my gold fish.

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  15. Your underlying point that humans and human rights come first is well-stated. (Although perhaps I would have told people to eff themselves a bit after my more palatable to your opponents rhetoric, but such is a personal choice).

    ~A vegetarian (trying to go vegan) in Korea

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  16. excellent article.
    i agree with all your points in this article.
    difficult to try have an intelligent talk with ppl who get over emotional even at the mention of the topic.

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  17. I did a blog on this issue at the beginning of the summer. I totally agree with you.

    These white, liberal "animal rights" activists should mind their own business. I think it's pretty arrogant of white people to go to Asian countries and tell people what they can and can not eat.

    The fact that the younger generation in Korea are not developing a taste for dog meat. This is a good sign that the practice will fade away on its own. If South Koreans themselves demand action by their government in enforcing the laws currently on the books, the practice will fade away in time.

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  18. I read somewhere that the point of beating the dog is not to tenderize the meat, but exactly to make it die in a stressed state so that there would be a lot of adrenaline left in its meat. After eating a properly beaten up dog people should experience sort of heat waves rushing through them, which is why dog meat is thought to contain the Yang principle or have the energetizing effect the Korean mentioned. I haven't felt the adrenaline rush so far so I guess the few dogs I have eaten were killed in a more humane way.

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  19. Korean food is very awesome because it's sort of like a middle way between northern Chinese and Japanese.

    It's hard to complain about Korean food when you can make it spicy or non spicy; vegetarian or non-vegetarian. (real conservative rural Korean food are quasi-vegan)

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  20. When I was a child visiting Korea during my Summer break I witnessed the "traditional" slaughter of a dog. They tied a noose around the dog's neck and pulled it through a rolled up carpet all the while beating it with a heavy stick. I was told that this increased the level of adrenaline in the dog thus making the meat more tender. I can still hear the dog's blood curdling screams today. It was the most barbaric and inhumane thing I've ever witnessed. I really hope they've discontinued this practice but I think it may be wishful thinking on my part.

    There's video circulating now showing male chicks being ground up alive at a Midwest hatchery. While gruesome at least death is instantaneous.

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  21. This didn't make it into the post because it's off topic, but the Korean would like to note this:

    Americans really need to be more exposed to where their meat comes from. The fact that Americans are segregated from the process of turning animal into meat makes them particularly irrational when it comes to dog meat, not to mention the fact that it contributes to an extremely unhealthy eating culture. The Korean thinks that one truly does not deserve to eat meat unless one at least observed how an animal dies.

    The Korean saw pigs being slit in the throat, chicken's necks being snapped, live shrimps being broken in half, eels pierced on the giant nail before flayed in half -- all pretty soon before the said animals turned into food and appeared before him.

    This process truly makes you respect the food that you are eating. Indeed, the meat becomes nearly sacred -- you'd better finish the whole damn thing, or you are delivering the ultimate insult upon the animal that died for your benefit. And if you can't eat the whole thing, you should have never gotten it.

    Truth is, there is nothing pretty about death. Yet we must cause it in order to stay faithful to our biological destiny. Then, as moral creatures, the least we can do is to fully know the consequences of our biological destiny, and respect the food that we eat.

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  22. What's the Korean name for the steamed and braised dog meat dish? Is it also served in boshintang restaurants?

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  23. The problem with your summary of Vick is that it misses the details of a) what he did, b) what he was charged with, and c) what he was convicted of.

    Yes, he fought dogs. Fighting dogs is as despicable as fighting any animals--inducing creatures (through no choice of their own, unlike human boxing/etc.) to inflict pain on each other for human entertainment--but historically, dogs are not fought to the death, and underperforming dogs are sent home. Vick and his crew, for 6+ years, took the underperforming dogs and murdered them--slamming them into the ground until their spines or skulls shattered, attaching battery cables to their ears and throwing them into swimming pools to electrocute/drown, etc., and that is truly unconscionable and pretty much unforgivable.

    That said, he pled not-guilty to dog fighting or animal abuse charges in a plea deal, so that he would plead guilty to federal racketeering charges--and that's all he served time for. Is it wrong, in my mind, that the sentences for white-collar crime such as racketeering are longer than some accidental-human-death charges, like the one you noted? Yes. Is it wrong that all manner of crimes have been perpetrated by other NFL players and they're still playing too? Certainly.

    That said, I think the true nature of Vick's crimes deserves far more punishment--time, money, and livelihood--than he received. A man who would torture and murder animals for 6+ years should not be welcomed back into a multi-million-dollar role-model career until he has done far, far more to make amends for what he did to those dogs--and for the already-undeservedly-maligned breed, the American Pit Bull Terrier.

    For more info, read here:
    http://badrap-blog.blogspot.com/2009/05/op-eds-on-vick-news.html

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  24. skreidle,

    In the interest of civility, let us first outline a few things upon which we both agree:

    - You and the Korean agree that Vick deserved some level of punishment.
    - You and the Korean agree that other criminals who have human victims deserve more punishment than Vick, who only has animal victims.
    - The Korean also agrees that Vick pled on RICO and not on federal gambling charges, which led to significant increase in jail sentence that was unlikely to be had under gambling charges.

    Having said that, this is the point of yours that the Korean strongly disagrees:

    [Vick's manner of killing dogs]is truly unconscionable and pretty much unforgivable.

    No, that is eminently forgivable. In fact, that's exactly what federal law requires -- we are supposed to forgive the criminal who conducted animal gambling ring after maximum 6 months in prison.

    The fact that Vick had to be shoehorned into a RICO charge -- originally designed to prevent massive organized crime network, not a gambling ring -- so that he may receive a far greater sentence reflects that American society has come to value dogs more than humans. This cannot stand.

    To restate the Korean's position in the post: Michael Vick is a human. The constitutional right that Vick gets is the same constitutional right that every American -- including you and I -- get. The constitution guarantees that we will receive the punishment that is proportional to our crime. It also guarantees that after that punishment is over, people may return to society as functioning members. That guarantee is more important than any number of dead dogs, no matter how they died.

    But in the case of Vick, his constitutional rights were completely ignored -- all because people love dogs to an insane degree. And by extension, all of our constitutional rights were damaged.

    Further, the Korean finds the excessive focus on Vick's dogs to be very unhealthy for the society. The Korean won't say something dumb like: "why don't you have a blog for preventing child molestation before working to save pit bull terriers?" He understands that people have different interests, and they may choose to focus their energy on the things about which they care. No one person can save the whole world.

    But having said that, it is still unnerving to find people caring so much about dogs, and not as much about other people. Again, the Korean could not even find any real information about Mario Reyes, the person that Stallworth killed. (And let us not call this an accident. We as a society already agreed that drunk drivers do not care about human lives -- i.e. are reckless -- when we made drunk driving homicide a manslaughter.) Not ONE reporter bothered to find out more about Reyes, at least get a picture of him when he was alive, speak to his family, learn what kind of person was taken away before his time. But the Korean could easily find tons and tons of information about Vick's dogs. There has to be something wrong with this picture.

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  26. I am very disturbed by your article. It may take me days to get over it. I've grown around dogs and love them and all other animals as well. My heart broke million times and over seeing the photos of dead dogs..awww.....

    I am a vegetarian by choice (since my conscience caught up with me) and endorse vegetarianism. People around me are non-vegetarian and I try to encourage them to feel the pain of innocent animals and give up meat.

    I am of Galo tribe of Arunachal Pradesh, India. I am from the jungles so meat is a part of our cuisine. I am not someone to judge others by their food but I would like to encourage people to follow ‘Ahimsa’ for humans and animals alike.

    My belief: I understand the importance of meat as food in earlier days but things has changed now. Science has given us better and nutritious food so why eat innocent animals when the food cycle is already maintained in the jungle. I don't see the need for humans to eat animals anymore (it's always the tingling greedy taste buds...I know).
    From my point of view, I see it as a great waste to take away a (an innocent) life and eat it, only to excrete and flush it down the pipe the next day! What a loss of a life!

    Personally, imagining the axe on my head or a bullet through my body is too painful a thought so I can fandom the pain of animals who are always at the mercy of us.

    Humans may project their own feelings/persona on animals but it it's only natural, we do that on other humans too! That's how we learn to understand and empathise with others!
    For me, I truly love animals without personifying them.

    Dogs, Cats, Pigs, Cows, Horses, other domesticated animals are just too close to kill and eat them! Dogs and cats are indeed more special, they live with us, like families! Dogs are so friendly...Awww......

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  27. So well written, objective and thoughtful. My favorite part was when Korean gave his personal opinion. I laughed my ass off.

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  28. WikiAnswers says about 185 people die every year in the U.S. from dog attacks. That's one human life sacrificed every two days so that dog owners can continue to have dogs as their pets. Please also note that banning dogs as pets does not mean we can't find replacement pets that are just as pet-worthy and yet far less dangerous.

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  29. Well, the site below seems more reliable and it says 33 died in 2007. But the number of dog bites serious enough to warrant ER medical attention is pretty disturbing. The statistics listed would certainly make a good case for banning dogs as pets.

    http://www.dogbitelaw.com/PAGES/statistics.html

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  30. JW, I can only hope your comment was intended ironically, but I doubt it.

    Over 40,000 people die each year in the US from car accidents--over 115/day--so should we ban cars too? Far worse than dogs!

    (Seriously, 1 every 2 days? That's within margins of error for realistic concerns.)

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  31. JW,

    There are about 73,000,000 pet dogs in the US, which still leave your updated statistics a small enough number to comfortably ignore, and not even considering suggesting banning.

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  32. Dogs as pets are far far far more replaceable than cars.

    Deaths. It's arguable that even one human death from a dog attack is one too many. Somehow, I get the feeling that you don't want to draw a firm thick line between human beings and dogs in terms of value categories. It's sickens me, and the fact that alot of americans would agree with you sickens me.

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  33. JW,

    I'm not certain you aren't a sick individual yourself. Dogs are inexpensive to replace compared to cars, but sure as fuck far more valuable in human, emotional terms. Dogs, more than most pets, are beloved members of most American families--cars are just inanimate objects, and are generally insured to boot.

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  34. Well, I'm not a sick individual you see, cuz I'd actually be in favor of banning cars for recreational use. The only problem is the replacement issue, which I already mentioned.

    So I think this means you skreidle are the sick individual.

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  35. I did enjoy your post and agree with many of your opinions. It is the country you are in that many times determine what is ok and not ok to eat. If you were in India, you wouldn't be eating beef. You don't see Indians in an uproar about Americans stuffing themselves with steaks and hamburger. I wouldn't eat a dog, but I'm pretty sure if I or a family member was starving to death and the only thing to eat was a dog, fido is dinner.

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  36. JW,

    I think--based on your recent comments here--that you would have the human race lead very, very boring lives by banning any and all non-critical activities, creatures, or actions that could potentially harm any single human life.

    I think there's a continuum. Is human life in general worth protecting? Certainly. Is each and every individual human worth protecting? I don't think so--there are many lowlife degenerates out there who I do believe deserve to die, to no longer inflict their presence on the human race--and there's many a dog and other non-human creature whose lives I would place well above such humans.

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  37. The Korean,

    He was not even tried on animal abuse charges--and I separate those from dogfighting, because as I noted, goading dogs to fight is almost as removed from the manner in which Vick et al murdered the underperforming dogs as a factory farm is from killing chicken by stabbing them with sticks or killing cattle with a household hammer or perhaps hot pokers. (Both are reprehensible, but dog fighting could be viewed as playing on a dog's natural instincts, while breaking, battering, electrocuting, and drowning a defenseless animal for fun.. well, there are no words for that short of "evil".) As such, no, "6 months in prison for animal gambling" would not even begin to cover it.

    Vick is a sociopath. He was not tried on felony animal abuse charges, and has in no way paid for the crimes he truly committed. Loopholes in the system allowed him to plead to federal racketeering charges, ignoring the animal travesty entirely, so his "Constitutional rights" are hardly at issue here. As for returning to the football field, there's more at play than merely a job, a way to earn a living. A pro football contract is--for good or ill, and often ill--a position of honor and hero worship, that he does not deserve to jump right back into. Perhaps if he spent a few years dedicating his life and salary to the support, recovery, and advocacy of abused dogs and opposing animal abuse, he would have truly paid for his transgressions and deserve the "second chance" so often touted.

    As for "murdering one man at one moment" and "spending six years habitually torturing and murdering defenseless animals"--I think that right there covers why there's so much more coverage of Vick's dogs than Reyes. (I also find it unlikely that there was no coverage of Reyes around the time of his death, just that it would take more time/effort/research to find reports on him.)

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  38. I agree with you. And in France as well people are crazy about their dogs. I even heard some saying that if you don't like dogs then you don't like children ! Crazy. Anyway, my question is : In France/Europe we eat rabbit, and I heard in Korea they didn't eat rabbit because people think it is a too cute animal. Is it so? Then it would be pretty much the same as with dogs with us.

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  39. Aurore,

    I think the people who say "if you don't like dogs, you don't like children!" are ridiculous--one can like, or dislike, either or both independently.

    As for rabbit, I have three pet rabbits of my own (here in the US), but I'm not opposed to eating rabbit in a restaurant. Of course, I wouldn't sell my own rabbits to be eaten--but I know that had I not bought our biggest rabbit at a livestock auction, he would likely have gone in someone's stewpot.

    People always have a fondness for "cute" animals. In many parts of the U.S., deer are so overpopulated that they've become pests, wandering into neighborhoods, eating gardens, getting hit by cars--but some people are still opposed to hunts designed to cut down their population because they look like Bambi. (In Australia, kangaroos are similarly overpopulated, and are served in restaurants there, and sold in the grocery store. By contrast, deer is hard to come by in this country unless you are, or know a hunter, because they're not raised as food product or available in most stores/restaurants.)

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  40. Kenri,

    1. "Innocence" has nothing to do with whether or not animals get to die for food. Do you think carnivorous animals pick out particuarly guilty animals to hunt and eat?

    2. Sure -- humans project emotions upon each other. But that's acceptable because we are humans! Humans, by virtue of being of same species, can feel the same emotion. Dogs (and any other non-human animal) cannot.

    3. Lastly, dogs eaten in Korea are most certainly not raised in someone's home. They are raised in a cage to be eaten.

    JW,

    The Korean appreciates your contributions, but we can do without personal attacks.

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  41. skreidle,

    While we weren't really talking about dog-eating in Korea, it is nice to know that you distinguish animals as pets and animal raised as food.

    But let's stay with our discussion about Michael Vick:

    1. You say Vick was never tried for felony animal cruelty. Do you know why? It's because animal cruelty is not a federal crime. Look at the federal sentencing guideline -- it lists every single federal crime and the appropriate punishment for each. Under federal law, the only crime that Vick committed was gambling involving animal fights, and a very weak money laundering charge just to make the required two RICO predicates. That is in direct contravention to the constitutional principle that we are supposed to receive punishment that is proportional to our crime.

    2. You say Vick is a sociopath. Let us suppose that's true for the sake of argument. Point the Korean to a law that says sociopaths deserve four times more jail time than anyone else.

    3. It is not Vick's fault that pro football players are viewed as heroic. Unlike being an attorney, for example, pro football players do not have an ethics requirement to have their job. He should be allowed to have a means to support himself and his family.

    4. Again, constitution requires that once a person paid his debt to the society by being imprisoned and fined, s/he should be allowed to return to the society. What you want is much more punishment than the law provides for. How is that justice?

    5. The Korean was horrified at your statement here:

    Is each and every individual human worth protecting? I don't think so--there are many lowlife degenerates out there who I do believe deserve to die, to no longer inflict their presence on the human race--and there's many a dog and other non-human creature whose lives I would place well above such humans.

    This is exactly what the Korean finds so objectionable. You are valuing animals more than humans! Not only is it completely unacceptable, but also it is incredibly insulting and degrading. Value for each human is absolute, no matter what each individual does. The vilest criminal deserves the same chance at fair trial as the noblest saint. That's not the Korean talking, that's the Constituion and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights talking. You would really have a person die rather than a dog, at least in some circumstances? Then the Korean thinks your priorities are severely, severely misplaced.

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  42. @the Korean and skreidle:
    As a neuroscientist who works with animals, it's very clear to me that all mammals (at least) experience pain and fear. The neural circuitry is all there, governed by evolutionarily ancient brain structures, and is used when the animals display behavior consistent with these feelings and emotions. That said, it is also very clear to me that animals experience these things in different intensities than humans do and that these emotions are triggered by different things. I doubt, for example, that dogs are afraid of the abstract concept of "death," so it seems to me that it is OK to kill them (and then who cares what is done with a dead body?) as long as the process involves a minimum of pain and fear.
    I am disturbed by people who enjoy inflicting pain and fear on non-human mammals. The behavioral reaction that a dog has when it's been beaten is similar to that a child would have; if you enjoy watching the former, you might enjoy watching the latter. I've read that such behavior in children is predictive of criminal behavior as an adult, although I don't know how true is it. Still, the fact that I find something disturbing is not a good reason to ban it.

    In a certain sense, we can treat animals and humans very similarly by acknowledging their differences. Dogs are afraid of pain, and so we shouldn't hurt them without very good reason. People can understand the full implications of and are afraid of incarceration, so we shouldn't imprison them unjustly either. People are afraid of dying, even in the absence of concurrent pain and fear, and we should deter other people from killing them. The legal code properly recognizes these differences between animals and people and metes out punishment accordingly.

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  43. 영감님, Mah bad. No fighting in the comments section, I sometimes forget.

    Here's one other thing that needs pointing out in my opinion. To condemn dogfighting as inhuman and cruel and then to turn around say boxing isn't, because the people involved do it out of free will, is hypocritical in my opinion. Why? Well, what is the critical difference between offering a fighting dog fresh tasty meat for winning a fight, and offering 50 million dollars to a boxer for winning a boxing match? Of course I don't need to tell you, but I will, that the life options available to boxers in almost every case are not very good outside of boxing. Does the small element of choice here really make *that* big of a difference? Ok, then you can say this -- boxing is as close as anyone can get to the cruelty and abomination of dogfighting in a human context.

    So please, don't give me this nonsense about dogfighting being bad but boxing being ok. And if you continue to maintain this hypocritical stance despite what I've just outlined, then I have to wonder if your attraction to dogs has completely messed up your priorities to the point where you are valuing them over humans-- and these are humans lured into participating in a widely accepted sport where they are being treated, essentially, as fighting dogs.

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  44. JW,

    No worries -- just remember, this is not Marmot's Hole. Seriously, the Korean really wishes Robert would do something about the comment quality out there -- it is just sick to see comments ruining what is otherwise a great blog.

    Separately, did everyone know Pedro Martinez was involved in a cock fighting ring back home in Dominican Republic? The Korean vaguely remembered something about it... link here: Link

    Cockfighting is legal in DR so definitely no jail time for Pedro, but no around-the-clock news coverage or a massive public indignation either. (Although the nutjobs at PETA did get involved. Link)

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  45. I am so glad someone finally has the common sense to point out how we as a supposedly 'affluent' society are now valuing animals (in particular just one single animal, the dog!) over all other animals and putting them on a higher pedalstal over fellow human beings~it never ceases to bug me that owning a dog is considered THE trendy and hip thing to do now amongst younger rich asians across asia in countries such as china, taiwan, south korea,etc whilst millions of children are starving or in need of sponsorship~ What's worst is when these young ppl do it in countries which are innately poor and have huge poverty problems such as India and the Philippines and you see cash rich middle/upper class Indians and Filipinos walking their puppy pets when their fellow countrymen would appreciate (and indeed, need!) their help in terms of sponsorship~ pisses me off big time in these cases~really!

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  46. Actually dogs are traditionally beaten in order to increase the amount of adrenaline in its body prior to cooking, which is where the energy claim comes from. Koreans believed that the adrenaline, when consumed, would have a brief positive effect on one's body. Tenderizing the meat is a myth. Also, the meat is also eaten by males because they believe it increases sexual stamina. This information was relayed to me by my professor who possesses a Ph.D in anthropology and has lived in Korea for the past 20 or so years.

    I actually don't think dog meat tastes all that great, but I was also told that I ate at a low-quality restaurant. So I'm open to try it again when I have the chance.

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  47. Thank you for this well-reasoned post. I am a vegetarian who is concerned about the impact of industrial livestock farming and processing on all ecosystems, animals and humans (both workers and consumers) involved. It's a shitty, dangerous excuse for an industry, and it needs to go.

    I am also a Canadian who, in spite of her vegetarianism, defends my country's annual seal hunt, the products of which have been hypocritically banned by the European Union. If you've heard about this situation, I would appreciate your comments. I believe Canadians have much in common with Koreans regarding "that one meat for which we are vilified."

    The only part of your post I take issue with is your discussion of animal abuse. It is not just a way to pass the time. Animal abuse is often indicative of a dangerous interest in violence, particularly when it's displayed in children. I agree that human rights and crimes against fellow humans take precedence over any rights we may grant animals (I am adamantly against PETA, for example) but there is nothing psychologically healthy or otherwise constructive about beating any animal for the sake of witnessing its suffering.

    Thank you for your always-excellent blog!

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  48. This is excellent. Well spoken!

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  49. I'm Hungarian,and we have a kind of sausage which is made from horse.Horses played a significant role in our history,and they are honored just as much as dogs,in our culture.And we eat them too.It's okay.

    But I'm not okay with eating dog meat.Because as far as I know horses,pigs,chickens,etc. raised up industrially are fed by special food,based on mostly vegetables.Dogs and cats are eating meat,insects,and sometimes even sh**.Eating a dog after...I just don't get away with the thought,because I was told,eating such things without being sick is not possible.Even if they are raised up industrially,maybe there are some being caught up on the street,or...because,at least,they are not "used" just as food,therefore maybe have never been fed properly.Yes,of course,we use horses for riding,but stil we take care of what they eat,pretty much.We have more chance and reason to control their nutrition.I don't feel it's safe to eat dogs.

    And about the innocence of animals,obviously they are not innocent like they don't kill.But they are driven by mostly instincts.They don't know death,neither killing for joy.Only humans can kill and cause suffer for their own entertaining.But only humans bear ideas,like loyalty,and respect and etc.and only humans can change the world,as they like.Therefore I wouldn't send that dog-fighting NFL player to jail,but in a mental hospital.I don't think after that 23 months he will be a functioning member of the society.I just can't imagine my life,if I would have such a...an example,father.I just can't believe I wouldn't have any mental disorder by the time I grew up.Ahhh,this is just too sick and too serious just to quarrel about that he deserves 23 months or not...sorry,Korean,but it wasn't the best example.

    Thank you for the detailed post.
    It gave me much things to thinking on.

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  50. Mr Korean, I wonder if you can answer this question: How is it cost-effective to raise dogs for food? Other livestock animals consume vegetable foods which are relatively cheap, whereas dogs need some quantity of meat, which is more expensive.

    This I believe is another reason why dogs are not more popular as food animals worldwide - it doesn't make a lot of sense to raise a carnivorous animal just to eat it.

    I've been to villages in Indonesia where they eat dog. This is only in the Christian areas - the Muslim majority consider dogs unclean and hence forbidden to eat. The villagers can afford to eat dog ocasionally because they are fed on scraps, and are thus inexpensive to keep.

    Personally I think eating dog is abhorrent. However, logically speaking, as a vegetarian I don't see it being very different to eating the meat of other animals. As you say, pigs are just as intelligent and sensitive as dogs, so it makes little sense why people care so much for dogs and so little about pigs.

    It was actually seeing a dog being eaten that drove me over the edge into vegetarianism; I figured that if I had such an emotional reaction to dog being killed, I should be consistent and apply the same logic to other animals as well.

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  51. Fi,

    you would be interested to know that the best-tasting pork in Korea comes from Jeju Island, where they are raised in a pit underneath an outhouse so that all they would eat is human excrement. And trust me -- it tastes fantastic.

    Eurasian,

    The Korean thinks you just answered your own question.

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  52. I trust in you,I can believe it tastes great.(But still I'm not convinced about it is safe to eat...)

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  53. Korean: yeah I realised I kinda answered my own question, but I wondered if it differs in a large-scale Korean factory environment as opposed to a small poor village in Indonesia. Do you know what they feed the dogs in the factories?

    Hearing about those Jeju pigs makes me kinda understand why Muslims and Jews don't eat pork. Ew.


    Gina: you are a stupid person. Which is bad, but you are also a racist, which is worse.

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  54. Eurasian, please see the post -- the Korean answered your question there.

    Corinne,

    As to the seal hunt, the Korean does not know enough about it to give an opinion one way or the other. As to animal abuse, the Korean never said that it was just a means to pass time. Trust him -- at one point he worked for the LA county DA's office, and animal abuse misdemeanors are often referred to as "felony interrupted." But that's separate from the idea that people do not deserve punishment that is disproportionate to their crime.

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  55. AMAZING!! I really had to say this.

    Your presentation of facts rebutted all the "sentient-being" claims of modern human almost perfectly IMO, especially about dogs and pigs.

    I'll definitely be a fan of your blog if these kind of argumentation continue, nice job!

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  56. I don't what what ethnicity you are...

    But I am Korean. As a Korean, I know that most of the young generation of South Korea (including myself) are repulsed by dog-eating. I am an animal lover, and I look down upon those who would eat dogs. I mean, it's not like we don't have anything else to eat. We have plenty of beef, pork, chicken... so why eat a dog?

    I think there are many South Koreans who work on animal cruelty cases who want to make dog-eating illegal. It's only the really older generation (older than my parents) that eat dogs, and I hate them, really. They're inhuman, they're disgusting. They're brain-washed by the thought that dog-meat is good for them. Murderers!

    In fact, I think the first thing I would do when I go to South Korea is work on making dog-eating illegal. Many people, especially the younger generation, keep dogs as pets and are abhorred by the thought of eating dogs. *shudders*

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  57. As a Korean, I know that most of the young generation of South Korea (including myself) are repulsed by dog-eating.

    Oh really? This Korean knows some statistics to conclusively refute that. See here: Survey. The linked survey is at an animal protection site in Korea that opposes dog eating. The survey asked if people were in favor of "legalizing" dog meat, and people in their 20s were most in favor of legalizing dog meat.

    I mean, it's not like we don't have anything else to eat. We have plenty of beef, pork, chicken... so why eat a dog?

    Because it's delicious?

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  58. Heuk Dwaeji (흑돼지): Probably Jeju’s most famous food, black pig is always a treat. The traditional Jeju outhouse was built on stilts, with pigs chowing down on the farming family’s “leavings.”

    While modern farming practices have eliminated human waste from their diet, black pig 갈비 or 삼겹살 still has a distinctly more cultivated taste than their pink counterparts.

    The pork was good, but the 꽃게탕 was the best I have ever eaten.

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  59. I want to say, that you sir have put a lot of thoughts down in writing that I've been trying to communicate to people for a long while.

    I'm American, but my mom is Korean (so yeah I'm half-korean) Maybe it is for this reason that even when I was younger the thought of eating other animals didn't really get to me. If anything when my mom talked about the different animals she ate, it made me curious to try it too.

    Not wanting to eat certain animals, but eating others is ANIMAL PREJUDICE XD

    Though I was thinking, that you should mention, it really isn't just the whole "pet ownership" that has Americans bawwing over animals.

    Disney.

    Seriously. Look at how many movies there are with animals in human-like situations solving their problems with human-like emotions. The Lady and the Tramp, Bambi, the Lion King, the mice and birds in Cinderella. Oh, and we have to throw in some romantic interest too! And I'd like to point out that I watched on Animal Planet that male lions will kill female lion's cubs in order to mate with her, if said cubs are not his, but a lot of people have this notion in their heads that "animals are innocent" well, maybe, if not being intelligent enough to know you shouldn't kill members of your own species just so you can have sex is innocent (which occurs in MANY species). So, yeah, this silent propaganda starts out for us at such an early age. Maybe it should be addressed sometime...like now. So that certain insanity can stop, like,*cough* donating my millions of dollars to dogs instead of people who desperately need it, are living, and suffering. *cough*

    @ JW

    That Leona Helmsley got my goat too. BUT you forget to mention she donated millions solely to one pet ONE FRICKEN DOG. Some dog is richer then I'll ever be....

    it makes me want to cry..I think I will....

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  60. Aselleus wrote:
    And I'd like to point out that I watched on Animal Planet that male lions will kill female lion's cubs in order to mate with her, if said cubs are not his, but a lot of people have this notion in their heads that "animals are innocent" well, maybe, if not being intelligent enough to know you shouldn't kill members of your own species just so you can have sex is innocent (which occurs in MANY species). So, yeah, this silent propaganda starts out for us at such an early age.

    I never saw it that way before. Because lions kill their own kind to have sex, we should eat dogs.

    And to think after all this time, the perfect argument was sitting right in front us.

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  61. Kush -- to be fair, Aselleus is responding to the argument that people should not be eating animals (including dogs) because they are innocent by pointing out that animals are hardly innocent. That makes animals a fair game (pun not intended), and that includes dogs.

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  62. The Korean said:
    Kush -- to be fair, Aselleus is responding to the argument that people should not be eating animals (including dogs) because they are innocent by pointing out that animals are hardly innocent. That makes animals a fair game (pun not intended), and that includes dogs.

    I was just playing around, but if that's the argument, it's a lousy argument. Based on the characteristics of one individual or Subset A of a larger group (in this case lions being the Subset A of animals in general), I can treat
    some other individual or Subset B of that larger group (in this case, animals that are not lions) as if they were Subset A?

    That's preposterous. Applied to people, it's sexist, racist, and stereotyping. I know a guy in Korea who feels free to mess around on the three Korean girls he was dating (a the time) because a Korean girl he had dated when he first arrived in Korea had cheated on him. Same type of vengeance-seeking on Subset B because of Subset A.

    On a more practical note, it falls apart because the non-innocent lion's very non-innocence makes him a bad candidate for food. Carnivores are typically inefficient for raising for meat and they are harder to control for parasites. If we were in the habit of eating lions and tigers and bears (oh, my!) we would probably have all sorts of health problems we don't right now. It's for this reason that it's probably not wise to eat too much dog stew and too much cat juice.

    Moreover, most of the land creatures we consume for meat are herbivores, not carnivores, which makes it all the more absurd to use the non-innocent actions of carnivorous beasts as a justification for raising (often cruelly) and then killing (almost always cruelly) the herbivores who are indeed of the innocent variety.

    I'll agree that the anthropomorphic way dogs are depicted makes the idea of eating dogs less easy to stomach, but if the reaction to this is that "animals are not innocent!" then that doesn't hold water.

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  63. @ kushibo

    Eh, when I wrote that I wasn't really trying to make an argument (or better put, I wasn't trying to start a fight -_- ), just state a fact to try and open up people's minds. Since most of the people who value animals lives over humans don't even know of how animals actually behave. They just see animals as peaceful beings -but that is far from the truth. I apologize if I'm not as eloquent as some people. It certainly is not the deciding factor on why I eat meat. (what I'm trying to say is, it wasn't said as a justification for anything, merely said so that using innocence as a REASON to diss meat eaters is silly. Though I do think since we are more intelligent creatures we shouldn't take advantage of our power and mistreat animals -so as not to confuse people)

    But, If you were "just playing around" I'm sure writing a five paragraph article proves that. Oh, and by the way on the prospect of what you were saying about herbivores and carnivores. Just because the "majority" of what we eat are herbivores is not a good argument. It's like saying "because everyone else is doing it, it is right".

    I think I agree with you that herbivores are generally more healthy to eat then carnivores, with the exception of fish, But I'm not sure we would have health problems if we ate good portions of carnivorous meat though -unless that was all we ate. In a Korean's and other countries case, that certainly is not a factor P: and from The Korean's post, it doesn't sound like Korean's eat dog ALL the time. So why knock it for that reason? Same with candy XD

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  64. Fascinating, well written post. Prior to last year, I would probably have had a typical "American" response of disbelief and disgust. But last year I spent 3 weeks in China, and ate many things that I never thought I would ever eat, dog meat being one of them. Since historically I am somewhat unadventurous in the food catagory, the different cuisine was something that I was concerned about, and challenged myself to try every dish that was put in front of me. Though I couldn't bring myself to sample everything (there were 4 dishes I passed on in 3 weeks), I felt like I did a pretty damn good job.
    As to the dog meat, I didn't find it either particularly appetizing or unappetizing, I thought it was one of the blander items offered to me. Although the dipping sauces presented with it were very interesting.
    My comment to the naysayers and the people who turn their noses up....put yourself in a totally alien culture to what you are used to. Open your mind and experience all the new things available to you. Then, maybe, you have the right to judge.

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  65. Mate great post. My sentiments exactly. Well done

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  66. well, i was going along right up til you talked about korea's weight being relative to it's respect for food. Korea is super skinny because koreans are ridiculously concerned about their body image and are OBSESSED with being the ideal image (which is, thin). maybe what you say holds true amongst the older crowd...but the fact that almost all women who should have white hair universally dye their hair black leads me to doubt that as well. A little boy i baby sit told me about his english academy, he said he hates his teacher. when i asked him why he said it's because she was fat. hmmm.

    maybe that was a little korean pride shining through their eh? otherwise i agree, by the way.

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  67. Hey, I'm enjoying reading your blog. FYI, you can get good Boshintang in Changwon fairly cheaply, for about 5-10,000 won.

    Very delicious I might add.

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  68. Great Post. I think you hit the topic perfectly and left it very difficult to argue against. In my personal opinion, vegetarians who try to turn other people vegetarian are insane. Philosophically, they are trying to represent themselves higher than any other animal species on earth by not eating other animals. This makes no sense, because using human compassion to battle the basic, natural need for food is simply arrogance. The strongest and smartest species rely on the other species to survive. To say that eating animals is wrong ignores the fact that we are animals. Just like we are wired to have sex, we are wired to eat animals. Vegetarians who choose not to eat meat for personal or hygienic reasons, good for you, but I believe that vegetarians who try to rationalize their beliefs are bringing human moral insecurities into a huge, inter-era and everlasting natural law, that cannot and will not change. Keep it up Korean!

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  69. Very well written and informative.

    I actually stumbled on this site because of some arguements made in an forum discussing the Japanese hunting of whales. I thought if the anti-whalers were going to make comparisons to Koreans eating dog, that I needed to get some real data.

    Most of you points about why eating dog is not morally wrong directly tie in with my beliefs about whaling. You even made some points that would carryover that I hadn't thought of.

    Thank You.

    One questions. I understand there is some eating of whale in Korea. Do you have any info about this topic?

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  70. Thank you for this post and demystifying the dog-eating in Korea. I absolutely cannot stand the idea that people think it's perfectly fine to eat pigs and cows and chickens and snails and frogs but not dogs.
    I am linking this post to my blog! (I hope you don't mind)
    :)

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  71. Thank you! I was planning on studying in Korea next year but I think NOT! I definitely don't want to be walking down the street and see a roasted dog....
    I knew that Koreans ate pretty much everything that moved but dogs is too much for me, they are supposed to be "Man's Best Friend" after all.
    So many things in your blog make me disgusted and realize how ignorant you are.

    "To a man whose mind is free there is something even more intolerable in the sufferings of animals than in the sufferings of man. For with the latter it is at least admitted that suffering is evil and that the man who causes it is a criminal. But thousands of animals are uselessly butchered every day without a shadow of remorse. If any man were to refer to it, he would be thought ridiculous. And that is the unpardonable crime"

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  72. I definitely don't want to be walking down the street and see a roasted dog....

    Inability to read, since the post already said dog meat is not that prevalent...

    I knew that Koreans ate pretty much everything that moved but dogs is too much for me, they are supposed to be "Man's Best Friend" after all.

    Entire justification buttressed by using a cultural phrase as if it were universal truth...

    To a man whose mind is free there is something even more intolerable in the sufferings of animals than in the sufferings of man.

    And finally, placing animal suffering ahead of human suffering.

    Thanks for not coming to Korea. In fact, please stay away.

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  73. I am Korean. I have never eaten dog. I will never eat a dog or watch someone eat a dog. I was raised in the US and I have these biases, you see.

    But I totally agree with every single thing you said.

    Bravo.

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  74. A pro-dog meat site, I see.

    I am a Korean-Australian who is against the consumption of dog meat. In fact, I don't eat beef and pork as well. I don't tell others to stop eating meat, although I may politely refuse if they insist that I should try certain meat dishes, etc. It's not the case with dog meat, however. I cannot tolerate this practice and can't bear to be around people who make a habit out of eating dog stew on a weekly basis. In fact, I'm afraid I'm pretty vocal about it at times.

    As the post mentions, I know that part of my revulsion comes from the inhumane treatment that comes hand-in-hand with the dog meat trade. That alone is enough to stop one from eating dog meat. However, my feelings go beyond that. I think humans, who are at the top of the food chain, need to draw a line at some point. My Korean friends (who don't eat dog meat!) use that "dogs-are-the-same-as-cattle" argument whenever we have this debate, which I'm sure many of us have heard a gazillion times (and it's the only argument they have). Foreigners, esp.the politically correct ones, cite "culture" and "tradition" as reasons for why there's nothing wrong with dog meat consumption. Culture and tradition? Then perhaps certain African tribes that practice cannibalism could use "culture" and "tradition" as their excuse to continue their hideous practices. "But this is different! They're eating humans!" many may cry. Yes, but from an objective point of view, we're all just animals, aren't we? But I give this extreme example to show that "culture" and "tradition" are merely weak attempts at excusing certain habits which should have been done away with a long time ago. There is a certain line that must be drawn, because in my humble opinion, the depravity of the human mind knows no limits when held unchecked. I say this because I've seen the atrocious behaviour of some who work in the dog meat trade. I've found their ignorance and barbarism truly baffling and frightening at times.

    As for the friend of the author who keeps a dog at home, but enjoys dog meat without any qualms, I believe this kind of thinking arises from the fact that they adamantly differentiate dog meat from canine pets. Dogs raised for meat are large, yellow, and similar to cows (so they say), whereas canines as pets are cute, cuddly, and off limits to their dietary cravings. Hey, whatever helps you sleep at night, my friend.

    Having said all this, I believe that humans ARE more important than animals. The life of a dog or the life of a person? Which would you choose? The person's life, of course. But does that mean dogs should suffer unspeakable cruelty, just so a person can enjoy some mediocre stew, belch and pat their stomaches in pleasure?

    (*But to everyone who is trying to stop anyone from eating dog meat, the Korean has only this to say: please, go fuck yourself. Seriously, please remove yourself from the Korean’s vicinity and give yourself a handjob.)

    Aah, yes, the perfect (ala predictable) riposte after the "dogs-are-the-same-as-cattle" debate. Despite the pro-dog meat agenda of your post, I found it eloquent and articulate. Until this.

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  75. I am Korean and in no way do I condone the consumption of a canine. My cousins were against it until they went to the military, now they can eat anything.

    Koreans and dog consumption has always attracted the attention of western media. When I was in Indonesia, the locals told me that they also ate dog. When I was travelled to Finland and Norway, my friends told me that their countries had also eaten dogs in the past; And some communities in the north still do.

    Sled dogs and huskies were used for work and provided protein for their owners. Chinese "Chows" were bred as livestock not pets.

    It appears as if Koreans attract negative media attention. Communities in India eat rats, it was shown on the BBC, in London there are documented cases where Indians (they are referred to as Asians in England) were consuming rats.

    On a popular television program (Top Gear), one of the hosts (Clarkson) blurts out that Korean cars suck and that they eat dogs.

    I then spent a few days having to verbally defend myself from British co-workers, some being of Indian descent.

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  76. Thanks, bohemian, a breath of fresh air. I'd like to second bohemian on everything s/he said, except for the "articulate and eloquent" part. That's overdoing it, given the abusive language, omissions and ranting tangents.

    And thanks david, and others, for showing that the Korean is no spokesperson for Koreans. He's just a guy who runs a blog about Korean issues, but who uses it as a platform to express his conservative, anti-animal rights agenda. And he attracts followers who are either suckers or belong to the same redneck sheep herd. No matter what the Korean or anyone else says, if you support dog eating you are a supporter of dog abuse.

    I've also read the response the Korean refers to in his March 5 post. You got what you deserved, given your attitude. I'm glad someone took a stand as a voice for the voiceless and showed you and your rambling opinions for what they are. At least KARA is trying to improve things for animals. What have you and your fans here been doing to stop cruelty in the world? .... Nothing? I thought so.

    Another thing I didn't agree with Bohemian on was putting humans first. I would never make such a sweeping statement as that. It really all depends on the individual humans and animals involved. For example, if it came to a choice between the life of Kim Jong Il and a rat, I would most certainly choose the rat.

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  77. Awesome post! very articulate and full of thought provoking arguments....except for
    1) The comparison between Vick and the other guy seems ridiculous. Torturing and killing numerous animals over a period of 6 years and accidentally (i agree recklessly) killing a human being cannot be equated. Very simple, one was done for amusement (i dont buy the crap that it was his means of livelihood...that ways a thief's 'means of livelihood' is stealing!) and the other was an unfortunate accident , for which he was punished. And the reason why there was no need for media publicity about the slain man's family was probably beacause they were paid off a reasonable sum as compensation, they in all probablity had Social Security, Medicare etc. What did the dogs have? If PETA had not made a hue and cry about it, what do you think would have happened to the dogs? They would either have starved or been euthanized.
    But i guess you dont care about that.
    2) Some people have commented on Leona Helmsley. After September 11, 2001, she donated $5 million to help families of New York firefighters. Among other contributions, she also gave $25 million to New York's Presbyterian Hospital for medical research. In addition to that if she was a dog lover, that is none of anyone's business.
    3) The argument about human beings being 'animals' just doesnt hold water in the 21st century. If we are just animals preying over ALL other creatures on the face of the earth, why not just go around naked. Why even bother to cover ourselves up since no ther animal on earth does that. The reason why we are on the top of the food chain is not because we are the smartest, its because there is no species left on this earth that the human being has not killed for food, amusement or other possessions.
    4) I very much doubt that dogmeat is 'traditional' food in Korea. The fact that it has healing and aphrodisiac properties was just a rumour spread around by dog meat cultivators. There is no sicentific or medical truth to back up this claim. Honestly the argument that dog cultivators are poor people who cannot afford humane conditions for the animals is utter crap. Agreed they cannot afford to spend too much. But is the fact that they beat up dogs to terrorize them before killing also because they are poor? Or because they are barbaric? Beating the dog so that another Korean can belchand then fill his sh**pot with dog corpses the next day is nothing short of indescribable brutality.
    5) It is SO easy to go vegetarian and it is SO unnecessary to inflict so much pain on another fellow being. All said and done, we can have a satisfying meal without meat (unlike tigers or lions) and butchering animals is CRUELTY.
    Last but not the least, great post.Credit given where credit is due!

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  78. Your post is outrageous and so is the issue that you're trying so hard to argue!You said, as a conclusion that we (those outside Korea)should accept these habits of yours and do nothing about it
    -- "(2) If you don’t like it, fine – eat what you want, and be happy.
    (3) If you want Koreans to stop eating dog meat – didn’t the Korean already tell you go away and fuck yourself?"--
    You tell us not to try to change
    people's opinion about this, but what are you doing here?> I don't think that you did all this effort, writing so much, documenting and searching arguments..for nothing! Your post is definetly a pro dog meat one and indirectly, even --maybe-- you don't realize this,it's pro cruelty to these animals!! So what you're doing here looks like you're trying so hard to convince us that it's ok to eat dogs and it does not matter how the animal died or where it came from,or what it means for most of the people.. the important thing is that it tastes good and that we'll have a full stomach after! So it's ok for you to change our minds but not for us to change yours?! it's revolting and offensive..
    And where is the korean's respect for animals--that you were talking about-- in this? cause I can't see any kind of respect in beating an animal to death..
    You also made a comparison between humans and animals--- ("We do not think lions are immoral because they eat meat. That is what they do. Similarly, humans eat meat. That’s what we do(..)As biological omnivores,

    (RIGHT SAID OMNIVORES!!< THIS MEANS THAT WE CAN ALSO LIVE WITHOUT MEAT)

    there can be no moral judgment attached to the fact that humans eat meat. In order to eat meat, pain must be caused on animals. This is not only inevitable, but also universal in a world in which animals eat other animals to survive."----
    From your words I can only see that human is an animal,
    nothing more, he has no compassion and reason to differentiate from animals.But the truth is that people can choose what to eat from a wide variety of possibilities, they can choose not to harm other creatures.But even if they can do this,many of them they still like to harm and kill other beings. What's curious is that they like to consider themselves superior
    beings with the right to life and death over other non human-beings but when it comes to argue their actions and choices,(like YOU did) they compare themselves with animals and say that it's in their nature to do so, just like all the animals..So are they really superior or not?!

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  79. In another point of view, civilized countries and modern society in general, fight for human & animals rights and try to produce minimum of suffering to the animals bred for consumption.This is the concept of
    civilization and humanity.. (if things don't go like this around the world is because of the people that consider themselves above all things , they're cruel or indifferent to the nature and all the creatures.Those who eat meat
    are just as guilty as those who provide it ; there is no offer without a request)
    You gave examples as arguments, the coutries or people that eat
    almost anything.. I know about primitives tribes who ate worms, raw meat, bark .. insects, or human flesh ..waw.. are they civilized?! Does Korea consider itself a modern country, modern society or not?And are you consider yourself superior than animals, above your animal instincts, are you aware of
    the effects of your actions? (like writing a post and militating for dogmeat consumption).. I think you're not or just don't care..It's just an animal
    right? it doesn't matter that it's suffering because of you! it's not like it's aware of his death..(like someone said here in a comment)But yes it is!
    It's suffering as much as a human would suffer, the pain is the same, so as the will to live, just like you!If you don't see this, it's just because you don't want to see! If you can't put yourself in its place and care about what happens, (it can be called also empathy by the way)I doubt that you would care about other people! So stop pretending that you care about human rights,or what happend to that guy and his family, I don't think you care!not even for a second, so stop being hypocrite! That's just a classical method of attacking those who love animals and fight for their rights, which is to
    discuss human rights and that man is more important than any animal.I don't say that human is not important but IT's JUST NOT THE ISSUE HERE! We are not
    talking about human beaten to death so that we could serve at dinner!It's just like someone that sees someone else giving something to eat to a stray dog in the street,and asks him Why he doesn't fead a child instead of a dog?
    Well that person that asks this kind of question is the one that would never give something to eat to a poor child..I don't think that people that love animals and don't harm any creature will ever harm a human being but I can't say the same thing for sure about someone that don't give a piece of shit about other beings or they're cruel..

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  80. I also think that there is a simple explanation to the fact that you can't find anything about Reyes .. but so much about Michael Vick ..Well ..they are so many car accidents and news about this, (and also so many animals killed
    by cars, but you don't hear so often about this,or someone to really do something about.. right?!)it's not right what happened but due to the
    incidence and news media it became most like a common issue, and people react at Shocking news, like in Vick's case.I'm sure that they would have been much more protests and a higher penalty if this guy had done that to human beings instead of dogs..(so it's not like animals are before people,don't worry.. or
    you do you agree with what he did?!in that case something is wrong with you!)
    Another thing.. I like Korea very much but I don't like this practice .I can't agree --never!-- with the people who do this.And I'm really glad that they are a lot of korean people that think and feel like me about this.My
    korean friends don't agree with dogmeat and also told me that it's more like an old people practice..not so common among young people..
    And something else.. you call yourself "a korean", just this..in this way, you identify yourself with the whole nation .. who gave you this right?! ?You don't even have the guts to show yourself to us, to see who you are and prove
    that you are a real korean (at least you should be korean to have the right to call yourself korean and to speak in the name of all the koreans..)I can only see that you live in New York, what this has to do with Korea?!

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  81. and by the way.. if everyone is free to eat what he wants.. mmm I wonder how koreans(that eat dogs) tastes like.. it must be good with all that adrenaline coming from dog meat... mm it's only meat after all, right?!

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  82. and if you'll delete my comments (like I saw that you did to others )this means that you don't have the courage to support your point of view in a civilized way, you can not accept criticism, (immaturity or lack of arguments maybe?)and you don't allow others to explain their opinion.. so what's the point then to keep this blogg ?

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  83. Great post. The problem with so many of the anti-dog eating activists is that they don't see the distinction between a personal objection to a practice and robbing everyone else of the right to choose what he/she wants to eat. One cannot adequately justify the latter, which obviously is incredibly invasive to personal autonomy, with a sweeping declaration that eating dog is immoral and repulsive. The burden is on them to prove that there are enough OBJECTIVELY discernible justifications for stop eatings dogs that outweigh the cost of robbing people of their personal autonomy and livelihood. Not surprisingly, they don't pinpoint a single objective reason to justify banning this practice because they can't. Their objections all hinge on their "views" on dogs or animals, which are necessarily subjective.

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  84. Wow, we have quite discussion here.

    Firstly, Korean, thank you for great post. I do agree with pretty much everything except the story about those two guys. That was case cruelty vs. bad accident. I understand that animal life is difficult to compare to human one. If second guy would torture the boy US justice system would probably sentenced him to death. Your argumentation just does not stand a ground.

    I want to say that I have eaten dog food but I understand perfectly people who oppose it. When I was visiting Australia I have eaten kangaroo steak and I like it, then I went for a trip to the zoo, where I could ‘socialize’ with animals, and I found kangaroo very cute and lovely. Second steak was so hard to swallow. Similarly I would not be able to eat a cat.

    But, seriously – dog is same as any other animal that we eat, so if you are not a vegetarian, you have no moral right to oppose dog meat eating and look down at the people that eat dog meat.*

    I really admire vegetarians; I think this is very moral stand. And I believe not easy to hold for everyone. If I would have more willpower I would do it but now, no, I cannot.


    * - Just only if Korean is right about dogs being electrocuted not beaten to death. Does anyone have any sources about this?

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  85. I've read a few pieces on this blog and I must say I'm a little surprised to find The Korean get so hostile and defensive as to tell people who disagree specifically with dog-eating to go fuck themselves. I hope by trying to set out the reasons I have against it, I can convince The Korean that not all those who disagree are mere sentimental woolly-minded idiots.

    Firstly, even if you accept that eating dog is no different from eating any other type of meat, there is no way to justify killing an animal by beating it to death. Generally, the debate about inhumane treatment of animals centres around the amount of suffering it is permissible to cause pursuant to other ends; we can disagree over how much is necessary in order to raise or slaughter animals efficiently, but we agree that we don't want to cause more than necessary. When the goal itself is to produce pain, however, there is simply no defense. Beating an animal to death is immoral and barbaric. If we can't agree on that much, then, well, we cannot continue the discussion, and The Korean can tell me to go fuck myself and I will invite him to do the same. I hope that won't happen.

    Before moving on, let me just note that this in itself is sufficient reason to give anyone pause before going into a dog restaurant in, say, Seoul. Sure, as The Korean pointed out, the chances are the dog was electrocuted the same way cattle are, but, as The Korean also pointed out, the industry isn't much regulated, and people actually want to eat dogs that have been killed in this way for the supposed energy boost, so you never know. Why should I take the risk of contributing to a practice I condemn?

    However, let's say I know for a fact the dog was slaughtered the same way as the chickens, pigs, and cows whose flesh I happily partake of. Why would I not try it? I think I can make a case for this but first let me outline some arguments I do not wish to make:

    (to be continued)

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  86. (cont from above)

    a.) I do not wish to say that other people (Koreans, say) should not eat dog merely because people from my culture feel uncomfortable with it. People from England generally used to feel there was something disgusting about eating squid. You could call it a cultural thing. But no one ever claimed it was a moral issue, which is why no one from England ever tried to persuade the Spanish, say, that they shouldn't eat squid. With dog meat, wrongly, or, as I believe, rightly, we feel there is a moral issue (and, also, incidentally, with horse meat and with the killing of song birds, but that's another topic).

    b.) I do not wish to argue in favour of vegetarianism. I agree that human beings are omnivores, so it's natural for us to eat pretty much anything unless there's some particular reason not to. I respect vegetarianism as a coherent position, but I think it's unhealthy and unnatural. What I want to argue against is dog-eating specifically.

    c.) I do not want to argue that dogs are smarter or cuter than other animals, nor that they have more personality. It's quite true that pigs can be cute, cows have soulful eyes, a donkey can have a distinct personality, and plenty of animal species can be pretty clever. On this point I do take issue with those who dismiss all such 'human-like' traits as merely instinctive, as if animals were merely some kind of automata, or who think human beings are just projecting their own emotions onto animals. If we dismiss emotions in animals we also dismiss ourselves, for we are animals too, related to all the others and closely related to the higher mammals that, by no coincidence, seem to display emotions the most. We see in them not an illusion of but a reflection of our own natures. However, while I think that's a good reason for not inflicting unnnecessary suffering on animals, I do not say that's a reason for not eating them. After all didn't I say we share the same nature as animals, which includes the tendency to eat other ones?

    d.) I do not say that a dog's life is more valuable than a human's. I don't think anyone has argued this seriously. Even the most ardent dog lover will kill and eat his dog in a life or death situation. Come to that, if people are desperate enough, they'll eat human flesh, and I don't condemn it.

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  87. (cont from above)

    So what's so special about dogs that we shouldn't eat them? I think it comes down to the fact that dogs are both affectionate and loyal, and that that demands reciprocation. The Korean said there is nothing special about this because it's canine nature; in other words that there is no moral value to a dog's loyalty because they do it by instinct rather than choice. I find this odd. Yes, it's true, as Jared Diamond pointed out in Guns, Germs, and Steel, that dogs are one of the few species suitable for domestication because dog society in the wild exhibits certain traits, one of which is that they form hierarchical groups that follow a pack leader. So a dog following its master is following evolutionary programming. What I say is that just because an emotional bond has evolved doesn't make it invalid.

    For instance, you can equally well say that a mother nurturing her child is following evolutionary programming, but no one would say that means it has no moral value. Instead, we regard the mother-child relationship as beautiful, moral, or even sacred. People have waxed poetic about the relationship between man and dog as well, because dogs really can be loyal to the death, and really will pine for their masters, more than any other animal. To ignore this at-least potential in dogs is heartless and ignorant.

    The Korean may ask why anyone with no personal relationship with a dog should care. Firstly, it's not just a matter of having a personal relationship with a dog, but of valuing such relationships in general and seeing dogs as at least potentially of value to someone. This is the situation in the Anglosphere countries in general, and in northern Europe and in fact many other regions of the world.

    Again, The Korean may ask why anyone not from one of these dog-loving countries should care. Because, I think, cultures can learn from one another. People in England, for example, have started to learn that there's nothing disgusting about squid and therefore gained from the knowledge. Koreans, I believe, are already starting to learn to value the relationship with dogs, and, once people in general realise how special dogs are, the attitude to dog-eating will change. This is not the past: there is no longer any shortage in Korea of other sources of animal protein. Dog-eating can no longer be justified as important to the diet, and soon people will no longer be able to claim ignorance of canine nature; so dog-eating should stop.

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  88. "Koreans, I believe, are already starting to learn to value the relationship with dogs, and, once people in general realise how special dogs are, the attitude to dog-eating will change."

    What if Hindus started demanding that you stop eating beef? Their relationship with cows is more sacred than Western relations with dogs – it's a religious obligation, not a societal attitude.

    In a similar vein of thought, my Jewish friends don't tell me that I shouldn't eat pork – they eat their things, and I eat mine.

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  89. When I started reading your opinion, I'll admit and say I had a million and one objections. I'm conflicted on the topic of humans being superior to animals as I was always a huge animal lover since a child and getting a pet perhaps meant more to me that other children, but I agree with your core point about eating dog meat.

    I love beef, and the outrage I feel about eating dog meat is the same outrage a Indian would feel about my eating meat. It's not my place to tell people what they can or cannot eat.

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  90. If a religion picks a certain animal to be sacred, or forbidden, there's no need for anyone to pay attention because it's completely arbitrary. Or possibly the Hindu prohibition on beef may have its origins in the economic importance of the cow in India, the Judaic prohibition on pork may be due to the number of parasites you can find in pork, and so on - but these kinds of reasons don't matter either in the modern age.

    The value we put on dogs, however, is *not* arbitrary. Objectively speaking, dogs behave differently, and that makes it objectively better to treat them as companions instead of as a source of animal protein - which we can source from plenty of other species anyway.

    Pfft. You people are so eager to respect other cultures, you're willing to sell out your own!

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  91. Matt, if you missed it, the Korean put a response in the body of the post.

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  92. To TheKorean:

    Thanks for the response. I had missed it.

    Ok, the point about there being no defense for cruelty wasn't actually directed at you but at people who might read your post, agree with it, and then go ahead and eat in a boshintang restaurant with no qualms (some commenters seemed to be saying that). I was just trying to say there's still reason to hesitate.

    I see you caught me out in the weakest part of my argument where I segued from saying it's immoral to eat dogs to saying they are simply of more value as companions than as food. I think there could still be a moral argument there - something along the lines of as humans we *should* prefer spiritual values to material? I'll have to think about that one.

    The other key point is whether animals, dogs in particular, can be said to make choices. I think a close study of the social animal species' behaviour reveals choice-like parallels with that of humans: for instance, mothers sometimes abandon their offspring when prospects for successful upbringing are poor, but sometimes also when the mother simply lacks maternal instincts or is just mean. But let's say animals don't make choices. *We* still do and to take advantage of canine instincts to gain dogs' loyalty only then to turn around and eat them is still a betrayal.

    Of course you're going to say Koreans don't so take advantage, and perhaps that's the root of this controversy i.e. that Westerners can't conceive of dogs outside this paradigm. It's hard for us not to equate eating dogs with betrayal and react accordingly. I think I can still say it's better to have a companion as loyal as a dog than a mere meal, but perhaps that's all I can say.

    Can't think of anything else right now. It's been interesting.

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  93. Are u certain about the statistical data with regard to popularity of dog meat in Korea? I couldn't go to the link since it was broken. But as a Korean who lived in Korea for 18 years (before I came to the U.S. to go to a college), I dont find this convincing. Maybe its a generation gap matter. I am 21 years old female and I have personally been disgusted by the idea of dog meat, but its just my personal value. I don't know a single person who happens to enjoy eating dog meat or like the idea of it, and I did ask a lot of my friends from time to time out of curiosity. But I can see how my dad's age generation would enjoy it.. but they are not the all population .....I would really like to find out more about that statistical data..

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  94. O. One of my friend ate once but it was because her father "tricked" her into believing that its rabbit or something...

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  95. O I found a data

    http://www.donga.com/fbin/output?n=200608060128

    Your data is significantly different from this one, but for me this seems more plausible..

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  96. Those definitions are contrived by the anthropocentric perspective of humans, so of course, animals will be defined as inferior. However, justifications of animals suffering and cruelty based on notions of a human's superiority is problematic. Historically, humans have justified their debase actions against other humans based on differences of appearance, language and perceived ability. Depraved acts against animals are justified in the same way. The lesson: if you continue to discriminate against other life forms because they don't look like you, speak your language, or have an ability equal to yours; then, my friend, we will never transcend racism, as, that rationale is wholly the basis of oppression and tyranny across cultures.

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  97. This article in enlightening and extremely well reasoned out. As a Korean-American, I have a view of dog meat nearly identical to yours.

    It seems that many of the objectors are not Korean or Asian. I think it's interesting to note the differences in how Americans and Koreans view dogs as pets. Most Americans (not Korean) that I know feed their dogs special food, let them inside their houses, and even give them pedicures. On the other hand, most Korean-Americans I know do not allow their dogs into their homes or cars and feed their pets leftovers or basic dog food (not special expensive meat products).

    Koreans (from what I know) don't really domesticate dogs as companions but as pets. Americans, on the other hand, have a much higher view of pets. In fact, many all their pets to sleep in their beds. This may largely affect the contrasting views in popular culture.

    Oh, and I really enjoyed reading your argument on the importance of human life over animal life. Well, it was saddening to read about our horrifyingly skewed justice system, but your words are a breath of fresh air. I wish some people would just get their priorities in order so see the significance of human life. I'd agree with you. It's terrible that animals are mistreated, but that mistreatment is a reflection of a greater evil...a sadistic human mind.

    I've been enjoying all the posts on your blog. Thank you so much. And congratulations on your wedding! :)

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  98. Being an expat who's lived in Korea for several years now, I frankly find the whole dog-eating issue quite boring and over done from all sides. However, what I found most interesting about your post are the legal issue you pointed out about dog meat being largely unregulated.

    I do a lot of cycling in the countryside and most of the farming operations around here are small scale, mom and pop operations. In general the conditions for live stock here seem (relatively) better than the horrifically cramped factory farms back in the U.S.

    However, the dog farms seem to be a noticeable exception to this (perhaps for the legal reason you mentioned already). As I'm a regular meat eater, feel free to call me a hypocrite, but the conditions on the numerous dog farms regularly cycle past are pretty cramped and harsh. What I've seen really leaves me with no desire to go out of my way to try dog meat.

    Anyhow, thanks for an interesting post as always.

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  99. Outside of Seoul, can you give evidence or perhaps stats that verify this: [Then they are generally electrocuted]

    *the reason I ask: it is my understanding (not the way IT IS but the way I understand it{please note I recognize I may be wrong})that the dog must be beaten for the meat to taste good and for the stamina benefits. This is not just from over zealous vegans but from the 6 different teacher classes I have taught and each time the story is the same from all of my teachers.

    [before being processed and shipped to restaurants.] This may be true in most of Korea as I recognize I have only been here 2 yrs and lived in only one part of Korea, however from the evidence I have seen with my own eyes is the dog is not pre-process before the restraurant. If that was so then the cages behind the restaurants would not exist, and the trucks filled with packed dogs in front of the restaurants would not exist, and the small cages that you go and choose the dog you want to eat that day would not exist. So, is this only in Seoul where the space needed to beat the dog doesnt exist, or what may account for this discrepancy?

    Last, I agree the single best thing would be to legalize it and regulate it, but what I think advocates fear is by doing so Korea will only wink at those that dont follow the laws. There are so many examples in Korea where this exist. For example: The alternative fuel tents, as long as you cant see the car getting the fuel because the tent conseals it then it doesnt exist. Or the parent that relentlessly beats their child because the child belongs to them and the parent is part of the higher social ladder, therefore nothing is done. Or the extreme advertisement and open business for prostitution. So in the end I think most sane advocate (not the bumbling minded vegans) believe the best policy is a full abolishment of it. Or perhaps a better example of leagalize meat is that of factory farming as you state, we have regulations and yet that doesnt stop the horrendous practices. So what may be the answer?

    Sorry one more last thing ^^ what do you say about these arguments specifically?
    * Korea was traditionally a Buddhist nation and therefore beating dogs for meat would have never been a "traditonal food."
    * Just has there are examples of ancient paintings that include dog slaughter for meat, their are also examples of paintings of dogs as referenced as a good luck charm And it could be deducted that something that is referenced as a good luck charm would not be beaten to death and eaten.

    ~seriously not looking for an argument, only looking for sincere replies/rebuttals that specifically pertain to arguments I have read.
    *Nicole

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  100. My only comment is -- great post!
    I've never tried dog meat, but when I get around to visiting Korea, I intend to.

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  101. To The Korean, are the views you expressed limited to the consumption of domestic animals? Or could they be extended to include animals which cannot be domesticated, such as whales?

    ----

    To Matt, the following statement you made is confusing.

    I think I can still say it's better to have a companion as loyal as a dog than a mere meal, but perhaps that's all I can say.

    Why is it an either/or proposition? Is it not possible to distinguish between dogs that are companions and dogs that are meals? If not, why?

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  102. Chrissy, the Korean's stance toward animals is the same for all animals, be they wild or domestic. However, he is in favor of protecting the whales and other endangered species. (NOT because whales are intelligent, etc. -- strictly because whales are in danger of disappearing.)

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  103. I've been to Korea (my sister lives there). I've walked through markets and seen dog hindquarters available for sale. OK. So what? I love dogs as companions but I wasn't about to go ballistic and toss up the man's store! It's just a fact of life - you learn to get used to it. I grew up in a neighborhood where butcher shops would hang gutted lambs, goats, etc. from hooks and display them in the window. Deer are cute - but I've eaten them. So are sheep, goats, even cows. What about the roast duck hanging from the hook at the restaurant? Or the live lobster? The lion may think the antelope is a cute looking animal - but that's not going to prevent him from taking down the antelope and eating it when the lion's survival is at stake.

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  104. I agree with the Korean. You decide what to eat to survive. And unfortunately it is also true that when really pressed, people do eat other people. I also agree that even if you are not starving, you should eat what you want within the confines of the law. It is legal in Korea to eat dogs. Just like here in the US it is legal to eat cows. However in India it is not legal to eat cows and we wonder what's wrong with them. I do not ever foresee eating anything other than chicken, cornish game hens, turkey, cow or pig. But that's my choice. Other people have a choice too. If the worry is over a creature being mistreated, then regulate the industry not eliminate choices. Besides, there are people out there who are starving who don't get a choice. Don't ridicule another culture to satisfy your need to control everything to your whim. I believe that is how and why wars happen.

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  105. An article I read recently that might be interesting:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/sep/06/meat-production-veganism-deforestation

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  106. ok I have a couple of things to say about this. First I agree with just about everything TK has said except for "The Korean thinks Vick got an unfairly large amount of punishment exactly because the punishment focused on the dogs, not on Vick."

    Gratz for you but the reality is that the crime was that he bankrolled the whole operation he made from playing in the NFL. He had millions to blow on more and more dogs. He would raise them to live in gladiator type conditions only to be drowned or beaten buy +300 .lbs men. In America it is not legal to destroy animals on a mass level. Seriously to murder any animal in such hardcore ways is sad for any human. Use a gun at least to show the mercy the animal you bred for your own financial and entertainment.

    As for the hooraw comments made for people saying that we are assholes for judging you guys haha what do you expect it is in most Americans nature to hate. How do you feel about the N Korean government? I am pretty sure you guys have a disposition to hate on them just like it is natural reaction for an American who has been raised to see a dog as only a pet to be appalled.

    I have tried dog before and it was with a Korean family right here in California. I thought it was soup but basically they told me what it was and offered it to me because I was curious.

    I think the real question is how do Koreans feel about the Japanese and there whaling and dolphin killing adventures?

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  107. First time reader and commenter. I was bored stiff stuck in middle of a nowhere sand box, and I came to this interesting blog.

    Coming from vacillating between the no dog meat to dog meat conumdrum, I say people should do what is compfortable and can accept.

    I personally do not eat dog meat, but I would not make it difficult for others. I may even think it may be quite tasty right now where I am doing this entry on the keyboard.

    It is a lot better to use dog meat for human consumption than have it as a road kill after the owners abandon it, and end up on back of some road maintenance truck. Besides I don't want to fix my car bumper because of someone who neglected to take care of their pets.

    I am what is considered 1.5 Korean American male (quite old compared to some readers on the blog) who is proud to be what I am. Some Korean trait and a lot of Southern California trait. I have for sometime become cynical of people trying modify my behavior from their laurels.

    Just take care of your immediate area within your arms length and then we call all "get along.!

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  108. I do think that Vick was fairly punished for creating and promoting a ring of cruelty. Regardless of whether you think the lives of dogs matter, making money by betting on which dogs will live and die is against the law; illegal gambling, illegal executions of animals, and countless other instances of animal cruelty.

    The Reyes case is unfortunate and I do agree that the manslaughter sentence should absolutely come with more time. I knew someone who was killed in a similar manner and the guy only got 3 years. But it was also an accident. Stallworth did not INTEND to cause harm.

    Call me a bleeding heart, but any sort of intentional unnecessary cruelty on anyone's behalf does not sit well with me. It also shows just a lack of respect for any sort of life in general, including human life. This may just be the Buddhist in me talking though.

    Korean, you may not find a dog's or cow's life important in the least. But if you're a good person, which I think you probably are, you won't intentionally hurt or torture ANY living being.

    Isn't the separation of "dogs for food" and "dogs for pets" the same as the argument as "You shouldn't eat dog, but you can eat cow"?

    Also, I doubt that even with the legalization of dog meat, that conditions for the animals will change much. Conditions for pigs, cattle and chicken really aren't that much better, and they are supposedly legally supervised.

    For reference, I am a Korean American who grew up in a Buddhist household, and who has never eaten dog meat. My parents and grandparents never believed in eating dog.

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  109. Rosemary wrote:
    Call me a bleeding heart, but any sort of intentional unnecessary cruelty on anyone's behalf does not sit well with me. It also shows just a lack of respect for any sort of life in general, including human life. This may just be the Buddhist in me talking though.

    I emphatically agree with this statement, whether it be applied to dog meat, pig meat, cow meat, chicken meat or eggs, animal fights, etc.

    I do find it curious to see a Buddhist named Rosemary, though I guess you could be named after the herb.

    Also, I doubt that even with the legalization of dog meat, that conditions for the animals will change much. Conditions for pigs, cattle and chicken really aren't that much better, and they are supposedly legally supervised.

    I'd like to know more about the conditions of pigs, cattle, and chickens in Korea, because that's what we'd be comparing it to.

    If Korean cows and pigs are raised in better conditions than their American counterparts, it's reasonable to make the case that dogs legally raised as livestock in a situation where the practice is regulated would be treated better than if the practice is unregulated.

    This leads to a question I'd been considering putting to The Korean, whose Korean language sleuthing skills are hella better than mine: Do the factory farming conditions that are so prevalent in the US (e.g., crowded conditions, feeding the animals unnatural diets, hormones, etc.) exist in South Korea? Do the celebrated Hanu beef cattle receive hormones? Are they fed cement?

    Despite its benefits, globalization sometimes manifests itself as a race to the bottom, and flooding markets with cheap beef means those competitors either have to adopt similarly bad practices (the BK approach), market their beef as more expensive but superior (the Apple approach), or simply die out (the Beta approach). Which one(s) is happening with the Korean beef (or pork or poultry) industry?

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  110. did you ever read this article? its a response to your blog on dog meat consumption.

    http://animalrightskorea.org/member-articles/dont-bother-to-ask-a-korean.html

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  111. Sam said..."In America it is not legal to destroy animals on a mass level. Seriously to murder any animal in such hardcore ways is sad for any human. Use a gun at least to show the mercy the animal you bred for your own financial and entertainment."

    Amazingly funny how narrow-minded & self-righteous Americans can be. And as usual they are quick to jump to wrong conclusions due to their half ass, half brained reading skills. I do not condone what Vick did but I do agree with TK that his punishment was excessive. Especially in light of Stallworth's paltry 30 days incarceration.

    Sam you state that mass murder is not legal. Yet, the U.S. is the only nation on earth that murdered 100s of 1000s of civilian humans in an instant with 2 nuclear devices. Those 2 actions are still maming and torturing their descendants today. Throughout the protracted war in Iraq the American military has murdered a million plus Iraqis. All while claiming that we are freeing them. Hey! Plank in your eye. I'll worry about the splinter in mine.

    Yes, you have the right to disagree with anyone's opinion or methods but you do not have the right to tell anyone what to do. I'll finish with a quote...go fuck yourself.

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  112. You may be interested in this article about "The Politics of Dog" http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_politics_of_dog

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  114. The Korean loves it when his opponents prove his point.

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  116. No-name Kevin,

    Being moral means we should cause less suffering.

    You should follow your own rules.

    Please reply to this logic you fucking douchebag:

    P1: Eating meat causes more suffering than not eating meat.
    P2: Eating meat is unnecessary.
    P3: Causing unnecessary suffering is wrong.
    Conclusion: Eating meat is wrong.


    Yes, take your own advice. I find it hilarious how such some people attack others for being cruel when they can't even be civil in a conversation.

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  118. Alright, the Korean will bite. Eating meat causes suffering only on the part of animals, which do not matter. (If you bothered to read the post, you would have understood this the first time.)

    So your P1 is wrong. Eating meat might cause more suffering for animals, but such suffering is irrelevant. Your P2 and P3 are wrong too, but the Korean will see you have to say about that. And please, remember to go fuck yourself first.

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  119. No-name Kevin wrote:
    Being civil is non-existent for this blog. It was never civil as the author originally told anyone who disagrees with him to go fuck themselves.
    Ittissaid, if you are caused suffering by my words, then go fuck your mother you whining pussy.


    When you blow in and the second thing out of your keyboard is, "You are a stupid, stupid piece of human shit," do you think you're convincing anyone of the worthiness of your argument or position, of vegetarianism in general?

    As sympathetic as I am to vegetarianism, you come across as someone who disdains humans and values animals, and I'm sorry, but that sounds a little messed up. If animals are to be valued, aren't humans as well? If so, then how does your tone fit into this?

    You may not like The Korean's tone, but is trying to outdo him on profanity or "your mother" comments a way to win hearts and minds?

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  122. I actually took the time to read your entire blog.

    Thanks! Thanks for doing that AFTER you said you wanted to eat my mother and children, you compassionate softie.

    Why did Michael Vick deserve to lose his constitutional freedom for 6 months?

    Then again, maybe you didn't read the post after all. Try again. Hint: focus on humans, not animals.

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  124. If you bothered to read one more sentence, you would have figured out why animal cruelty is illegal and should be punished.

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  126. This is not a good argument. People who kill animals don't kill more humans.

    You obviously never worked for law enforcement. At the LA County DA's office where the Korean worked, animal cruelty perps were referred to as "felons interrupted."

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  128. If you think working for factory farming entails the same level of deliberate sadism as as gratuitous animal abuse, you don't know a whole lot about humans. Which is a consistent theme among rabid, moralistic animal rights nutcases.

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  129. If you think factory farming does not entail the same level of suffering as deliberate sadism and gratuitous animal abuse, you don't know a whole lot about factory farms. Which is a consistent theme among rapacious animal eating nutcases.

    The only difference is intention. The factory farmer doesn't ALWAYS intend to harm animals. The sadistic animal torturer does. The factory farmer simply does his job. But the same amount of suffering is caused to animals in both cases.

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  130. The only difference is intention. The factory farmer doesn't ALWAYS intend to harm animals. The sadistic animal torturer does. The factory farmer simply does his job.

    Oh, ok. So you understand that factory farming and animal torture require different mens rea. Hence the different level of moral blame and by extension legal culpability. Another job well done for the Korean.

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  131. That's right, the animal torturer is MORE morally wrong and deserves MORE punishment than the factory farmer because of intention. But this fact doesn't absolve factory farms from all guilt.

    Both actions are wrong for basically the same reason (causing unnecessary suffering onto animals), although one action is more wrong than the other.

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  132. That's right, the animal torturer is MORE morally wrong and deserves MORE punishment than the factory farmer because of intention. But this fact doesn't absolve factory farms from all guilt.

    Sure. So the Korean wants factory farming to stop, as you noted. Pain suffered by animals is irrelevant to that determination.

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  133. You stupid douchebag, factory farming is immoral because of the suffering to animals. Have you not read anything I wrote?
    Battery hen farming is wrong because of the pain caused to the hens, not because it possibly harms human consumers or human workers. If it does indeed harm humans, then that's even MORE reason to condemn it.

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  134. And just how did you manage to prove that it is immoral to cause any suffering to animals, other than saying "Because I said so?" Think long and hard before you answer, because this is getting tiresome. The cat can bat around the mouse for only so long before biting its head off. Hey, there's an immoral cat.

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  135. By the way, back to eating dogs:

    You are correct in your original post that dogs are typically electrocuted before being shipped to restaurants. I have personally witnessed that. But another very common - and not so public method - is death by hanging. Estimates vary as to how often this happens, but there is no doubt it is a relatively common.

    I'd like to hear the Korean's opinion about this method. Here are two videos:
    http://www.stopeatingdogs.com/learn-more/how-dogs-are-slaughtered.html

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  136. "how did you manage to prove that it is immoral to cause any suffering to animals, other than saying "Because I said so?""

    Causing unnecessary suffering is immoral. If you don't agree with this, then there is no basis of which we will ever agree on anything.
    If I cut your mother's face with a Japanese blade just for fun, I cause her unnecessary suffering. Therefore, it's immoral.
    Eating animals (unnecessarily) also causes unnecessary suffering. Therefore, it's also immoral.


    "The cat can bat around the mouse for only so long before biting its head off. Hey, there's an immoral cat."

    Only humans are moral, rational creatures. Animals are not. Animals do no moral wrong. Humans can and do. Insofar as we are the only rational creatures, we alone are bound by morality.

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  137. I'd like to hear the Korean's opinion about this method.

    Read the questions policy on the right sidebar of the blog.

    Causing unnecessary suffering is immoral. If you don't agree with this, then there is no basis of which we will ever agree on anything.

    You thought I was going to agree with someone who started a conversation by saying you will eat my mother and children?

    If I cut your mother's face with a Japanese blade just for fun, I cause her unnecessary suffering. Therefore, it's immoral. Eating animals (unnecessarily) also causes unnecessary suffering. Therefore, it's also immoral.

    Back to square one again. Try arguing why human pain and animal pain are on equal moral plane, or even a comparable moral plane. I gave you 12 chances to do that so far, and you couldn't make your case. If your next comment doesn't make a strong case, this conversation is over. Good luck, idiot.

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  140. Many of your smug replies to reader objections and your attitude as a whole to the infallibility and righteousness of what you write implies heavy-handed nationalism and favoritism towards your own culture, and intolerance of others that don't happen to coincide nicely, a very delusional arrogance. In this view, you are really no better than the people you accuse of being ignorant. You also use morality and respect as some sort of invincible foundation to base the absolutism of your arguments, when those morals are exclusively Korean, or even extra-exclusive to yourself. Right and wrong is a human machination, and ultimately the one with the bigger guns calls the shots. You also claim biology dictates the natural order of things. Biology is also bounded by social darwinism, and a vast majority of the modern world and the privileged among us, who control it, say its time to move on. A peasant meal is a peasant meal, unless you revel in its mediocrity, which contradicts your own advocacy of unbridled human nature and "biology" as the superior path.

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  141. kimahri, the Korean loves it when all his opponent can say is epithets, as our friend Mr. Kevin Lahey started off his conversation with the Korean.

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  143. Kevin,

    Finally, a sign of intelligence! Now, would it have hurt you so bad to make your case before you threatened to eat my mother and children? Just for that, I'm eating another dog.

    1. Your entire logic hangs on this sentence: "the only unique and relevant quality that all humans share is the ability to feel pain."

    The "only" part is obviously untrue. Humans have many other commonality other than the ability to feel pain. We all have five fingers, for example. So now, your entire logic hangs on the word "relevant." And you do a piss poor job at explaining why the ability to feel pain is relevant over all else.

    To do that, all you can do is to offer a bunch of qualities and reject them on one arbitrary reason after another. In one part, you are basically saying that "Ability to feel pain is relevant because there is no genetic disorder that nullifies that ability, whereas there exist disorders for other traits (like intelligence.)" In another part, you are spectacularly contradicting yourself. You say intelligence does not matter because some animals have intelligence. Language does not matter because some animals can communicate in some primitive way. Yet the ability to feel pain matters, and even more so because animals can feel pain too? You did prove that some animals are smarter than some humans, I guess.

    2. The attempt to find a quality that makes human a human is the fallacy in your logic. By trying to have humanity depend on that quality, you are making human value contingent. In other words, you are trying to say that a person can only be human if the person has the Quality X. And somehow, the ability to feel pain appears to be the good fit for that Quality X, because fortuitously, there is no genetic disorder that negates the ability to feel pain. But suppose there is. Suppose a baby is born to human parents, with an unheard-of neurological disorder such that she feels no pain. Is she not a human? Less than human but better than animals?

    This line of query is itself offensive, because HUMANITY IS NOT CONTINGENT TO ANYTHING. Humans are humans because they are humans. Humans do not cease to be humans simply because they are lacking in one thing or another that appears prevalently among other humans. In other words, humanity is ABSOLUTE. The value of humans is likewise absolute. That value does not depend on having or lacking any one trait.

    This leads us to your next question: “why should ONLY human suffering count? Of billions of species on planet Earth, why do only Homo sapiens deserve moral consideration?”

    Why? BECAUSE HUMANS MADE THIS WORLD, IDIOT. Humans built civilization and the current world in which we live. Humans made the moral code based on what WE think and feel, not based on what dogs think and feel. Why is it strange that the maker of a thing is the sovereign master of the thing?

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  144. 3. If your meager brain managed to follow the logic thus far, here is your last question: how do we condemn animal cruelty and factory farming?

    Because of the negative effect it has on humans, as explained previously. Only the value of humans is absolute in this world. All other things, including animals, derive their value contingent to humans. In other words, their only value is relative to what they do for humans. Like you said, animal pain closely mimics human pain. So the gratuitous desire to cause something very, very close to human pain is likely to lead to actually causing human pain. (And pretty much all law enforcement experience bears this out.) That’s why animal cruelty is wrong and must be punished.

    Your feeble objection is "animal torture doesn’t necessarily lead to human torture." So what? We condemn and punish intents that do not necessarily lead to harm all the time. Recently back in America, the Dept of Homeland Security arrested potential terrorists in a sting operation. Those terrorists thought they were going to set off a bomb, but in fact they were working only with DHS agents. So in reality, these terrorists had ZERO likelihood of actually hurting someone. And people rightly condemn and punish them nonetheless, because we want to punish the intent.

    Same with factory farming. It is not healthy for humans to be so totally unsympathetic toward something that mimics human pain so closely. But unlike gratuitous animal cruelty, the benefits of factory farming is a lot more substantial. Therefore, people are much more conflicted about actually punishing factory farmers. That’s why there is a law against animal cruelty, but no law against factory farming, yet.

    Now, if you still insist that animal pain has an absolute value as opposed to contingent value, try disproving this statement: “Suppose that we could arrange the gradual extinction of carnivorous species, replacing them with new herbivorous ones. Or suppose that we could intervene genetically, so that currently carnivorous species would gradually evolve into herbivorous ones. If we could bring about the end of predation by one or the other of these means at little cost to ourselves, we should do it.” The foregoing came from a whimsical NY Times article that elicited a lot of incredulous responses. Have fun trying to eliminate all carnivores.

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  145. And don't start jerking off just yet, Kevin. I only make sure to know who the fuck is trying to kill my family. Over dogs.

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  147. First, let us soberly face our biological destiny. Men have penises. We are biologically wired to rape. There is no human society that does not rape, absent certain religious or personal creeds that overrides the biological impulse. Our biological destiny is amoral. We do not think gander are immoral because they rape. That is what they do. Similarly, humans rape. That’s what we do. Even in places that have few women, humans turn to rape. (Insert irrelevant example of some Stone Age society).

    One might think one would just go abstinent rather than going through the trouble of catching and raping these little critters.
    As biological rapists, there can be no moral judgment attached to the fact that humans rapist. In order to rape, pain must be caused on women. This is not only inevitable, but also universal in a world in which animals rape other animals to reproduce. Sentient beings cause pain – and indeed, death – to other sentient beings all the time, as far as reproduction is concerned. It is unpersuasive to say that humans must be an exception.



    Biology isn't destiny when you have a brain and frankly this reasoning is beneath you.

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  149. Mmm that last line was too hostile. I'm sorry, it was late when I wrote this and I wasn't thinking clearly.

    I still think you made a mistake here though.

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  150. Kevin, declare victory all you want, because the Korean is not lowering himself to visit your insignificant blog. As Koreans say, people don’t walk around dog shit because they are scared of it.

    Adam, this sentence is from the post: “Even as an avid meat-eater, the Korean will readily accept this point – while there can be no moral judgment attached to the fact that humans eat meat, there can be moral judgment attached to how humans eat meat. This is just like the fact that humans are supposed to have sex, as it is their biological destiny to have sex. However, morality dictates that there are certain restrictions as to how sex may be conducted in human society.”

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  151. I mean I guess what I'm trying to say here is that biology doesn't really dictate what we're "supposed" to do. All it tells us is what our distant ancestors did, in fact, do. At no point in our evolutionary history did a magical ribs-loving spirit cast a tooth-sharpening spell on us because it decided that monkeys had the right to eat dead animals. Our ancestors just developed the relevant organs because doing so gave them a survival advantage. Any legal documents attached to those organs exist only in your mind.

    I'm not even entirely sure what you're trying to say here. "People should act in ways that maximize their Darwinian fitness, given that they don't hurt other people too much?" This should actually lead a first-worlder to adopt either a vegetarian diet or something pretty close, which according to the Surgeon General reduces the risk of most diseases of the rich world.

    "People have the right to do whatever they have the biological capacity to do, except for things that hurt other people"? This is closer to what your post seems to be arguing, but at least to me it seems a bit arbitrary. Why do people have this right? I'm a bit curious about where you get your information on what "anyone with a moral compass" believes and what "morality" dictates. What about the large number of people who think animals do have at least some intrinsic worth?

    Finally, you seem to be lumping everyone who thinks killing animals for food is morally wrong with the people who spike trees and throw bombs at whaling ships, which I find odd since so much of your blog is about avoiding lumping people into big groups. What if you believe that animals are indeed less worthy than people are, but not so much less worthy that we can freely kill them by the boatload because we like KFC? The whole "this sort of thinking leads us down a dangerous path, young padawan" thing is the definition of a slippery slope argument.

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  153. Very interesting read. I live in Seoul now and after reading your blog am considering trying gaegogi. I recently ate a couple bites of silk worm larvae soup so I think I could be game for dog meat (never in my life would I have thought to try bugs! EEK!). Dog meat is just another source of protein. I definitely agree with you that it needs to be regulated, and that animals' living conditions need to improve. I use to be a vegetarian for 3 years so I can understand their side to a point. Bottom line though is that humans are omnivores, and biologically the only reason why we are top of the food chain is because our ancestors consumed meat. Increased brain size shows a direct link with meat consumption in our ancestors as evidenced in fossil records. I can't remember if it was a comment you responded to but cannibalism was mentioned. Now there is a reason why cannibalism is so taboo. Human meat is actually the best source of protein for humans. The problem then comes up when you think, "hey, I actually like my sister/mother/friend!", and you don't want them to be consumed. That is why cannibalism is taboo. And in response to Mr. Vick: he definitely deserved his sentence. And I do think it is disgusting that someone who molests a child can get less jail time/no jail time for first offense. But that is injustice of the law- and it should be changed. If Michael Vick got 23 months for dogs, than a pedophile should get 5 years for a child at least. Hell, I would like to see those guys put away for life!

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  154. Adam,

    ”... to me it seems a bit arbitrary. Why do people have this right?”

    Because people are the only beings who have absolute value in our moral code. If there is any other absolute, there inevitably comes a point when human interest must be pushed aside in favor of animal’s interest. Hence, the Michael Vick example. Vick had a constitutional right to receive punishment commensurate to his crime, as codified in the law. That right was trampled because people cannot get over the fact that he killed dogs. (If he was running a cockfighting ring, there is no way he gets any more than 6 months in prison, consistent with the lawfully adopted Federal Sentencing Guideline.) Remember, Vick’s constitutional rights are your constitutional rights too. How many dogs are worth your constitutional rights? 100 dogs? 1,000 dogs? And how does this make sense to abridge Vick’s constitutional rights when even murderers and child molesters receive their full constitutional rights?

    Call this slippery slope argument if you want, but much of our laws and moral code depends on stopping the slide down that slope. For example, no magic makes cars safe at 64 mph on highways, and dangerous at 66 mph. But we still have a speed limit of 65 mph on highways, because we don’t want people to speed.

    Kevin, see above.

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  156. The Korean already answered that question. If you don't get it, that's your problem.

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  158. Fabulous post will good data backing up your points.
    I'm American, but live in Japan and my Korean boyfriend and I LOVE dog meat. I totally have pictures of my chihuahua in the same album as 보신탕 pics.

    I think it's completely rude and childish to be offended (and noisy) by someone else's dietary choices. I never tell vegetarians or vegans that they are evil because they don't eat meat like a normal omnivore. If they're not going to appreciate it, I'd rather they didn't bother. More for me.

    However when I lived in the states, people never got tired of being disgusted at the fact that I eat meat, or hunt deer for food. Hunting wild game is so much more humane than mass production "farms" so it's just unbelievable that people could point fingers at me for doing something both natural and humane.

    Kudos to you Korean, for living in such a loud and opinionated country and not backing down to the boisterous minority protesters.

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  160. Kevin Lahey, you fucking coward. You start off on this comment thread sending me death threats against my family anonymously, and then you erased them all when you (accidentally?) revealed your real name. Please, you think your comments went away? I have them all in my archive. If you are ashamed of the fact that you issued numerous death threats against me and my family, apologize now. Otherwise, all of your comments are coming back up.

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  161. So the guy who wrote to me, "I would rather see your hearts stop beating and your minds kissed away by a .38 caliber bullet," is a lecturer or prof of some kind at a women's university?

    Jiminy frickin' Christmas!

    I'll give him the Sarah Palinesque benefit of the doubt and assume he just meant that figuratively and that he's not actually a rage-filled and violent person who is just a ticking time bomb waiting to go postal.

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  162. Dear Kevin Lahey,

    You said one thing I agree with. As you say, "As biological omnivores, we have a choice."
    I totally agree. You can choose what you want to eat and I'll choose what I want. You want cereal for breakfast and I want eggs. Help yourself. But don't try and order for me at a restaurant. You're not me.

    You say that you can't eat a sentient animal without it suffering... Ever tried Buddhism? Life is suffering. Why do women suffer in childbirth? Isn't that supposed to be a "magical" thing? New life? Maybe to reduce suffering in the world we should make childbirth illegal. I bet you like puppies. Think of the poor mommy dog that had to suffer to bring those puppies in the world.

    I guess the best thing to do is be thankful for what the world gives us and appreciate the suffering that is necessary in life. Thank you dog for making cute puppies. Thank you chicken for making delicious eggs.

    Also, heh, you're next post made me laugh. "I doubt a person like you exists". Welps, here I am.
    Why would anyone bother to write a comment on a post agreeing with someone if they didnt exist? I feel just as unethereal today as yesterday.

    And while I don't know about the legality raising dogs for meat in Japan, you can most certainly find it on the menu at Korean restaurants here. Plus Japanese people used to eat dogs anyway.

    As for dolphin meat... being "not rare"? I have never ever seen dolphin for sale. I would have definitely tried it. You can find whale at any sushi place and in the supermarket... but not dolphin.

    My friend grew up in Wakayama, where the dolphin harvest videos on youtube are shot from, but she has never seen or eaten dolphin. Whale however was a staple in the school lunches.

    Don't know where you got your information, but I doubt you've even been to Japan and gone to a fish market.

    Plus, as The Korean says, you are sending death threats to someone you don't even know, because they have different beliefs? People like you cause the most suffering in the world.
    If you're trying to do something about easing the suffering in the world, try not causing it yourself and go feed hungry people. Maybe if they had had enough meat in the past they wouldn't have a history of eating dog, don't you think?

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  166. Kevin,

    If it was so obvious that you were not serious about killing me and my family, why did you erase your death threats? Hmm? Surely if it was so obvious, you wouldn't have minded leaving up your statement that you wanted a .38 caliber bullet in Kushibo's head or you wanted to carve my mother's face with a Japanese blade, right?

    But you know what? You are right. I have been taking you way too seriously. It's been fun playing with you, Kevin Lahey. I'm sure you know already that this post alone generates easily a thousand visitors a day. If you are a praying man, you should pray no future employer of yours Google your name and find your death threats.

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  167. Kevin Lahey wrote:
    Surely, no serious threats of violence were ever made by me.

    The rhetoric used was only used to prove the point that what we eat has strong moral implications. If what we eat has no moral bearing whatsoever, then I can eat anything I want, including the Korean's mother and children.

    I don't subscribe to violence. I mean to show you that such a philosophical stance, if carried out logically, entails these conclusions!


    I think, Professor Lahey, you are assuming we do not recall what you actually wrote. In fact, when you wrote to me that you would rather see my mind "kissed away by a .38 calibur [sic] bullet," it was in direct response to a suggestion that "trying to outdo [The Korean] on profanity or 'your mother' comments" was a poor way "to win hearts and minds" to your cause, a cause which I had showed no hostility toward.

    Let's take a look back at that record.

    I wrote:
    When you blow in and the second thing out of your keyboard is, "You are a stupid, stupid piece of human shit," do you think you're convincing anyone of the worthiness of your argument or position, of vegetarianism in general?

    As sympathetic as I am to vegetarianism, you come across as someone who disdains humans and values animals, and I'm sorry, but that sounds a little messed up. If animals are to be valued, aren't humans as well? If so, then how does your tone fit into this?

    You may not like The Korean's tone, but is trying to outdo him on profanity or "your mother" comments a way to win hearts and minds?


    There was no hostility toward you or attack on your argument, merely constructive criticism that you were undermining your position with your tone and rhetoric.


    And how did you respond? Let's look:
    Dear Koshibo,
    I give 3 fucks if I win hearts and minds. I would rather see your hearts stop beating and your minds kissed away by a .38 caliber bullet. I am right, whether or not you cunt faced fucks want to admit it. So bring your bullshit sympathetic value to a theory in need.


    [continued in next comment...]

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  168. [continued from previous comment...]

    Your "provocative" comments that are meant to "keep you thinking" and not "meant to be literal" or taken seriously, were wholly inappropriate. Your response to someone suggesting you might win over people to your position and cause by dispensing with violent rhetoric was to make a clear statement you wanted to kill that person with a gunshot to the head.

    And just ten days after Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was nearly assassinated that same way, with six innocent lives taken by the same sicko.


    I am, quite literally, straight out of Compton, California, Professor Lahey, and consequently, if someone tells me they wish I were shot in the head with a .38, I take that very seriously, even if you later say it was a glib remark.

    With your language and your behavior, you are increasingly demonstrating that you may be a borderline sociopath. A vegan or animal rights activist with pure intent would value both human and non-human animals alike and not fantasize about killing humans who disagree with him. He would not say things like...

    The Japanese fucked up when they raped but didn't kill your great grandmothers.

    Perhaps, Professor Lahey, you have chosen to hide your sociopathic tendencies behind a veneer of animal rights rhetoric, expressed among earnest animal lovers, where your pathological misanthropy may seem to come across merely as misanthropy only toward those who eat animals, something that can be rationalized by those fellow animal rights activists (or your students or co-workers) who witness inklings of your violent tendencies, hotheadedness, and disdain for other humans as just really impassioned love of animals.

    Well, it's pretty clear you crossed a line here. Like I said, you may claim that your airing of fantasies to shoot someone who disagreed with you in the head with a .38 is not to be taken seriously, and ditto with claims that some poor woman should have not just raped but also killed, but when it's my head or my halmŏni, I have no choice but to take your rhetoric very, very seriously.

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  169. Dear Kevin Lahey,

    Why do you write posts and then delete them? They get sent by email to all the people that have responded anyways...
    I am not A Korean let alone THE Korean. I'm certainly not Kushibo either.

    If you don't want to share your opinion publicly, then don't bother sending out emails with things you can't decide if you want to post or not b/c you haven't given them any serious thought.

    I guess when you said
    Kushibo = The Korean
    Sarah = The Korean


    you must have deleted it b/c you remembered that I live in Japan, as we talked about, and they live in America, right? Kind of difficult to send comments from both sides of the Pacific ocean at the same time.

    Comments like this make me doubt that you have any actual logical or factual basis for your posts.

    As for:

    I did say that if eating meat is not morally objectionable, then eating humans must also not be morally objectionable. (insofar as humans are made of meat!)


    AWESOEM!~!!
    hahha, YES human meat is ok to eat I think. You can't be so biased as to say one meat is ok and another is not. Cow is ok and dog is not? Don't be so narrow minded!

    lions think human is just as good to fill their bellies with as impala.
    However, human meat is not recommended for human consumption in the same way that MOST animals do not practice cannibalism.
    So while I may eat dog meat, I don't feed my dog from the table.

    meat is meat. cannibalism is cannibalism. That's y there's a diffferent name for it other than "having dinner".

    you really should have left that post up =D

    Sat 9AM - Japan

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  170. So Kevin Lahey has removed all his offending remarks where he fantasized about shooting me (and others) in the head, and stated how it would have been better if now elderly Korean women had been raped and killed instead of just raped.

    I wonder if he is worried that his university will do due diligence as they consider renewing his contract for next month. Well, it's a good thing there's still a record of what this violent sociopath wrote.

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  171. Really not a good practice to eat carnivores. Heavy metals and other toxins accumulate, not to mention parasites and other pathogens, at the top of the food chain. Dogs are the only creatures that chose to be domesticated. We've been with them so long, we probably learned some of our social skills from the dog.
    They say the Japanese don't eat dog like other Asian countries because the Ainu held the dog in such high esteem. Also, it was rare with the Maori (ritual cannibalism is another story.) Dogs were too useful for other purposes (such as obtaining pig and other game) to eat them. Personally, I'd eat another human before I'd eat dog.

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  172. Personally, I think that dogs should not be eaten. That is my belief because I am a Dog owner who happens to love their dogs very much. Dogs have proven themselves to be very smart and loyal to their owners. Dogs have feelings just like humans do. If you beat a human they cry out in pain, If you beat a dog it cries out in pain. Just because it is an animal does not mean that they do not feel pain or have emotions like humans do. If I remember correctly humans are animals to since we evolved from monkeys, which is an animal. The only difference between us and let's say a lion, a monkey or in this case a dog is that we have evolved more. We wear clothing, we look diffrent as far as were not hairy like monkeys, we can speak, we can build things, make technological advances in things like medicine etc...

    It is true what you say as far as pigs being just as smart maybe even smarter than dogs, yet we still eat them. Well, the only explanation I could give for this is that this is a relatively new discovery. For a long time pigs were thought to be stupid dirty animals and only thought of as food. While dogs have been by man's side since as far back as caveman days. Even the Native American's had dogs as their companions.

    Yes it is peoples right to eat what they want, for example, if someone wants to eat a roach that's his purgative. But I think that if it must be done it should be done in a humane way without causing a traumatic death. I am sure no human would want to be shackled to a wall hanged then beaten with a bat so their meat is tender before being cooked in a soup.

    I just think that people should stop being so barbaric when it comes to
    killing animals for meat.



    Shy

    PS: this is just my opinion please don't bash me for it lol!

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  173. Have you read Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose? It's a biography about Lewis and Clark and their expedition. The book is based on the journals of these two explorers. In the book, on more than one occasion, Lewis or Clark (I forget which one) mentions eating dogs for dinner. The way it was written in the journal was rather matter of factly, implying that dogs were often eaten for their meat, right here in America. In fact, they mention how tasty it was compared to buffalo they had been eating. Well, Lewis and Clark are as American as you can get both born in Colony of Virginia. Since that time, delicacy of dog meat in the States disappeared for whatever reason. The point is that Lewis and Clark and their crew ate dogs because they were around them and they needed food. And this happened right here in America. I thought you might find that interesting.

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  174. I personally think that people are wasting more money trying to stop dog eating then dog eating themselves...(a.k.a. dog eating wastes revolts money $$$).
    And if one was to go bite a head of a dog in Korea, who cares! But in America, people are like, "Ohhh, I'm going to sue you!(By the way suing is way to common in America compared to Korea(cause I'm a young Korean myself). My point is that America influences Korean traditions way to much because before America and Korea met, people in Korea never revolted! SO I think America should just lay off of our culture.(I still <3 love America!)

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  175. Alex, have you ever owned a dog?

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  176. Great post, very interesting.
    Any particular reason as to why horse meat is rarely consumed in Korea? Was it just a too expensive animal, like the cow?

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  177. "In other words, while attempting to reduce the suffering of dogs raised for meat through regulation is a valid and worthy goal, boycotting dog meat is not the way to do that."

    This logic doesn't make any sense. Boycotting dog meat would surely reduce the suffering of dogs. It's simple supply and demand.
    If the industry was made legal, more dogs would be raised and subjected to cruel, inhumane conditions. There would be dogs in legalized factory farms.

    Do you really think legalizing the industry would somehow make the lives of dogs better?! haha, what naive nonsense!
    If you really think this way, you have no idea how the Korean government deals with animal welfare issues.

    The notion that Korea has more compassion than America for farmed animals is complete and utter ridiculousness. They both equally don't give a shit at all.

    In reality, anyone who eats dog, or supports dog meat eating actually increases suffering for Korean dogs. Period.

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  178. Personally I wouldn't eat dog, probably because I'm from a culture where it's not traditionally acceptable, but I also think it's odd that there is a wealth of sources of protein on this planet but Western culture seems to have settled on only eating a handful of them.
    I'm from the U.K. We're island people, we should eat more fish than most and in the past we did. WWII made the waters dangerous so we ate less fish and fish consumption didn't really pick up to where it used to be after the war.
    Also offal used to be far more popular than it is now. I think it's irresponsible to only eat the "best bits" of the animals we butcher and it's illogical to spend so much of our resources on just a few select types of meat when there's loads of seafood we should eat (in terms of variety), and there's insects (they are a healthy, protein rich choice utilised elsewhere in the world), even things such as rabbit are way down on the list for consumption, and guinea pigs were brought here for food but never really made it to the table. We could fish, gather, or hunt for more types of protein that wouldn't put a strain on our land/sea to over produce a few select types.
    I think our attitude to meat that we have either fallen out of eating commonly, or have never really tried, needs serious work. Prawns and crabs are like the insects and spiders of the sea but we eat them. Pigs are as intelligent as dogs but we eat them. Even something as tame as mushrooms, there is such variety but we only eat a couple of types in the U.K. bar trying an occasional exotic dish.
    Short answer (after rambling on :P) meat is meat. If you eat it be sure it's an ethical process that minimises suffering but other than that who is to say who should eat what types when certainly where I come from much is ignored or worse wasted after we kill it.

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  179. "Meat is meat."

    This is the pinnacle of lazy thinking. All animals are different in capacity, mental complexity, etc. So why would we attribute an equal status to all animals?

    Is dolphin meat equal to oyster meat?

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  180. Is dolphin meat equal to oyster meat?

    Of course it is.

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  181. "Jacob said...

    "Meat is meat."

    This is the pinnacle of lazy thinking."

    It's not lazy just because you don't agree with it.

    "Is dolphin meat equal to oyster meat?"

    Yes that's my point. It's all protein and we are omnivores, if it's not poisonous then the choice is based on sentiment.

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  182. I am Korean American (I moved to America at age 12)
    I completely embarrassed from this blog. Not all Koreans eat dogs! Why do you try to justify eating dogs?! Many of us don't want this to continue. It's not our culture because most Koreans don't want to continue.
    It's so embarrassing to Koreans. Stop talking about this! Please!

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  183. I'm a Korean American who completely agrees with "The Korean" on this dog-eating issue.
    Also, I appreciate him taking so much time to do researches to back up his points and answering objections.

    Clearly, most people who sent in objections haven't spent the time to backup their point of view or even thought through for a period of time.
    (Anti-dog eaters, please read or search this page before sending the same objections that were already addressed.)

    If anti-dog eaters care for dogs or animal in general, they should check out www.humanesociety.org for more serious animal problems.
    While checking out animal problems, more compassionate folks should check out the human problems in Haiti without clean water, dying people in Darfur and other parts of Africa, and others who are being killed in Arab nations amongst riots against dictators.
    Lastly, we all need to worry about reducing CO2 greenhouse gas, honey bees dying, and energy dependency on oil and nuclear power plants.

    In my humble opinion, dog-eating in small parts of the world is the least problem people need to worry about, unless they have nothing to do with their pathetic lives.


    By the way, I have never eaten any dog in 33 yrs, my whole life. None of my immediate Korean family members had.
    I personally despise killing animals for fur coats, to hang the head on the wall, to reduce the number, or anything other than eating them.

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  184. My my, you're going to give yourself a heartattack with this topic Korean.

    While I don't argree with your arguments, I accept your point of view as valid.

    I recognize that my opinions are laregly a product of my cutural upbringing, and that there but for the flip of a coin I go.

    Ultimately though, mixing logic and morality is always folly. Your arguments are a prime example of an intelligent person making a stupid mistake.

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  185. how people eat dogs, it's really awdul.
    Dear korenas please do not do this any more.....

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  186. After reading this post, I changed my view about it. Before I thought it was sort of barbaric, but it is just a cultural sign. And I couldn't agree more about leaving people alone with their food preference, as long as those are fine and humanely created.

    I wouldn't still eat though, mainly because I could end up picturing my dog in the food. But that is just my preference and I respect others' preferences for eating dogs.

    Like you said, they just need to be raised and killed in a human way.

    I am quite impressed with your patience to deal with all this raging comments though! (:

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  187. I quite agree with this article. Although I would never eat dog meat (as I do love dogs very much), There isn't any reason for a person to criticize what another eats. As long as its done humanely I really have no objections.
    Humans are more important than animals.
    I also really like that you have taken the time to respond to those that disagree with you. And you've done a bit of research to.

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  188. This blog is filled with hypocrisies, factual errors, and illogical presumptions. The Korean also believes in fan death! haha, what an idiot. He just likes to reinforce Korean stereotypes. No one should take what he says seriously.

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  189. yes! finally there is someone who is able to logically and rationally present the fact to the public that there are no reasons relying on anything other than personal preference or culture, to condemn the eating not just of dogs but meat in general. i personally do not eat dogs, and in fact find the practice repulsive, but i do not delude myself into thinking that i have any basis other than personal preference for my views. society must realize that logic and reasoning is elder to previously held impressions and prejudices when logic overturns previous views.

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  190. Dog meat tastes amazing. Nuff said.

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  191. I think people should stop eating animals and plants needlessly. Animals and plants have the same right to live that humans do and the way that humans kill thousands of plants and animals to live is inhumane. Technology has advanced to the point where we can synthetically create whatever we need from chemicals (all my clothes are polyester) and food should be no exception. So I think all people should switch to a diet consisting primarily of soda and candy made from only synthetic sugars. If we don't advance from a society that eats things that was once alive, we can't truly call ourselves civilized.

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  192. Btw... Theres a movement starting called HSAFM or Homo Sapiens Against Flora Mutilation our first protest is against Habitat for Humanity (or inhumanity lol) for using mangled plant corpses to create cesspools for people who could just as well live in caves. Help stop this act of cruelty. Ill post a website as soon as we replace our webmaster who was expelled for the act of raising respectable tomato plants for the sole purpose of devouring its offspring.

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  193. figurativenonsense: Literal nonsense, trolling, or unfunny satire? You decide!

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  194. Personally, I think eating dog is right up there in the "ew" factor with eating penis, intestines, human and roasted bugs. I would fail at fear factor. :))

    About the bit about torturing a billion dogs to save a stranger, yup I definitely couldn't do it. So er... Props to you... I guess....? >.>

    I THINK I could probably eat dog if I hadn't seen the dog before... or knew that it was dog... I mean, I can eat cow, and chicken... I guess I'm just a girly wuss and not used to it. I can't eat anything that I've had as a pet or that still has it's face when it's on the plate. XD

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  195. Also, I think I just don't get a shit about humans as much as you or most of the other commentators seem to. Maybe it's my ASPD, but I feel worse for the dogs that were tortured by that asshole Vick than that guy who was hit and killed by the NFL dude.

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  196. I have never ran into any Korean or rather any Asian person who eats dog meat. I'm pretty sure there are people who do eat it though but it doesn't bother me in the least. I don't care as long as I am not forced to eat it. Whatever floats your boat man.

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  197. I have to laugh at vegetarians. Their arguments as to why we should stop eating animals is, as you put it, wooly-eyed. Nature has the damn predator-prey thing for a reason, and they don't get it. I'm certain at least some of them would stop giving me a hard time about being a deer hunter when said deer became overpopulated and started demolishing their crops.

    Meanwhile, I'm studying abroad in South Korea this summer, and now that I know how to order dog soup, I'm going to specifically find myself some. Food is an important part of culture, and I agree with you, don't knock it 'til you try it.

    I agree. If you don't like it, so be it, but DON'T come whining to me about how that poor dog had feelings and whatnot. Fine, they had feelings. And you know what? They're going to give me feelings too; a feeling of fullness, and one of bliss, and the feeling that I'm not going to go hungry for a while.

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  198. I have to laugh at people who laugh at vegetarians. They simply don't put much thought in trying to understand the vegetarian argument. Most of them simply want to continue satisfying themselves.
    Ethical vegetarianism stems from the fact that we don't NEED to eat animals AND the fact that animals don't want to be eaten.

    "Nature is cruel" and "might is right" are very sad excuses to inflict unnecessary suffering. Humans are supposed to be better than that. We are the only creatures capable of understanding right vs. wrong. Thus, we have moral obligations to act separately from the animal kingdom. Why should we act like the rest of the animal kingdom? (e.g. we don't think it OK to eat our own babies although many species in the wild have shown to do just that).

    As far as dogs are concerned, there is no difference (morally speaking) between a dog and pig. But that doesn't mean we should eat them both. Indeed, the opposite is true. We shouldn't eat either one.

    I also live in South Korea. I've been here for 5 years. There is a strong movement growing to ban dog meat completely and it's gaining a lot of steam. So, I'd say goog luck and eat up while you still can! haha

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  199. Ethical vegetarianism stems from the fact that we don't NEED to eat animals AND the fact that animals don't want to be eaten.

    What does ethical vegetarianism say about the fact that plants don't want to be eaten either?

    There is a strong movement growing to ban dog meat completely and it's gaining a lot of steam.

    And that movement created such a strong reaction that dog meat is now very unlikely to disappear from Korea. So thanks.

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