Different countries have vastly different traditions when it comes to food, and the custom of eating dog meat in parts of China is a classic example. However, it seems that this practice has become quite controversial both within China and abroad, as demonstrated by a heated dispute over a recent “Dog Meat Festival” in Yulin City. Apparently, some Chinese cities have already chosen to ban such events in accordance with the changing tides of public opinion.
YBut Yahoo! Japan netizens, who are often unreceptive to foreign ideas and openly hostile towards China, have overwhelmingly sided with China in the issue of whether it is humane to use dogs for food. Many responded with an admonition to respect other countries’ food traditions, even the ones you don’t understand. Continued frustration over the increasingly strict international restrictions on whaling may explain netizens’ newfound open-mindedness, since many Japanese people consider whaling a misunderstood and unfairly handled part of traditional Japanese culture.
From Yahoo! Japan:
China: 10,000 Dogs Used For Food In “Dog Meat Festival,” Huge Dispute Between Dog Lovers And Advocacy Group
On June 21 in Yulin City in the Ganxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China, a “Dog Meat Festival” event was held where citizens gathered to eat dog meat. However, because approximately 10,000 dogs were used to provide the meat for this event, a huge dispute developed, including a scuffle between dog lovers who showed up to protest the event’s “animal cruelty” and an advocacy group who insisted that the event was “traditional food culture.”
In the northeastern and southern parts of China, there is a custom of eating dog meat, and starting in 1995 Yulin City has held a “Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat Festival” on the summer solstice every year, where attendees partake of both lychee and dog meat. However, since merchants kill the dogs in front of customers to prove that it truly is dog meat, the tradition has begun to face violent protests from dog lovers and public figures.
According to the Chinese media, merchants have appeared in Yulin City who are selling dogs at high prices to the dog lovers who come to protest, saying, “If you don’t buy these dogs, I’ll kill them.” On the other hand, the president of a restaurant chain that offers dog meat has been flooded with threatening phone calls saying things like “Watch out for your family’s safety,” and there are also restaurants who have continued doing business after hiding the word “dog” on their signs.
On June 6, the Yulin City government emphasized their lack of involvement in the event, saying “Merchants might be calling it a ‘Dog Meat Festival,’ but the city government does not sponsor this event.” They also issued a directive that killing dogs on the street is prohibited, but eating dog meat is not regulated, and it seems that they are struggling to determine how they should deal with the problem concerning food culture.
On the internet, along with the opinion that “The fact that eating dog meat is now considered cruel shows that times are changing”. There have also been cries of “Those who oppose it have the freedom to not eat it, but don’t interfere with us!” Jinhua City in Zhejiang Province has accepted the public criticism surrounding dog meat festivals, and in 2011 it abolished the “Jinhua Lake Dog Meat Festival” which had been celebrated for over 600 years.
Comments from Yahoo! Japan:
All this stuff about whaling, let’s deal with that after we’ve stopped the eating of dogs. What’s more, even Australia, the country that represents the opposition to whaling, has people eating kangaroos!
Whales are bad and dogs are ok? This story has a surprisingly good tone.
Eating dogs… it’s like eating humans… Chinese people will eat anything.
…Even if it’s Chinese culture, which I hate… I believe that we shouldn’t poke our noses into other countries’ food culture.
I don’t want to eat dogs, but I have no intention of interfering in Chinese people eating them. If they were stealing people’s pets and eating them it would be a problem, but there isn’t any difference whatsoever between eating dogs raised for their meat and eating pigs or cows. There’s no reason to complain.
Only, I feel like it’s horribly gross, so I don’t want them to eat it in Japan.
I have a pet dog and I love him, but if this is their food culture I probably won’t object. I wonder how they perceive it in Europe and America? I wonder if this argument is a result of exposure to white people’s principles that cows are okay but dogs are bad?
Is Caroline Kennedy silent on this? Is it okay to eat dogs?
It’s clearly ridiculous to say that it’s okay to kill dogs, elephants, and kangaroos, but not whales, Bluefin tuna, or eels!
It seems weird to say that cows and pigs are ok, but dogs are bad… Is this the same logic that says that we can’t eat whales?
At this dog meat festival 10,000 dogs were killed.
Each country has a different food culture, so how can Europe and America say that a food culture is cruel?
In Japan it’s whale, but various European and American countries say it’s bad, and in China there’s meat made from dogs, but various European and American countries again say dogs are bad too.
But what about the fur that is hardly even a problem in Europe and America and that many celebrities habitually wear, how do they perceive the present situation that every year several hundred million of various species of animals are killed just to make fur? Starting with Europe and America, who don’t say anything about the many animals that are killed just one year after they’re born so they can be used as bait for wild animals, the conditions where animals are never let out of a cage from the moment they’re born and when they are let out they’re beaten to death right in front of their cage, the workers who peel off their fur even though they’re still breathing, the fact that many animals used for fur are bred and raised in China, or the present situation that on average more than 50 animals are killed to make each fur coat, isn’t it true that these groups that call themselves animal advocacy groups don’t have any qualifications?
This is China’s food culture, so we shouldn’t find fault with it. We should respect each country’s food culture.
Maybe we shouldn’t complain about another country’s food culture, but “If you don’t buy these dogs, I’ll kill them” is too malicious of a threat, and if they insist that eating dogs is culture then they’re in no position to criticize whaling in other countries. And because it seems like there’s thinking like “Killing them in a way that makes them suffer as much as possible heightens the effect,” I totally can’t understand this…
Why don’t you protest America and Australia?! In the end, animal rights stuff is hypocrisy, right? Ultimately it’s money money money… It’s sad, isn’t it? w They’re using the whales for money. If they really think it’s just the whales that are pitiable, that in itself is animal discrimination. Just allowing animals who look cute, or just favoring animals with great intelligence, isn’t that itself the worst thing that humans do?!!
We don’t know about other countries’ food cultures. Japan also has it’s own peculiar culture, you know.
So whales are bad and dogs are ok?
I don’t really have a complaint. Instead, I’m more concerned about the whales. They don’t have the “rights” that you bastards say they do.
As a dog lover, I definitely don’t want to eat dog meat. But, I’m not so narrow-minded as to obstruct the power of another country’s culture.
Wonder if them and Korea will eat each other?
Koreans don’t just eat dogs, they eat whales (In Ulsan, South Korea they have a whale festival every year, don’t they?) and they eat dolphins as well. South Korea is third in the world for catching the most dolphin. They eat massive quantities of dolphin. And they’re always criticizing Japan for not knowing about the world.