Sunday, January 31, 2010

Too Good to Eat

When I went to southern China a few years ago the guide asked, as guides should do, "Is there anything you don't eat?" I answered, "dogs, cats, monkeys and snakes." I know that dogs and cats are eaten in China, that snakes are also eaten in the areas near Thailand and Laos. I don't know if they eat monkeys there but I know monkeys are called "bush meat" in parts of Africa and perhaps other jungle countries. Snakes are just too abhorrent to me to even think of eating, and I know some people in out Southwest eat rattlesnake.

I've just read in today's NY Times that the Chinese government passed a law making it illegal to kills and serve dog or cat, punishable by fine and jail time. The same very short article quotes a restaurateur in Guiyang, a city I visited, as saying that dog is the best and most popular item on his menu. Immediately a picture popped into my head of the restaurant we ate at there -- I'm sure it wasn't his. I think I knew what all the meats were that we had that meal.

Look at these pictures of dogs and cat and think about whether you could eat them, short of actual starvation when, for sheer self preservation you would eat anything, from the family pets to boiled shoe leather. You might choose shoe leather first. I read of many Chinese laws that are as abhorrent to me as eating or sleeping with a snake, but this one sounds like a move toward a greater understanding of the love we and our most usual animal companions share.

2 comments:

Kass said...

Brava, brava, girlfriend! I totally agree and bow at your feet!

Conda V. Douglas said...

June, I lived in Southeast Asia, and yes, they eat everything. I have a different attitude, because there are many, many hungry people in these countries--not starving, but very, very hungry. It is the mark of a wealthy country to be able to have pets. (I never knowingly ate cat or dog, however.)

The new Chinese law is a good one, however, because diseases are sometimes passed from animals to humans (they think SARS may have come from eating wild cat, for example).