Imagine that you are at a dinner party with friends, and the meat dish is so delicious that you ask your host for the recipe. Your host replies: “Oh that was our dog. You remember Toby? Well, here he is.” Suddenly the meat sticks in your throat and you feel disgusted and deeply troubled.
This situation occurs in South Korea, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and in quite a few other Asian countries. Yes I recently was asked to comment on a petition from South Korea, signed by 15,000 people, to stop this practice. It is estimated that annually 2.5 million dogs and thousands of cats are brutally slaughtered and eaten in South Korea and, throughout Asia, this figure increased to over 30 million.
In certain Asian cultures, dogs are not only eaten, but they are also subjected to terrible cruelties. According to a popular belief, if a dog is tortured before being killed, its meat is tastier. It is not unusual for dogs to be hung up by their hind legs and beaten severely before being cut to pieces and immersed in boiling water while they are still alive. They are sometimes skinned alive. Their skins are removed from the top down, the way a person would take off a piece of clothing.
Investigators from the animal rights organization, One Voice, reported seeing people in a restaurant beating a curled up and moaning dog with a club until it lost consciousness. Then they bled it outside on the sidewalk. Its blood spread under cages bursting with terrorized dogs waiting to undergo the same treatment. If anyone needs convincing, look at the disturbing video I was sent South Korea's dog meat industry: https://www.change.org/p/the-venerable-matthieu-ricard-mr-matthieu-ricard-please-speak-out-against-the-brutal-dog-meat-trade-in-south-korea.
Dogs that are bred on dog farms live in miserable conditions. In South Korea, dog meat consumption is illegal, but the Government turns a blind eye on these practices. All breeds of dog are used for meat, including stolen pets and abandoned dogs. They are confined to small, filthy cages, given rotten food and scraps which are unfit for consumption, denied space to exercise, and given no shelter from extreme weather conditions. They cannot even feel the ground beneath their paws as they are confined inside wire cages, raised off the ground.
Dogs are slaughtered in the most brutal and painful methods, often in front of other dogs which watch in fear for their lives. They are beaten, stabbed, hanged, butchered, thrown into pots of boiling water, skinned, electrocuted, or blow torched - often while still alive. A growing number of people in South Korea and China are expressing their disapprove of these inhumane tortures, which have to stop.
Of course, it is not dogs alone that suffer from our cruelty. Compassion should know no boundaries. Calling for an end to barbarian treatment of dogs, baby seals, and whales does not mean that it is fine to tolerate the mass killing of pigs, cows, and chicken. Humans kill six million land animals and 120 million sea animals every hour for their so-called “needs”. That is a lot of animals and a lot killing. In fact, in one week, that makes more killing than all the deaths in all the wars in human history.
It is about time to make a step further towards civilization and extend the circle of our compassion to the 8 million species that are our co-citizens on this planet.