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Anneleise Smillie's article 'Friends... or food?'

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  • Yoon Choi
    Anneleise Smillie (of Animals Asia Foundation) article against eating dogs is published in Friends of Dogs site. Please circulate widely prior to the
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2003
      Anneleise Smillie (of Animals Asia Foundation)'
      article against eating dogs is published in Friends of
      Dogs site. Please circulate widely prior to the
      worldwide demo for korean dogs and cats on 12th of


      Friends...or Food? by Anneleise Smillie

      As an animal welfare group based in Asia the Animals
      Asia Foundation would like to put forward a few
      salient points regarding the controversial practice of
      dog eating to show the other side of the argument and
      hopefully enable individuals to make informed and
      compassionate choices.

      What is fundamental in the practice of dog eating is
      that the cruelty is often deliberate and slaughter
      methods have been designed to intensify and prolong
      the suffering in the misguided belief that 'torture
      equals taste'. In situations where the torture is not
      deliberate, the method of slaughter is still
      tragically cruel. Markets in China, Vietnam and
      S.Korea reveal killing methods which leave both dogs
      and cats suffering a lingering, violent death as they
      are either bludgeoned over the head, stabbed in the
      neck or groin, hung, electrocuted or thrown conscious
      into drums of boiling water.

      Dr John Wedderburn, a Western medical doctor who has
      worked for thirty years in Hong Kong and has travelled
      extensively throughout Asia studying this issue, has
      the following to say: "I understand and respect the
      concepts and practices of medicine in the various
      Eastern cultures and I have conversed at length with
      practitioners of Traditional Medicine. I have yet to
      meet a TM doctor who believes that eating dog has any
      beneficial effect on any aspect of health including
      virility. The market is entirely from supplier to
      consumer without the recommendation of doctors. In any
      case, even if there was some slight beneficial effect
      from eating dog, the cruelty and suffering could not
      be justified as there are far more effective
      substances available in both Western and Eastern

      Whilst Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner Dr.
      Lo Yan Wo states the following:
      "In Chinese tradition, eating cat is believed to
      enrich and moisten the body and eating dog is believed
      to warm the body and enhance male virility and
      stamina. However, culture should not be an excuse for
      cruelty and in Traditional Chinese Medicine there are
      many alternatives to the use of these animals. When we
      are making progress in civilization, we should also
      make progress in our hearts and minds. There is no
      need to kill and eat our faithful animal friends."

      Culture and tradition should not be excuses for
      cruelty. The argument that a certain practice is
      historically part of a culture does not make it
      acceptable and this argument in itself is incongruous,
      as in many of the places where dogs are eaten the
      practice is less than a few generations old. In fact
      in Korea, contrary to popular belief, dog eating is a
      relatively recent phenomenon and has never been a part
      of a long-standing culinary history. The fabrication
      of dog and cat meat as
      an age-old part of Korean cultural heritage is a
      clever marketing strategy by unscrupulous
      vendors who are exploiting an easy to produce

      "Culture has often been used as an excuse to turn away
      from suffering and people in both Asia and the West
      often use cultural relativism to soothe their
      conscience for doing nothing. Surely we want to regard
      various practices in our history (such as slavery and
      cannibalism) as something to be rid of rather than
      treat them as 'culture' and demand respect
      accordingly? In Asia where people regard friendship
      and loyalty as prominent virtues, we should work
      towards a society where
      love and respect are celebrated." Sung Su Kim

      Arguments that a dog is no different to a chicken, a
      cow or even a frog, fail to address the core fact that
      no government in any country has devised a way of
      killing dogs humanely for commercial purposes. As
      carnivores, they are inherently different in
      temperament and physiology to those domestic species
      more commonly raised intensively en-masse for food. A
      Hong Kong Government Agriculture, Fisheries and
      Conservation Department Veterinary representative has
      stated that dogs cannot be humanely raised and
      slaughtered for food. Whilst it is difficult to
      avoid accusations of double standards by deeming one
      animal a companion and another a
      'food' animal (suffering cannot be excused with the
      argument that an animal has been purposely bred for
      food), we firmly believe that change must start
      somewhere and that dogs, as our age old best friends,
      can serve as valuable ambassadors for all animal
      species. If one can feel compassion for an individual
      animal, then hopefully this compassion will expand to
      include an entire species and eventually lend itself
      to a greater empathy for all animals.

      Animals Asia is finding solutions to the problems of
      dog eating, through pioneering grass roots programmes
      which promote animals as ambassadors and highlight the
      mutually beneficial relationship between people and
      companion animals, whilst working to implement and
      enforce appropriate animal welfare legislation. Our
      innovative animal therapy programme, Dr. Dog, sees
      over 300 'dog doctors' spreading love and warmth to
      people in need in hospitals, disabled centres, homes
      for the young and elderly, orphanages and schools in
      six countries throughout Asia.
      Similarly, our Detective Dog, Simba, who is the first
      animal parts sniffer dog in Asia, is working
      tirelessly to combat the escalating trade in
      endangered species.Our animal ambassadors, like Simba
      and rescued market dog Eddie, represent the driving
      force behind a new movement to promote the concept of
      animal welfare in Asia and give hope to the many
      animals that lie forgotten.

      For more information about Dr. Dog, Detective Dog and
      the China Bear Rescue please visit our website at

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