Friday, February 7, 2014

Dog Eating in Korea and the Western Obsession

I am increasingly getting sick and tired of people who make a noise about dog-meat soup, whenever there is a major global event in South Korea. As this news article notes:

Animal rights activists from around the world are calling for the boycott of September’s Incheon Asian Games, while planning to stage street protests against “bosintang” or dog meat soup.
And now...the digital edition of Wall Street Journal has added its bit.
Before you jump to conclusions; I am a dog-lover.  I have four dogs (adopted 2), and will adopt more, if my budget permits. But this kind of reaction is just nonsense.
Media hype for their 15 seconds of fame.
Most of the western journalists who come here to cover global events are ill-informed and jump at the ‘story’ just to get more traction, and an ‘exclusive byline.’
People have to understand that eating Bosingtan is a tradition here. While most of the younger folk are against this tradition (as is my Korean wife), you just cannot wish it away, just because it hurts your sensibilities.
There are strict regulations in place, which are unfortunately not implemented. Fight for making the regulations watertight, so that the dogs which are slaughtered, do not face torture. But do not impose your will on traditional norms here in Korea.
It is very easy to get agitated about animal rights when you see pictures of dogs cooped up in tiny cages, meant for slaughter. A photo-op that visiting journalists crave for. I am against the practice, but still maintain that the regulations should be enforced properly, that is the only way out. If older Koreans love their dog-soup, you have no right to oppose their taste in food. Will anyone in Europe/America listen, if a Hindu says that Cow is a goddess and should not be eaten?
Try to enforce fool-proof systems so that animal cruelty is minimized. A little cultural sensitivity is needed. Unfortunately, the so called ‘animal rights activists’ do not have that.
By the same logic, people in Europe and America should also stop eating beef, pork and horses. There are regulations in place, in their respective countries, which are flouted on many farms.
Activists cannot stop it there (because of the huge corporate lobbies), so why malign Koreans and Chinese for what has been their traditional food?
By all means, control and regulate the industry,  but do not be condescending and look down upon Koreans for eating dog-soup.