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What's a Dog Got that a Cow Doesn't?

February 16, 2010

Our little dog Scooter is curled up next to me as I type this, a ponderance over the bottomless ethical debate over eating animals. I wouldn't kill a dog, especially to eat it, but if I were in China and offered dog meat, I'd probably try it. How can you take a position for or against something if you're not fully informed? What makes eating a dog worse than eating a pig or lamb? 

This article from Foriegn Policy takes a look at China's pending animal curelty laws, and the debate they've sparked between poorer, rural folk and wealthier, urban ones. The former tend to look at dogs through less sentimental eyes; the latter, with Westernized ones. Some people eat dogs, others pamper them. Who are we to judge? 

I look at Scooter and feel overwhelmed with adoration. At such times, I feel that eating animals is barbaric. But Scooter eats animals, and, given the chance, he'd kill a kitten, squirrel, or mole--and quite likely inflict a great deal of pain upon the little critter in the process. Yes, I'm more evolved than Scooter, and thus at a greater moral advantage. I'd also not want to eat Scooter. He'd be very stringy, plus we spent $1000-plus on a knee surgery for him, so the food cost would be ridiculous. And we love him. I shudder at the thought of anyone harming him. Yet in the past few weeks, I've consumed lamb, pork, turkey, beef, and chicken. 

I think this is why, in the long run, nuts-and-bolts arguments for eating less meat (or no meat) win out over emotional ones, i.e. it's less of a philisophical slog to justify vegetarianism for reasons of sustainability than animal-loving. But I wouldn't expect Scooter to change his eating habits. He's just a dog, after all.

*Wait! It's not just dogs, apparently. Are cats the dogs of Italy? 


Jan. 20, 2014 | Cindy said:

Butch,This is such a tease, I can't wait to see the rest. They are perfect! You are truly an arsitt and journalist we are very pleased! I will talk with you soon.Thanks, Christan

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