From: Subject: Date: April 21, 2005 3:53:51 PM CDT Hankblog

Monday, March 07, 2005

Fillet of Fido?

Americablog links to a story out of Hawaii about a bill banning the slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption. Chris further writes:

Some in the local Asian community are outraged, saying this is racist and against their culture. My own belief is that sure, food is cultural and what is normal for one group is disgusting for another. I grew up eating oysters and soft shell crabs, food which outsiders often find revolting. Here in France, no one thinks twice about eating snails and buying horse meat, while not that common, is still a special meal. (I think it's pretty tasty.) In Peru I ate guinea pig (boney and chewy) and in Africa I tried mopani worms. In many places around the world, eating sea urchin (actually, their sexual organs) is a delicacy so what's all the fuss about?

Don't count me in anytime soon for a plate of dinner dog, but what's the big deal? Why is slaughtering a cow, pig, lamb, or chicken any different than slaughtering a dog or cat?
I can't begin to think that I can speak for all the issues here. I do think the issue of whether such a law would be "racist" seems to be a cop out.

In India, there's no legal prohibition for to be able to have a hamburger (I checked with a former coworker who has family there and returns on a semi regular basis to make sure I had this right). At the same time, McDonald's knows it's not going to be making much money offering beef products. It has in fact caught hell for showing cultural sensitivity overseas, but not using the same common sense in the US. There's a practical consideration that I think is separate from the idea of being "P.C.". It's more an extension of the adage "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."

To an extent, that's partly why I can't quite jibe with the idea of this law, if passed, being racist. I think there has to at least partially be a consideration for the common sentiments of the majority in the community, and I hope I've conveyed that idea without sounding like some kind of xenophobe. I freely admit it's a tough line to walk. But I just can't abide by the idea that someone out there might look at Doby and Jackie, and think "lunch".

A more pragmatic concern is the health and safety issue. We have a tough enough time regulating commercial food producers to make sure that we aren't getting tainted beef, pork, or chicken, and even then the system fails, at times with what seems like alarming frequency. Adding dogs and cats into the mix could increase the public health hazard by a measurable amount, no?

If I'm off base, let me know what you think in the comments. Pardon the awful pun, but I think there's some food for thought in the question.