In the news: The city of Yulin in the southern Chinese province of Guanxi celebrated the start of summer with a dog meat festival. Two thousand dogs were slaughtered, to loud protest from animal rights activists.
Commentary by Yun Xing, MSc International Development Studies, from Bejing:
‘The south of China differs from the north. In Bejing hardly anybody eats dog but in the south it is quite normal. A friend from Guanxi told me that this is because they don’t have a heating system there. In winter it gets cold inside. Dog meat has a special capacity to keep the body warm. She has become used to eating dog meat when drinking beer and finds it really tasty.
As a Chinese person I know both people who truly enjoy the meat and others who are strongly against it. Personally I would never eat it. Growing up with rather westernized and pet-loving parents, I have always viewed dogs as pets and not as food. But others see dogs as just an animal, to be either eaten or used as a guarding tool. People from rural areas often find it odd that city people let a farm animal into their houses and treat them with so much care and love. Surely, people outside the dog-eating culture can say that dogs are human’s best friends and deserve to be treated with respect. But we must be aware that China doesn’t consist of only one culture.
I find it very amusing that people can get so judgmental and emotional on this topic, when they have no problems with other animals being killed. Talk about discrimination, or as I would say: animal racism. Only vegetarians should be allowed to judge; others are hypocrites. Besides, the dogs they eat in Guangxi are not the kind we usually keep as pets, but the so-called meat dog. Just as we both have pet pigs and pigs for eating. I don’t think it is sadder for the dogs than for the pigs. Perhaps it is even sadder for pigs, since they are more intelligent.’