The Yulin dog eating festival sparks enragement and controversy every year with a strong global outcry for its banishment. But, in all honesty, is it really that bad? How is it any different than what every other country is doing every single day?
The annual Yulin dog-eating festival has once again sparked worldwide outrage and controversy. And as a vegan animal activist working full time to educate people about the rights of non-human animals and environmental, social, and health impacts of dietary choice, I’m here to say…what’s everyone so upset about? [tweet this]
The Yulin dog meat festival never fails to induce worldwide uproar, vigorous online petitioning, and powerful western disgust.
This is a bit of an impromptu video post so I’m just going to share some of my thoughts and perspectives, namely, that it’s very strange what a big fuss people make about this.
First, let’s go through the main objections about the festival and compare them to things we do every day, if you’re non-vegan, and seem to have no problem with, which is a form of cognitive dissonance.
First, there’s the issue of stolen pets. As china doesn’t have dog farms, It’s said that for the festival, people are actually stealing people’s family pets to take and eat. Now of course it’s horrific to take a being away from those who love them, right? And this certainly makes the festival barbaric.
Well, if you eat meat, dairy, and eggs, you’re participating in the same action. The dogs have loving human families they are stolen from, but cows, pigs, chickens, sheep etc. all have loving families as well. They may not be of a species you can more readily identify with, but they are no less important.
Mother pigs sing to their nursing babies, mother chickens are fiercely protective of their chicks, cows have even been shown to have best friends. When you eat pig, cow, chicken, lamb, or any animal’s flesh, you’re committing the same injustice as those who are stealing family pets away for the festival.
The dairy industry, for one, is particularly horrifying in this respect as mother cows have their children stolen from them after birth and sent to slaughter time after time after time. It’s only by our social conditioning that we don’t see a jug of milk and sign thousands of petitions to ban dairy as we do with Yulin. But the pain, the cruelty, and the heartbreak are the same.
Second objection, along with the pet theme, is that these dogs have names and identities. They have personalities. They are intelligent and loving.
Well, research has repeatedly shown, though it’s a bit stupid to think we need research for this, that animals respond to names but also name their own children with distinctive calls. A mother pig knows each of her piglets intimately. A mother hen will know if even one chick strays. Mother cows form intense bonds with their babies.
And all of these bonds are destroyed by bacon, beef, chicken, ham, eggs, mutton, or whatever we want to call it to ignore the reality.
Just because we haven’t names these animals ourselves or shared our homes with them, or stayed around them long enough to learn their individual personality, doesn’t mean they don’t have value.
Pigs are incredibly intelligent, far more so than dogs and even 3-year-old human children on some tests. Hell, chickens have even been shown to posses cognitive abilities beyond young human children. We can’t hide behind the argument that they’re too dumb to know any better.
If you look at the terror in the eyes of these dogs being tortured and killed for this festival and your heart breaks, then the only logical action for you to take is to be vegan. Signing a petition may make some impact, who knows. but not eating animals? That’s going to make a difference, no question.
These beings deserve equal outrage on their behalf to what we globally afford dogs. We have to wake up to the fact that a pig is a dog is a rat is a boy. Rooting for Babe the pig during the movie then going home to sign a petition to stop the Yulin dog festival while chowing down some bacon doesn’t make any sense. [tweet this]
Third objection is that these dogs weren’t raised on a farm to be killed–that was not the intent of their life as it is with “food animals”. Well, being raised on a farm for the express purpose of being killed doesn’t somehow justify your death. Murder is murder, regardless of location. [tweet this]
If I had a woman impregnated for the sole purpose of raising that child to kill it, does that make its death any more excusable? May sound absurd, but this is what we’re talking about here.
Fourth objection is the brutal way in which these dogs are killed. Some say that the more they suffer, the more luck one receives for consuming them, so they are often beaten to death, or burned alive or boiled alive.
Some people think that if they were raised on a farm then there would be rules and laws in place to guarantee their fair treatment. Well, from undercover footage and testimonies of former farm workers, that just doesn’t hold up.
Pigs are very often alive when plunged into baths of scalding water. Cows make it alive through to dismemberment on a regular basis. Workers are careless and speed is valued above all. These animals are often still conscious when they are killed and even cut apart and just because it happens in a big building with a corporate name and stainless steel floors instead of the back alleys of Yulin doesn’t make it any more excusable.
And if you eat eggs, you’re having the male babies of layer hens thrown into a grinder alive. These are day old babies, fluffy little yellow chicks that we adore on Easter, tossed en masse alive, into grinders. Tell me how now. Where is their petition? Where is the global outrage? Where is the disgust at eggs stacked in the supermarket?
And if you think humane, free-range, or cage-free guarantees anything, that’s another reality to awaken to. There is no real regulation or even standard for such terms. For cage-free eggs, the chickens are crammed into a shed on top of one another and if they have “access to the outdoors” they can be called free-range. But the access can be a small open door screened over such that they can see outside but not actually go outside.
They are still living in disease and filth, but at least our conscious is clean.
So to my non-vegans. If your stomach turns at the idea of eating dog, if you cannot even comprehend how anyone could be so barbaric and violent towards such loving, trusting animals, if you are outraged and feel helpless to do anything about it but want with every ounce of your being to save those poor dogs, then I say, welcome to how vegans feel every damn day.
Because the slaughter of 10,000 dogs is obviously horrific, but the fact that the slaughter of trillions of other beings every single year goes without notice by those so incensed about the Yulin festival—that is the real tragedy.
Now, I could show you all manner of videos side-by-side of the way the dogs are killed versus the way cows, pigs, chicken, and other animals are killed here in our very “civilized” western world. And i was going to do that because many times you won’t believe it until you see it, though you still may say it’s an isolated incident.
And I do value graphic footage because these animals deserve to have their story told and the horrors committed against them exposed. But instead, I want you to really think about this. Visualize those dogs in those cages, stolen from their loving families, terrified, smelling the death and fear around them and replace them with pigs. Does your emotional reaction change? What if you replace them with chickens? Do you relax a bit? Does the outrage and disgust lessen?
If it does, I would ask that you look at that. Better yet, if you pass a farm or if you’re in the meat section of a grocery store or looking at eggs, replace those products with the flesh of someone’s dog, or your dog or cat. How does that change how you approach what you eat? Because you have to remember: What is on your plate had a name and a family.[tweet this]
The division we make between species is entirely arbitrary and Asians consuming dogs are no worse than Americans consuming pigs or Australians consuming chickens. They are all equally horrific. They are all lives cut short. They are all abused, tortured and killed. And they all have names and families who love them.
We should be outraged about the consumption of dogs but we should be equally outraged about the consumption of all beings. Species doesn’t dictate ethics. [tweet this]
I hope that this has been helpful. Please share this video post around to help others make the connection. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter in the comments below!
— Emily Moran Barwick
I see the opposition to the so-called festival is being led by Buddhists. This is heartening because at times in the past all of China was vegetarian, admittedly sometimes by imperial edict. Perhaps master Chu-Hung (Ming dynasty) is smiling somewhere knowing his reformation of Buddhism was not in vain.
Emily Moran Barwick (BiteSizeVegan) says
i hope so ;)
This is so true! I wish more people realized ALL living beings are equal. Please continue to educate everyone:)
Emily Moran Barwick (BiteSizeVegan) says
I hadn’t made the connection between our fuzzy friends and other animals until I started watching your videos. Thank you for presenting information in a calm, logical and humorous way.
Emily Moran Barwick (BiteSizeVegan) says
so great to hear it’s gotten you thinking! thank you for letting me know :)
I agree with you, but I think that many people are angry because many dogs are domesticated, unlike many cows, chickens, most pigs, etc. Also, they are slaughtering many young children’s best friends, or maybe someone’s lifelong buddy. But, I see your point on how all animals lives matter.
I say this as a vegetarian, transitioning into being vegan (for ethical reasons, not for health). I am incensed by the Yulin dog meat festival, not because people there eat dogs, as I equate the value of a dog’s life to a cow’s or a pig’s, etc.
It’s the WAY they kill these poor creatures. They torture them by beating them, blow-torching them or skinning them alive! I am HORRIFIED by the complete lack of empathy in some parts of the world (call me racist if you will). We humans can all be cruel, but some of us are just SHOCKING.
I can see the point of your article, but I wish you had pointed out the level of cruelty being inflicted on these poor animals too. THAT is what is truly horrifying about Yulin.