I am brushing the undercoat out of my fluffy dog in a futile attempt to stop him from casting it throughout my house. He is lying on his side, thoroughly enjoying the attention. The images of all the hapless dogs on their way to slaughter keeps popping up in my mind. I simply cannot comprehend it.
Tomorrow is June 22. Winter Solstice in my hemisphere, but summer solstice in the North and in China, also the day of the annual Yulin dog meat eating festival. For the last few months, my inbox and my social media has been inundated with pleas to sign petitions and donate money for campaigning against this awful annual event.
It’s not the dog-eating part- although unimaginable- that saddens me; it’s the torture-part that breaks my brain. As far as I am concerned, if you can eat a sheep, you can eat a cow, you can eat a pig, you can eat a horse, and even eat a dog or a cat. It’s really all the same. Meat is meat is meat. What does get to me is the lack of respect that is shown to these animals before they are killed. The Yulin festival seems to epitomize cruelty in our Western minds, but the same is happening to pigs, sheep and cows for our own consumption of meat everywhere. And it really does happen everywhere, we are just unaware or pig ignorant (pun very much intended as ironically, pigs are in fact highly intelligent).
But the problem is not as easy as to stop eating meat, as I have touched on elsewhere in this blog. It is also not as simple as dismissing all farmers as cruel and careless, because that is simply not true. I know many farmers and the majority of them are not in it for the money. They have a genuine love for the land and the animals. They are forced into intensive farming practices to keep afloat. Farmers can only stay afloat if they can provide what the (mostly uneducated, and really, rather wasteful) consumer wants. And it is the careless, greedy and uninformed consumer that forces animal-loving farmers to pump their animals full of antibiotics because they have to keep so many animals in one place that disease spreads without warning.
But, as always, it is not as simple as to blame one part of the cycle such as the consumer or the farmer when the actual problem IS the cycle. There are no easy answers but at the moment it seems that we are not even asking the right questions!
Yulin is by far not the only archaic inhumane tradition in the world that should be brought to an end; there are many evils such as bullfighting, dog fighting, cock fighting senseless animal sacrifices that have no place in our society. All of these “festivals” are prime examples of where traditions have become unhinged and unbalanced.
But as well as stopping these atrocities that happen on a mass scale, it is up to us, the consumers, to get ourselves educated and demand that the animals we consume are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. The balance has to be restored somehow…