Sunday, June 10, 2012

Eating dogs

A NY Times op-ed considers the repugnance of eating the dog...

"Although dog-eating is taboo in the United States, personal consumption of dog meat is legal in most states. Likewise, Americans find horse-eating offensive; a five-year federal ban on slaughtering horses for human consumption was lifted last year. (Chicken-fried horse steak with onion gravy was on the menu at the Harvard Faculty Club until 1985.) Horse meat is consumed in France, just as dog meat is eaten in countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Tonga, parts of Asia and even Switzerland. In Poland, some ingest dog fat as a curative. The status of dog meat as a hard-luck food is also well documented — Germans during the two world wars referred to it as “blockade mutton.”

 "Yet in the United States, dog-eating has been a longstanding flashpoint for anxieties about race and citizenship. In 1904, a group of scantily clad Philippine Igorots from the Luzon highlands reenacted a daily “Bow Wow Feast” at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. Loosely based on the custom of sumang, in which a dog was sacrificed and eaten after military victory, the dog-eating spectacle was a sensation. Touring Los Angeles in 1906, the Igorots, now suspiciously “fat and glossy,” were blamed for an “epidemic of thefts” of over 200 “high-class dogs,” according to The Los Angeles Times.

 "No dog theft was ever substantiated, but American politicians readily declared that the Igorots were “unfit” for American citizenship, a pressing matter in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War, when the United States defeated Spain, claimed its empire and annexed the Philippines. Moreover, the arrival of millions of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe and the rise of Jim Crow laws in the South fueled white nativist fears of racial mongrelization. Between 1901 and 1904, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution need not “follow the Flag”; the country could legally annex an overseas territory and deny its people citizenship. New American humane education programs in Philippine public schools stressed the importance of animal kindness, including the proper care of pet dogs, as a keystone of civilization, moral agency and, perhaps, future independence. "

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