What gives us the right to criticise the citizens of countries like South Korea who eat dogs when we as a country happily eat these other creatures on a daily basis?
We have a tendency in this country to view our moral standpoint as universal; as if what we have decided is right and wrong should apply to everybody regardless of where they are from or how the context of their lives may differ from ours. As if our western values are somehow more important and better than anyone else’s.
And sometimes this can make us hypocrites.
In some countries such as China and South Korea, it is not only legal to eat dogs and cats but they are considered a tasty meal unlike here, where they are our beloved pets and companions. For many, hearing this sparks outrage – how could they do that to man’s best friend? How could they treat something so cute so poorly?
Here in the UK, although it is a huge social taboo to consume dog meat, it actually legal to do so. So the question becomes: how do we decide which animals deserve to live and which deserve to die? And what makes us think we have the right to play god in this way, deciding who does and does not have a right to life?
If it is a question of intelligence then take into account that sheep and pigs are also able to feel emotions just as dogs do – and therefore able to bond with us in exactly the same way. In fact, pigs outperform 3-year-old human children on cognition tests and are smarter than any domestic animal. This gives them more self-awareness and awareness of the world around them, as well as making them far more likely to understand the pain and suffering they are subjected to.
If it is a question of cuteness (highly superficial and subjective criteria) then how can we rule that calves are any less cute than puppies, or a chick any less than a kitten? Calves are in so many ways only giant puppies, just as capable of wanting a fuss or licking your ankles.
What then gives us the right to criticise the citizens of countries like South Korea who eat dogs when we as a country happily eat these other creatures on a daily basis? They are doing so according to cultural norms of their country and the social programming of their peers – in short, exactly the same reasons why we do not eat dogs but do eat beef, chicken, lamb, and pork without so much as a second thought. To criticize them without thinking critically about our own eating habits and morals is nothing short of hypocritical.
It is not okay to stand up only for our favourite animals. We owe this beautiful world of ours so much more than that. We as a community should stand against all animal cruelty, not just that enacted against our household favourites.
And that is why you should consider veganism.
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