Opinion / From the Press

Debate on dog meat should end

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-06-20 07:21

Officials in Yulin, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, have made a public announcement saying the local government has nothing to do with the dog meat-eating festival, and orally asked restaurants not to slaughter dogs in public or attract diners for dog meat dishes through slogans and posters. This sudden change in the attitude of Yulin officials has surprised local residents and netizens both, says an article in Qianjiang Evening News. Excerpts:

Earlier, the Yulin local government had adopted a quite neutral attitude toward the dog meat-eating festival and selling of dog meat despite the issue sparking a debate across the country. Perhaps the local officials were initially indifferent to the issue because they were not bothered about local residents and/or tourists eating, or not eating, dog meat; what mattered most to them was whether the dog meat-eating festival attracted more tourists and thus business to increase the local GDP.

It's possible that the local government now has realized the impact on the local economy of a large number of tourists visiting Yulin because of the controversy. Maybe because of this realization, it has asked restaurants not to promote dog meat dishes.

If that is indeed the case, then the local government's latest move is a more direct and effective way to respond to people's different views and tastes. But animal rights activists protesting against the slaughter of dogs and selling of dog meat have not yet realized this and are still calling dog meat eaters "uncivilized" and "killers of man's best friend".

On the other hand, dog meat eaters insist they have the right to decide what to eat, claiming that the practice of eating dog meat can be traced to medieval Europe and even modern-day South Korea.

With the local government officially declaring its stance, the debate should end without any winners, because people still continue to eat dog meat, albeit in fewer numbers, and animal rights activists say their protests are responsible for the reduction in the number of dog meat eaters.

A person has the right to decide whether he/she will eat dog meat or not. Of course, it will hurt the feelings of dog lovers and animal rights activists. But that does not mean that those opposed to the practice of eating dog meat should force other to follow their dictum and call people who eat dog meat "savages". A better and more civilized option for animal rights activists would be to make documentary films and propaganda material on the importance of dogs and use them to educate the people and turn them into dog lovers.

The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily 06/20/2014 page9)

Most Viewed Today's Top News