Thursday, 20 August 2009

Dog food?

Auckland resident Paea Taufa killed and cooked his dog this past weekend. He was visited by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) but not prosecuted as his actions are legal.
He rendered the dog unconscious with a blow to the head before slitting its throat, which is regarded as humane.

Under the Animal Welfare Act it is legal to kill a dog in New Zealand if the animal is slaughtered swiftly and painlessly.
That did not stop several persons from condemning him and calling for a ban on the consumption of dog meat in New Zealand. SPCA Auckland chief executive Garth Halliday said,
Although we appreciate the difference of cultures that exist in a place like New Zealand, the SPCA finds this sort of treatment of any animal to be totally unacceptable,... Even though the law says you can humanely kill an animal, you should not be treating any animal like this.
And SPCA chief executive Robyn Kippenberger said,
The slaughtering, roasting and eating of a dog or other companion animal is simply abhorrent to our culture as New Zealanders.
Korean Garden Trust spokesman Stanley Park was surprised it was legal in New Zealand. He also stated,
Dog eating may be part of our history, but most Koreans today would consider eating dogs totally barbaric - and our culture actually forbids us making a meal of animals that are considered companions.
Save Animals From Exploitation voiced objection as well. Hans Kriek said,
While we are opposed to the killing of all animals for eating, banning the consumption of dog meat would be a good start.
And a variety of others have expressed their thoughts on this, many of the opponents calling for a ban.

Now I have never tasted dog meat. I don't have a strong desire to facilitate my consumption of it at a later stage, though I would be prepared to try it, or eat it if offered it in a culture where my refusal would be seen as offensive.

But why the call for banning? You don't like the idea of eating a dog, don't eat one.

Kriek's comment is revealing. He opposes all meat eating and just sees this as a step in eventual banning of all carnivory. It is, however, probably the most consistent position among the opponents.

When people find something icky what makes them strongly desire to prevent everyone else from doing it? These same people would likely strongly object if I imposed bans on their preferred behaviours. I am not a particular fan of tattoos or body piercing, but I do not support calls to make it illegal.

I am all for debate, and some things should be illegal. But the speed at which people are prepared to jump from "I wouldn't do that" to "no one should ever be allowed to do that" is phenomenal. This in an age when the call for tolerance is greater than at many other times in history.*

* I am not suggesting I support this age's call for tolerance, just noting that we are in it—though rapidly moving away from it.

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