By Sue Cho
As a Korean, I find it very insulting that some people talk about dog meat as if it was a real Korean traditional cuisine. Dog meat eaters often claim that dog meat is good for their health. There is no sicentific or medical truth to back up this claim. According to the research by Koreans and Westerners, it was found that there is no better or special nutrition with dog meat compared to other livestock. It has higher fat content than other livestock. There is more risk to develop Palsy. From a public health point of view, it is unfortunate that these lies are widespread among dog-eaters as there are far more Koreans these days who suffer from heart attack, high blood pressure and Palsy than before due to over consumption of high calorie food.
Dog meat, although some Koreans accept it, there are also other Koreans who do not as it results from disheartening cruelties, misconception and greed. Some Koreans have been eating dogs in some part of our country and in some times in our history but it never has been eaten by the majority of Koreans as Korea was for a long time a Buddhist country and still many people believe in Buddhism.
A few traces in our history and continuing practice by selfish and heartless people do not make dog consumption as our culture. Truth known, dog eaters in Korea are mostly middle and upper class, middle aged men with power and position. They barricade themselves from the majority Koreans-non dog eaters and tries their best to indoctrinate others to believe it is our culture and protect their myth that says dog meat will boost their sexual energy.
Korean traditional food is simple and honest. There is no disguise with colour or fake smell and, most of all, there is no deliberate cruelties on animals with Korean traditional food. If we look at the names of Korean traditional food, most Korean food names are followed with its main ingredients. Dog meat is called “Four season stew, Nutrition stew, Body healing stew” which doesn’t sound like Korean traditional food but very much sound like business invention.
Also the cruelty involved in producing dog meat makes it a very unlikely candidate for traditional food. The dog meat traders beat dogs to death so that all the blood vessel would burst and the meat become red.
Another point is Koreans tend not to disguise the smell of its natural source. If Tofu or cabbages are preserved, although they smell very strong, our ancestors still didn’t put any herbs or alcohols to make the original smell fake aromatic. However, with dog meat, they are using different kinds of herbs to erase the smell of dog, which is again very unlike Korean traditional food.
Even though people know that dogs and cats are much more involved in human society, some, especially dog meat eaters, would insist that cow, pig, poultry, fish, dogs, cats and etc are the same. This totally ignores the fact that one of the reasons we value human life more is because of our relationship to each other and our emotional, social capacity. But let us consider some would want to insist on the equality so that no animal will be killed for food. That will be surely better for animals and us?
Unfortunately this equality theory has been abused to justify eating dogs, cats and other kind of animals with uncommon intelligence anywhere in the world and to increase the number of animal species available for human consumption. This type of use would not make our life any better but lead us to destroy the uncommon gift and blessings we have, the trust and bond we form with our companion animals. It is far more positive to encourage each other to cut down the species of animals available for human consumption. That way, we will be closer to make our life more peaceful and respectable.
Respecting another country’s culture shows open mindedness but it needs to be done with thoughtful care and not in irresponsible manner for the very sake of the country you want to understand and show respect. In Korea, there is a word, “Me-Pung-Yang-Sok” which means “Beautiful custom and good morals” and refers when one culture deserves respect. I have never heard any Koreans call Dog meat as “Me-Pung-Yang-Sok”.
Dog meat consumption is NOT a real Korean traditional food but the base of animal cruelty in Korea.