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MAIL OPINION  By Shana Kongmun


Dogs and the dog meat trade

There was another arrest of dog traders selling dogs to Vietnam recently and one photo hit me particularly hard. It was of a fuzzy little white dog, some kind of terrier mix by the look of him, with a very nice collar on and crammed into a small cage with many other dogs, each on top of the other it was so small. This little guy was looking directly at the camera as if to say, “Please help me.”
While it is well known that some people do often sell their unwanted dogs to the dog traders, but it is also known that dogs are often stolen from yards or in front of their homes. For people who are not animal lovers or pet owners it’s a hard thing to explain but for those of us who acknowledge our responsibility to these creatures who have pegged their lives to ours, we owe them a debt and selling them into the meat trade is not the way to pay this back.
Some will argue what is the difference of eating a dog to eating a cow or a pig? Historically, some Native Americans ate dog meat, but among many others it was considered taboo. It is taboo to Buddhists as Buddha listed 10 taboo meats including dog, human, snake, elephant and others. Dog is also taboo under both Jewish and Islamic dietary laws.
However, the relationship between humans and dogs goes back much further than any religions currently on the planet. DNA studies show that dogs split from wolves around 100,000 years ago. Archaeological studies have found the earliest dog and human burials together 14,000 years ago in Germany while there have also been similar finds in the Americas 11,000 years ago although it is believed that dog domestication began as long as 35,000 years ago.
Dogs were domesticated for a variety of reasons; to guard, to help hunt, to protect, and yes, sometimes to eat.. However, historical dog relationships have undergone a marked change although many still do have dogs for protection more often than not people have dogs for companionship. Evidence shows that modern dog breeds date no older than 500 years ago. The dog breeds we have today were created by selective breeding; basically humans took evolution in their hands and created the dogs they wanted. These dogs were not bred to be food nor were they bred to live in the wild and take care of themselves. They were bred to be with humans and to serve their needs, either as hunters, guard dogs, shepherds or lapdogs.
While some may argue that dogs are overrunning our cities and towns and that the dog meat trade is a good way to get rid of them, nobody can argue that these animals are treated humanely or that even eating them would be healthy. Too many dogs are crammed into tiny little cages all together, with no water, no food, and disease and parasites rampant. It doesn’t say much for how we treat each other if this is the way we treat our canine friends.

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Dogs and the dog meat trade