“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian”.
By now I’m sure you have heard of the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, maybe you’ve even signed the petition. For those of you who haven’t, it is an annual dog meat festival in China that is taking place this weekend for the summer solstice. For this festival, 10,000 dogs and cats are killed and some have been stolen from people’s homes.
I’m the first person to say that I’m against this treatment of dogs and cats as I’m against eating any meat from any animal. However, most people who say that they are against this festival still eat meat and have no problem with eating meat. They claim that Chinese people eating dog meat is completely different from them eating pork or beef. The only difference between them is that the pigs and cows that they eat have not been stolen from someone’s home. While that is horrible, it is not a reason to be completely against the Yulin festival but not against eating any other kind of meat.
While eating dog meat might seem like a really strange custom to Western societies, there are many cultures that think that our cultures eating pork really strange. One netizen said, “dog-meat eating is a custom belonging to other people, the same way that people of the Islamic Hui ethnic group doesn’t eat pork. They won’t protest us eating pork“. Another one said, “Let’s all protest the Christmas practice of eating Turkey!“.
For people who know very little about the meat industry, the 10,000 dogs and cats that are killed for the Yulin festival may seem like a lot. In reality, it’s not really. In 2003, it was reported that over 56 billion farmed animals are killed every year by humans. That was the minimum number. Now some people estimate it to be around 150 billion every year. As well as this, more than 3,000 animals die every second around the world. So in little over three seconds, the same amount of dogs killed for Yulin will have been killed all over the world to be consumed by regular people like you. These statistic do not even include fish or other seafood. This is because so many of them are killed that their deaths can only be measured in tonnes.
Another argument that people have when they try to say how the meat they eat is different from the festival meat is that the dogs are tortured. They obviously have no idea how their meat is made. There are plenty of videos and documentaries showing how animals are tortured before being killed for their meat but I can’t bring myself to look at them and post them here. Instead, Free From Harm goes through how chickens are tortured and killed for your consumption so I’ll just give you the highlights.
Chickens are forced to spend their entire lives in overcrowded sheds where they will never see light. These sheds are so overcrowded that they are forced to stand on top of each other or on a filthy, manure-laden floor which is cleaned every 2 to 4 years. Many of these chickens suffer from ammonia burn and respiratory diseases from the high amount of ammonia emanating from large accumulations of faeces. These chickens are artificially hatched, fattened up and slaughtered when they are 42 days old. Due to this, at least 12,5 billion chickens experience painful leg problems due to their breeding. Then when they are ‘old enough’, catchers come in the middle of the night, “grabbing terrified chickens by their feet and roughly stuffing them into crates“. Due to this, they suffer from broken legs and wings, lacerations, haemorrhages, dehydration, heat stroke, hypothermia and heart failure. Millions die before reaching the slaughterhouse. So I think that it’s safe to say that they are tortured too.
There are plenty of other issues when it comes to the meat industry that everyone should be much more concerned with. A very simple example of this is chick culling. In an egg-producing facility, about half of newly hatched chicks will be male. Of course, roosters do not lay eggs so they are of no use to the breeders so they are killed shortly after hatching. Due to this, billions of male chicks are “ground up alive“ or “tossed into a bag to suffocate“.
If your reason for still being against the Yulin festival and not your own meat eating is “but they’re dogs” then you’re just being a hypocrite. The fact that dogs and cats are generally domesticated animals is not a good enough reason for being against eating them but not against eating any other animal. While the fact that some of them are taken from people’s houses is horrible, they would still do it no matter how they got the animals. There is no difference between the animals in Yulin or in your house and the animals on your plate.