I’m also not a huge fan of foreigners doing the dog-eating thing. As a general rule, any eating experience you feel compelled to post on YouTube should be avoided.
Like that oh-so-tired snake heart and blood thing, don’t do it simply because it’s an offshoot of that whole “make you strong” bollocks. It’s food that’s valued for its medicinal and luck properties rather than its taste or ability to fill your belly — just like Vietnam’s sickening trade in more endangered animals.
It’s the sort of thing that if the media avoided it, it’d probably die a death. Young Vietnamese aren’t up for it and without the oxygen of shock horror western headlines, it’d soon disappear altogether.
But oh how dog eating stories sell.
The recent agency article entitled Dog Meat Delicacy to Pampered Pooch that went three times round the world is a rather odd affair. Full of lines like:
“... a growing love of the four-legged friends means that one man’s pet can be another’s dog sausage — quite literally as far as dog bandits are concerned.”
“Growing ranks of thieves go from small town to small town in rural areas of Vietnam stealing pets to sell to dog meat restaurants.”
What escaped most readers of this article is that the word ‘growing’ is an adjective you use when you don’t have facts to back up a hunch.
Then the following quote is used in response to an event when one dog-napper is reportedly beaten to death:
“It’s not right to beat a man to death, but anyone in this situation would do the same.”
The line is taken from an anonymous reader, pulled from the comments box of an online paper — always a good cross-section of intelligent debate.
The article also states: “Those dogs that end up on the dinner table are traditionally beaten to death.”
I could write, “traditionally Brits put a leech down their undies as a cure for anything that ails them,” but it doesn’t mean we still do.
It’s also full of sweeping statements such as exotic pet dogs are kept in the city while those in the countryside only see them as guard dogs and meat. Oh those nha que cousins, they’re like the Uber-Asians, even weirder still. Freaks.
Quotes from animal charities: none. Quotes from lawmakers: none. The number of times this story appears on a Google search: gazillions.
Here’s the thing. Eating animals isn’t very nice and I say that as a major carnivore. I am a hypocrite. I like my meat processed and without any reminders of its former animal shape. But frankly, if you started keeping a cow as a pet and took it for daily walks you’d soon go off actually eating one. Killing dogs is horrible, but then you could say the same of chickens, pigs and sheep. The whole battery hen thing isn’t very nice either.
And like I said, I’ve never eaten dog. I’ve never been requested by Vietnamese friends to go and eat dog. I have Vietnamese in-laws and, no, they don’t slope off for a quick bowl of Fido when my back is turned. Daily I read backpacker blogs and tweets where they excitedly voice fears that they may have accidentally eaten dog — as if Hanoians will sneak a slice of German Shepherd into your banh mi as soon as your back is turned.
Here’s something. I kept fish as a kid and yet loved fish and chips as a Friday night treat. Look at me, I’m a freak. Where’s my article?
Dogs are being snatched and that really, really sucks. But this is Vietnam and sadly people, mostly women and children, are still being snatched, bought, sold, used and abused. Tragically their plight doesn’t command the same widespread headlines.
Is it just me or is the world getting too small for these “aren’t foreigners weird” articles?