Doggone it, they're family, not food
OVER four million people worldwide protesting at hashtag #StopYulin2015 could not stop the recent mass slaughter in China's Yulin city of 10,000 dogs for residents and tourists to eat in time for the dog-meat festival.
Can we really do this to "man's best friend"? Apparently, the answer is yes in China, where it is believed that at least 10 million dogs are slaughtered every year for human consumption. Worse, many of them are caged, battered and then killed with ruthless abandon.
The Yulin locals are adamant: They say that eating dog meat in a variety of ways is a cultural thing, and that people of other cultures are hypocrites and should stop eating meat from cows, sheep, or rabbits - and not to mention turkeys during Thanksgiving.
Most of the dogs are stolen pets or strays, and are sold per piece to slaughterhouses. To the Yulin folks, dog meat fights colds, improves circulation and brings good luck. But so do many pills and food supplements, so why dogs?
AS SMART AS A TODDLER
Most of us who love dogs or have them as pets are sickened by this strange gustatory inclination.
A dog is said to have the intelligence of a two-year-old child, can understand at least 165 words and is an expert in body language.
Dogs are said to have emotions but scientists claim that, unlike humans, there are no ulterior motives when dogs express emotions. They love their masters unconditionally.
Thus, American writer Josh Billings said: "The dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than himself."
A dog has feelings and knows when you are sad or if a member of the family passes away. He knows when you are sad and can just sit quietly in the corner and watch you recover, or will try to get physically closer to provide comfort.
Our 16-year-old maltese terrier named Arthur does not at all feel like a king, but serves his masters instead.
He barks at strangers, fearing they might harm the masters. He can sense if the master is scared and will defend the latter with his life (a great deed that even some security guards will not do).
An old dog named Noisy (for that is what he was) was earlier living in a cage fronting the gate for 10 years - and we had no incidents of theft or intrusion ever.
You may feed a dog only three times a day but he watches over his masters 24 hours, seven days a week (rain or shine, sick or not).
Sadness envelops Arthur when he sees the masters' travel luggage, as he knows he will be orphaned for a while. Arthur can also sense when the master is leaving for the day's work, and rushes to the doorstep for the traditional blessing like a child of the family.
Masters should not display negative emotions like anger and revenge, as dogs are so sensitive that they could be affected almost as badly as humans. And it is not true that cats and dogs always fight. Arthur has a best friend - a cat called Kitkat.
One must not forget that story about a cat that strayed into a household in Bulacan and befriended the pet dog. When the dog became terminally ill, the cat stayed beside the canine and pawed his fur until his last breath. BFF they were.
A loving dog who departs from a household casts a pall of gloom over the area. American author Dean Koontz declared: "Once you have a wonderful dog, a life without one is life diminished."
American columnist Will Rogers added: "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they are."
Lawyer Jun Amora once had a mini pinscher (Chilokoi) and a golden retriever (Golda), who had difficulty going up and down two flights of stairs. One morning, the lawyer espied the two from a distance and saw the smaller Chilokoi literally teaching the hulking Golda how to ascend and descend the stairs. Big Brother's House? Chilokoi was also smart enough to be able to open the car's window by pressing his foot on the control.
Chilokoi's boss was Jaz, the lawyer's kid, and when the adult tried to discipline the child for a misdemeanour, the dog barked at the parent. Dogs also have priorities in loyalty, it seems.
It is with these stories in mind - and we are sure readers have hundreds of similar stories - that we are appalled that dogs should be killed for food.
Dogs reportedly can know a man's intention, and one can therefore fathom the deep fear that engulfs the dogs when they are herded into a cramped vehicle bound for mass slaughter. Seventy per cent of them die of suffocation before arrival, and the rest are beaten to death and thrown into boiling cauldrons.
To be fair to China, 10 other places also continue to consume dog meat, including areas in the Philippines, Indonesia, South Korea, Polynesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Antarctica and parts of Switzerland.
One hopes that the canine carnage will stop next year if enough people start supporting #StopYulin2016 as early as now.
Dogs were made for many reasons, but not to become part of man's menu. Let's stop this cruelty.
PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK