Sunday, July 28, 2002

Korean Dogs
Some days ago I got this pic from Steffi as one of her funny world cup pictures. Well, I think the owner has a bit of British humor. I am not sure if a dog wants to associated with the Korean flag as some countrymen like to eat his relatives.

During the world cup there has been the usual outcry in the media about Korean dog restaurants, as it has been during the Olympics '88 or any other big event in the country. Korean (patriotic?) dogPeoply find it cruel to kill dogs or cats. But it's just because they don't understand the difference of cultures. First of all, Koreans do not eat normal pets but dogs which are specially breeded for that, just like we breed cows or pigs.

Secondly, critics state that they are being butchered cruelly. Well, that may be and I wouldn't like that, but we Europeans aren't better in this way. Look at our laying batteries for hens or the French tradition of using pipes to force food into the throats of geese and enlarge their liver. We shouldn't be an upholder of moral standards which we are not even applying to ourselves.

By the way, Koreans aren't the only nation eating dogs, the Chinese, Philipines, Senegalese and Polynesian are doing the same. The only legitimate critic on Korea could be its indetermined policy toward the issue. Officially the selling and eating of dog meat has been banned in 1988 to please the audience for the summer olympics. But on the other hand it has never been enforced and will never be enforced, as a 1500-year-old tradition is hard to break. In my opinion this was simply a typical tactic of problem-solving in Asia: Please the one side, do not harm the other.

For a more in-depth review of this issue see the Korea Times article from May 2002.

To come back to our photographed doggie, he'll be allright by now, sitting in the tiny home of his Korean lordling watching his world cup pictures or dreaming of his next visit to the dog saloon. Yes, I found some of them in Seoul, hair stylists, restaurants, hotels, all for dogs and cats. The Korean attitude toward dogs is as ambivalent as ours toward fishes. Some are being used as pets, others as food. Whatever, we don't have to wait long for the next outcry as the summer olympics in China are coming soon.

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