Recently, my Facebook feed has been lit up with posts urging me to sign petition after petition against the Yulin dog meat festival.
I refuse to do any such thing.
Many of the people ranting about this horrid “festival” are non-vegans who are obviously very confused about the issue. It makes no sense whatsoever to speak out against people eating dogs when you yourself eat or otherwise exploit any number of other animals.
People keep defending their outrage against this festival, saying that it’s somehow worse than anything we do to animals here in North America. They keep mentioning that many of the dogs being killed are “pets” who are stolen from their families.
So, the lives of animals we in the West consider “pets” are more valuable than those we consider “food”? How ridiculously arbitrary!
The truth is that what happens during this festival is no different than what everyone else in the world does to animals for no other reason than that they like how they taste. Cows, pigs, chickens, goats, ducks, sheep, fish—these animals are brutally tortured by the millions each day and killed so people can eat their corpses. What they suffer in their short lives is every bit as horrendous as what the dogs in Yulin suffer. There is no difference, and I’m not keen on the idea of comparing suffering anyway. Use is abuse, and it’s ALL wrong regardless of “how much suffering” we perceive. Treatment is not the real issue here.
Why on earth should the people of Yulin stop their dog-eating festival when all the people complaining and starting petitions over it won’t stop exploiting animals in their own countries?
And how much sense does it make to pressure the people of Yulin to stop eating dogs if we don’t promote a vegan message? Won’t they just replace the dogs with some other kind of animal? That doesn’t “help” animals in any way, and the people of Yulin are understandably confused as to what all the ruckus is about. Not promoting a strong and consistent vegan message confuses people.
Much like Ricky Gervais confuses people, which I spoke about in a previous post that seemed to irritate a lot of welfarists who love Ricky Gervais. Sorry, but I stand by my initial assertion that Ricky Gervais is a hypocrite. And it seems he’s not alone.
If we don’t indicate to others why any and all animal use is immoral and should be rejected, then how the hell are they supposed to understand our ire? The people of Yulin probably see us as a bunch of lunatics who fetishize dogs while eating other animals. They would not be wrong.
Just as the people who kill dolphins in Taiji resent white westerners screaming at them not to kill dolphins……why the hell shouldn’t they, given what we do to other animals in our own countries? They see non-vegan westerners as hypocrites, and they are one hundred percent correct.
Just as people in my own home country get annoyed at all the foreigners telling us not to club baby seals to death every year. Why the hell shouldn’t we, when every other country on the face of this earth exploits animals in some gruesome way? Stop telling us what to do when you do the same damn thing, only to different species! Canadians are getting pretty damn sick of Americans coming to our country to film the seal slaughter and tell us we are awful people for killing seals, when Americans do things to all kinds of animals, things that are every single bit as awful.
If we want to get through to people, we need to talk clearly and consistently about veganism. We need to talk about sentience, not species. ALL species matter, not just the cute and cuddly ones, or the “smart” ones, or whatever other irrelevant criteria we use to differentiate between those species we value and those we don’t.
We need to stop the xenophobia and outright racism. People in Asia are NOT worse than people in North America. They use rhino horns for “medicinal” purposes; we test on all kinds of animals for “scientific” purposes. “We” are not better than “they” are, and we need to stop talking like we are. We are all human beings, and we all exploit animals, and it all has to stop.
So please, stop circulating useless single-issue petitions and speaking out against something that is no worse than what your friends and family (and maybe even you) do at least three times a day at each meal. Start thinking about the ways in which you and those you care about exploit animals, and start reading literature by people like Gary Francione (www.abolitionistapproach.com or check out his Facebook page; books: Rain Without Thunder, Eat Like You Care, Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog, etc).
If you are not already vegan, then become vegan and start educating others.
Education is the strongest form of activism, so get educated and start advocating for veganism as a moral baseline. It is the best thing you can do to help animals.
The only real “victory” for non-human animals will be when we get others to go vegan. So get out there and educate.