Sunday, June 26, 2016

Animal Abuse

On June 21, 2016, the Lychee and Dog Meat Festival, perhaps familiarly known as the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, began in China, despite a cornucopia of opposition from inside and outside of the country. The dog-slaughtering event has aroused my desire to express my view on this fairly controversial topic: animal abuse.

Modern humans have existed for a relatively long time, around 200,000 years. Our ancestors must have fed on a wide variety of diets, including a great number of members of the animal kingdom. It makes a lot of sense to think so since the present time sees human consumption of numerous kinds of creatures – some of which you would probably gape at — as a means of surviving in the modern world. The Manadonese, a tribe native to Manado, one of the largest cities in Indonesia located in Celebes island, take it to an extreme. It is a common practice for the locals to eat bat, cat, and rat meat, as well as dog and monkey. Perhaps this ethnic group is comparable to the Chinese, who are also known to indulge themselves in enjoying a vast range of foods made out of animal flesh.

Is it morally wrong to kill a dog and devour it? Does it deserve to be abhorred to take out a clowder of cats and cook "steaks" out of them? As with a bunch of other things, humans can't be separated from culture. Different cultures may have differing attitudes toward this issue. Those who are accustomed to it would say it is perfectly all right – it might be weird for them not to eat a certain kind of animal. On the other hand, others might see this sort of act as being cruel and evil.

Actually it is not really difficult to work out why this can happen. People grow in different environments and are shaped by them. It is worth mentioning that humans naturally have feelings, such as compassion. Dog and cat lovers would say a BIG yes in reply to the two questions posed at the beginning of the previous paragraph. Being in contact with these types of animal for a long time – perhaps in most cases, since the creatures were born – have certainly generated affection and pity in them, hence the disfavor.

There was a controversy relating to this matter in Indonesia a few months ago: dog lovers protested to the owner of a pet shop in South Tangerang against a puppy/puppies being fed to the snake pet(s). When I first noticed this, I thought, What would snake lovers do if they knew this? Would they protest to the dog lovers?

It seems silly to actually grumble about this situation. If the human race has maintained their existence in varied ways, why should we, the current generation, feel agitated? In my opinion, as long as it doesn't have a negative effect on our species' survival, it really is no problem. (Some people might have a thought that it is simply wrong to kill an animal. However, do they care about the massacre of countless chickens that will end up at KFC's and McDonald's tables every day? I believe not – consistency is the key here.)

I am suddenly reminded of the killing of Harambe, a gorilla in the Cincinnati Zoo, the U.S., which took place recently. He was shot dead with the intention to prevent a young boy who had fallen into the gorilla's territory from experiencing imminent death. While I agree that we need to conserve biodiversity, saving living things from extinction, our species has always to take priority over others.

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