Have you eaten dog meat? Do you know that besides Korea, dogs are also an alternative source of meat in times of emergencies? In the Arctic and Antarctic where meat is scarce, or for that matter, where food is scarce, sled dogs – yes, the cute ones which pull your sleds in the snow, are eaten at times. One Norwegian explorer famously ate sled dogs during his expedition to the South Pole to survive; which by doing so, he was able to transport less dog food, thus lightening his load.

China is also famous for exotic food. Besides feeding on dog meat, they also hunt for rodents, felines (yes, this includes Hello Kitty (TM) and every other cute little pussy that you can think of) and rabbit (can’t think of any cute rabbit characters). While dogs were also used as an emergency source of food, it’s now seen as a source of medicinal ingredient.

What the recent commotion is about is that Seoul is seeking to classify dogs – puppies and all as livestock, which will then allow them to set safety standards for preparation of dog meat. As long as it is not classified as so, the preparation is always questionable, which also means that it may be prepared in an unhygienic manner. This move, however, is creating some unrest in the city, activists in which dread the day that dog meat is hung next to beef.

Are you a dog lover?

Ed: Authors of Simply Jean are not connoisseurs of exotic dog meat

SEOUL – THE Seoul city government is seeking to classify man’s best friend as livestock in order to set food safety standards for South Korean lovers of dogmeat, officials say.

Somewhere between two and four million dogs are estimated to be consumed in South Korea every year but the slaughtering and processing is carried out in dirty environments and poses a risks to diners’ health, they said.

Since dogs are not currently classed as livestock there are no hygiene regulations on their slaughter, officials said.

‘Dogs are consumed in their millions in this country every year. That’s a fact. We have to take care of this situation,’ said Lee Hae Woo, head of the city government’s department of food safety.

‘We plan to recommend to the central government that dogs are classified as livestock,’ he said. ‘This is like a hot potato but we don’t pretend the issue does not exist.’

South Korea’s capital has always been ambivalent about dogmeat. To avoid adverse publicity before the 1988 Olympics, the city banned dogmeat and snakemeat as ‘abhorrent food’.

The order is now largely ignored and an estimated 500 dogmeat restaurants operate in Seoul alone.

The reclassification proposal sparked angry reactions from animal activists, who staged street protests and launched on-line signature campaigns.

‘No other country in the world but South Korea gives a legal green light to dogmeat consumption,’ the Korea Association for Animal Protection said in a statement.

‘South Korea’s motto is globalisation but it seeks to go back to the Stone Age as far as dogmeat consumption is concerned.’

Lee Won Bok, association president, said if the proposal became reality, dogmeat consumption would increase drastically.

‘It’s horrible to imagine dogmeat on display next to beef and ham at supermarkets. It would also be nauseating to see roasted dogmeat on the menu of your restaurant,’ he said. — AFP

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 2nd April 2008

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