There is a joke that goes something like this: «Two Indians from a dog-eating tribe arrive in New York and suddenly one says to the other: ‘Look, hot dogs! Let’s have one’, so they go over to the hotdog stand and order two. When they receive their buns, one Indian opens his up and looks at it. Then he turns to his companion and asks: ‘What part of dog you got?’»
Did such a ‘dog-eating tribe’ ever exist? Yes. Maybe not in what is today the United States, but in Mexico the Aztecs even bred special, vegetable-eating, toothless, hairless dogs for the purpose of eating them. They are called escuincles and they exist today as a very prized breed of house pet.
The other day a dear friend sent me an irate protest letter against the Dog-Eating Festival in China asking that I sign it in order to stop this barbarous act. I didn’t sign it. I couldn’t sign it in good faith and, believe me, I love dogs and anyone who reads this blog knows that. I, personally, have never eaten Dog, nor do I expect to in this lifetime, but I am not a vegetarian or a vegan; I am omnivorous and I eat Cow and Sheep and Goat and Chicken and Fish in moderate quantities without batting an eyelid. And three of these things I eat in their tender, sweet, baby form as Veal, Lamb and Baby Goat. I have also eaten Deer (what could be more adorable!) and probably, unknowingly, at some point eaten Horse as I now live in a country where it is sold in the marketplace because there are people who prefer it to Cow. I have also eaten Baby Eels when they weren’t so expensive, Manta Ray (recently in a restaurant), Iguana (in a food fair in Mexico), Snake and tasted fried Grasshoppers (once, in Oaxaca, Mexico), Ant’s Eggs (called escamoles and considered a delicacy in Mexico today, along with Maguey Worms which I have not tasted). There is also a town in Mexico where they eat live beetles called ‘jumiles’ or ‘chumiles’ (in English ‘stink bugs’) wrapped in a tortilla and the trick is to get them all into your mouth before they crawl out of the tortilla onto your cheek (they’re fast little critters!) And if you consult Google, you will find that Insects in general, have been eaten the world over for millennium and that they have a very high protein content, are low in calories and very ecological to breed and farm. To each his own. So, as I said: I am omnivorous even though at this time meat makes up less than a fourth of my diet.
So, if I can eat these really adorable animals, why should I criticize the Chinese for eating Dog? I can’t do that. I would have to join a campaign against Cow, Sheep and Goat eaters and, of course, those terrible people who eat Chicken (according to a friend of mine, whose chickens are part of the family and receive better treatment and more love than my dog!).
One of the convincing arguments for not eating meat (and it is very convincing!) is that we were never meant to be carnivores and our bodies are not equipped to digest any form of meat. (Here is the link to the article http://www.celestialhealing.net/physicalveg3.htm). As I said, it is very convincing, and yes herbivores like those mentioned in the article (cows, goats, gorillas, elephants, rhinoceroses), are neither scrawny nor unhealthy, but they consume their vegetables raw along with a large amount of very protein-rich BUGS. So the fact that many mainly vegetarian or indigenous cultures eat Insect is not strange at all.
One thing stands out in our carnivorous history and that is that we don’t seem to favor eating other carnivores, but rather stick to herbivores. That is Nature’s rule, carnivore eats herbivore. Even the Nahuas or Aztecs bred toothless vegetarian dogs to eat. So, the habit of the Chinese of eating ‘normal’ carnivorous dogs goes against the natural (Carnivore eats herbivore) grain of things to say the least.
The same aforementioned article claims that vegetarians are healthier and live longer. I have no proof of that. I know quite a few vegetarians and some vegans and those that are around my age seem to have the same as or more physical complaints than I do (and that’s not hard seeing as I have very, very few at this moment… knock on wood). Yes, they do seem slimmer on the whole and I notice that they eat A MUCH SMALLER amount of food than I do in general, so I am not sure if the slimness is due to amount or kind.
On the other hand, they seem to suffer a lot more stress around food matters than I do; they are sometimes very worried about what they put in their mouths or where they eat, what kind of food they buy and what ingredients went into every dish. I do not stress over what I eat: I love ALL food (possible explanation for why I struggle with my weight). Nevertheless, I am accustomed to avoiding carbs and/or not combining even ‘good’ carbs with animal protein. This doesn’t make me better, but it does make me happier and less stressed out, because carbs (any kind of carbs, even the good carbs like quinoa, lentils or chickpeas) awaken a compulsiveness that makes me insatiable, so I shy away from them.
I also can understand how difficult it is to be a vegetarian in a meat-eating world, I have a similar experience being a non-drinker in a world that thinks alcohol and fun/enjoyment are inseparable. Just as a vegetarian might not enjoy going to a barbecue, I shy away from cocktail parties (I hated them anyway, even when I drank). So I can understand a vegetarian’s frustration when the menu in a restaurant includes no dishes without meat or meat products, and I sympathize.
Maybe the principal reason why I do not become a vegetarian, in spite of the fact that I am a COWARDLY CARNIVORE (if I had to kill the animal myself I would give up meat immediately) is that I am lazy, I do not like to cook for myself so I eat out every day. If I had a vegetarian at home who would cook for me, I would probably eat vegetarian. When I have gone on retreats (spiritual) I have often enjoyed the vegetarian diet immensely (and gained weight). C’est la vie! I will continue for now to be a Cowardly Carnivore and just try to not talk about it in front of my vegetarian friends (out of respect for their house pets, especially their chickens). One thing is for sure: I would feel the same way about someone eating my dog, as my friend feels about anyone eating her chickens!