Dogs and cats in China

It is difficult to understand the paradox of keeping dogs and cats as pets and seeing their carcasses hanging in the marketplace as meat for sale. When I was growing up in Shanghai, I knew that the southerners, the Cantonese, ate dog meat. In the old days their most lavish banquets involved imprisoning a monkey under a table with its shaved head protruding through a hole in the center. The monkey was alive while the host or honored guest smashed in its skull with a hammer and its brain scooped out.

Any comment on this practice is redundant; its depiction is adequate horror.
But one would think that segment of Chinese eating dog and cat meat — and by the way, harvesting their pelts to decorate garments — had advanced beyond it. One would think TV (even censored as it is there), though not all of the 1.3 billion population have access to it, would have brought change in thought and habit. And the manner of slaughtering the dogs and cats remains callous and cruel. In most cases the animals are not even killed first before they are skinned or boiled.

And I am not going into here their farming of bears for their “medicinal” bile, or the harvesting of rhinos for their horns. It makes me ill to think of their huge bodies reduced to flyblown carcasses and missing their horns. For that matter, the same with elephants with holes where their tusks once lived.

How to reach and convert those elements in such a populous country? How to bridge the gap between elite Chinese, the billionaires and the dog-and-cat meat consumers? All the blogs and tweets in the world will not reach the latter. The only resource is those very billionaires, who I wish would launch an interior crusade to educate and uplift their other side. But that is extremely wishful thinking, for those so-called enlightened people are the ones causing the poaching of elephants and rhinos.

Surely the need for meat can be fulfilled in other ways? It is not the custom of Chinese people to eat steaks or large quantities of meat in a meal; at home, meat is even less of a component of a meal.

I see fewer and fewer garments trimmed with fur and made in China on sale in the San Francisco Bay Area. I did spot them in the clothing store H&M and spoke to the store manager about it. A hopeless effort; what could she do about it?

I despair, and I cry to heaven.

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