Wednesday, January 13, 2010

“First, kill a medium-sized dog, then burn off the fur over a hot fire.”

Peter Singer draws our attention to this, the first step in a "tongue-in-cheek" recipe in Jonathan Safran Foer's book Eating Animals.

Singer explains (summarizing Foer):

Yes, dogs are intelligent, feeling beings, but so are pigs, cows and chickens. Properly cooked, dog meat is as healthy and nutritious as any other meat. It is also said to be delicious. In fact, since many people now advocate eating locally produced food and stray dogs are killed in their thousands in most big cities every year, dogs are the ideal local meat.
You can find the full recipe near the end of this editorial by Foer, which also expands on the case for eating dogs.

6 comments:

Jason (the commenter) said...

Tongue-in-cheek? I think it's a great idea, but the recipe seems a little too complicated, and there are too many ingredients in it. I have to wonder, is it even going to taste like dog?

I think the problem is that dogs (and cats) are carnivores and eat all sorts of stuff that makes their meat oily and taste funny. So you have to try and cover up the flavor.

It's a real shame that most people don' get the chance to kill and butcher their own meat anymore. I'm surprised no one has set up a business to let people have that experience. Government regulations probably make that impossible though. Too bad, it would be really fun!

Anonymous said...

I am an American living on an island in the western Pacific Ocean, and dog meat is considered a perfectly acceptable meal option here. It doesn't seem to do much to decrease the stray dog population, though. Then again, dogs are allowed to run wild and to breed ad nauseum for the express purpose of creating more dogs... for lunch. We have a pet dog and keep her on a chain nearly all the time... and we STILL worry that someone might come grab her. She's well fed and has plenty of meat on her bones - she'd make a tasty treat.

Anyway, just thought I'd offer that perspective.

howzerdo said...

Ugh. I'm really, really sorry I read this. (Not meaning to be disrespectful, that is my honest reaction. :-(

John Althouse Cohen said...

It doesn't seem to do much to decrease the stray dog population, though. Then again, dogs are allowed to run wild and to breed ad nauseum for the express purpose of creating more dogs... for lunch.

Yes, this is a problem with Foer's suggestion that "various 'humane' groups are the worst hypocrites, spending enormous amounts of money and energy in a futile attempt to reduce the number of unwanted dogs while at the very same time propagating the irresponsible no-dog-for-dinner taboo." He seems to be ignoring the ways in which lifting the taboo could make things even worse.

Summer Anne said...

"He seems to be ignoring the ways in which lifting the taboo could make things even worse."

I don't think tongue-in-cheek in your original post should be in quotation marks, nor do I think the sentence above makes sense in the context of what he wrote being satire (hence the modest proposal nod in the title). He doesn't actually think humane groups are hypocritical, because he doesn't actually think people should eat dogs. His point is that the fact that we're okay with eating pigs and not okay with eating dogs is a meaningless cultural distinction, and not a logical one. The end conclusion is not "eat dogs," it's "don't eat animals for the same reasons you don't want to eat dogs." In the rest of the book, he lays out less philosophical and more logical reasons not to eat animals, mostly revolving around factory farming practices, but this essay is the crux of the ethical part of his argument. It feels wrong (for most Americans) to eat dogs; the only thing stopping people from feeling wrong about eating other animals is ignorance and an 'intentional forgetting.'

John Althouse Cohen said...

I put "tongue-in-cheek" in quotation marks to mark the fact that I was quoting someone.

I interpreted Foer's comments about humane societies as a serious challenge to humane societies, not just tongue-in-cheek.

On the whole, yes, his point is not to try to get people to be in favor of eating dogs but to try to turn people off of eating other animals.