Volunteers rescued approximately 200 dogs in the Sichuanese city of Pengzhou (彭州市), who were in the process of being transported for sale and consumption in Guangdong province. Tang Qiong, who was in charge of the dog trafficking, was ordered by volunteers to stop loading his truck, and to release all the dogs from their cages inside his kennel.
Chaos ensued, with several dogs escaping and local residents fearing for their safety from the pups, some of whom were pets that had gone missing from their owners.
Tang protested that he had the proper licenses and quarantine certificates for his trade, and that the dogs that were already dead in his custody were going to be used to “feed chickens”.
Upon further grilling, Tang was found to have been lacking the credentials he boasted of having, with the dogs then removed from the premises to be quarantined and vaccinated.
The dramatic dog rescue by volunteers is becoming quite the phenomenon in China, with
similar scenes taking place in the Sichuan city of Zigong in October, when 800 dogs in the custody of another trader named Tang were rescued, as well as an incident that saw 520 dogs rescued on the Beijing-Harbin highway in April.
Though we for one think that you really can’t think of any species that can fetch you alcohol and cigarettes as being on the level of other animals, there are going to be plenty of groups in China who would oppose an outright ban on the eating of dogs.
Unlike the issue of shark finning, which has seen conservationists celebrating due to the recent wave of bans against the selling of shark fin, the killing of dogs doesn’t threaten any fragile ecosystems, so a foolproof argument for ending the practice of dog-eating can’t rely on pressing environmental concerns.
In 2002, Slate found the argument against dog-eating in a country like South Korea, where dog meat has been consumed by up to 30 percent of the population, too weak to objectively hold up:
[The] philosophy boils down to this: The value of an animal depends on how you treat it. If you befriend it, it’s a friend. If you raise it for food, it’s food. This relativism is more dangerous than the absolutism of vegetarians or even of thoughtful carnivores.
You can abstain from meat because you believe that the mental capacity of animals is too close to that of humans. You can eat meat because you believe that it isn’t. Either way, you’re using a fixed standard. But if you refuse to eat only the meat of “companion” animals—chewing bacon, for example, while telling Koreans that they can’t stew Dalmatians—you’re saying that the morality of killing depends on habit or even whim.
Is the problem of dog-eating really so insurmountable? We suggest playing a year’s worth of dog-oriented family films on CCTV’s movie channel, including Lassie, Homeward Bound, the Beethoven septulogy and the Air Bud dodecalogy. China’s toddler and pre-teen contingent would be brainwashed enough by heartwarming capers featuring talking/fun-loving/basketball-playing dogs to throw a royal fit when they hear people actually enjoy munching on the likes of the Air Buddies.