Saturday, 3 January 2009

Unusual meat

I've procrastinated about posting some photos here, as I know it will make some people cringe. But most people know that in Asia many foods are eaten that we in the west, from the UK, USA or Australia would find too difficult to eat.

In China, where poverty and starvation have played a big role in their history, it is joked that the folk here will eat "anything" - the reality is that they have had little choice, and so their taste buds and sensitivities are different to ours.

I remember when we were first told about dog meat, how horrified we were. One of the influential teachers here was shocked at our reaction to the thought of eating dog meat. Wasn't it the same as eating chicken, pork, lamb, or beef? It was an animal. The meat of dogs is savoured by many and dogs are specially bred for this purpose. So should we be horrified?

There certainly is no discussion on animal cruelty here - certainly not as we know it in Australia. I wonder at the ducks and chickens kept in a small cage at the shop front watching as their "friends" are killed, plucked and prepared in front of them! Poor chickens! Poor ducks! But this is a different world here - and it will be many years, if ever, that the sensitivity to these things will be an issue here.

I keep reminding myself that managing such a huge population - feeding them, housing them and employing them is on a scale that we don't really understand in the west.

There are two photos. One of dog meat in the local village adjacent to the university, and the other in the wet market where part of the dog is on the chopping block. The only way I knew it was dog meat in the latter is the feet of the meat, which are still attached. No hoof - just a dog paw.