Tasteless tales No.2


Sometimes travel can be a little colorful and so can our descriptions. This tale is not meant to offend but rather to convey some of the less subtle sides of our trip. If in doubt just avoid this one, the next one is probably better anyway.

from: Yangshuo market, Guangxi Province. China

Julie and I had for some time tossed around the idea of eating Dog meat while in China. To many the very thought is disgusting and barbaric and to them we said 'if you eat pigs and cows, why let a simple cultural bias prevent you from eating something that tastes good, has no local stigma attached and might make an all around memorable meal?' A poorly chosen shortcut through an alley behind the Yangshuo market would quickly and violently change that attitude

Trying to find the shortest way back to our hotel through the rain we spied a narrow alley pointing in the right direction and wandered innocently down it. As soon as Julie saw the semi-scorched totally de-furred rabbit being swung onto the chopping block she put her head down and quickened her pace. She made it through the alley only seeing the blood running out of the stalls and turning the rain puddles red. Nigel, more curious and of the impression that anything the eye takes in is a valuable experience, slowed his pace and forced himself to take in what followed.

Behind a rusty metal drum a woman had a not yet stiffened dead dog on its back, its legs thrust into the air as though it were having its' stomach scratched. It struck me as odd that the animal had very short very white hair until I realized that it in fact had no hair. Or skin from the look of it. Before I could look away (then I could no look away, trapped by my horror) she opened up its chest and plunged her bare hand in and ripped out whatever came to hand. A messy pile of heart, lung and other tissue slowly grew on the filthy concrete floor beside her. After hollowing out the canines carcass she moved it to the chopping block where a large cleaver made short work of the thin bones and pathetic muscles vainly holding the body together.

I passed a number of these stalls, all with dogs in various states of death and dismemberment and while the hunks of flesh and gore and the sanitary conditions in which this was all taking place were stomach turning, it was only a little different to any butcher slaughtering any poor creature for our consumption. What turned my stomach to eating dog was in the last stall.

There was another fresh dog corpse devoid of fur and stark white but otherwise looking like a dog taking a nap on the floor. In the shadows further back however, I could make out a filthy cage holding three or four cramped mutts. They were all looking past the corpse of one of their cellmates and watching my face. One of them made a soft whimpering sound and it all came crashing in on me. These were not just chickens and rabbits who seem to have no understanding of what is happening to them, these are animals that look you right in the eyes. They sit in their cages and watch one of their own dragged out and chopped up and they understand. There is no attempt to hide from them the vicious swing of the cleaver that is so obviously violent. The sickly sweet smell of the blood splashing onto the filthy floor must be more sickening and more terrifying to them and their keen sense of smell.

I try to make no judgment because I am not a vegetarian. To decry killing dogs for food while continuing to eat bacon and steak seems to be drawing an imaginary and arbitrary line that is not ethically defensible. Though I never have, and now never will eat dog, I am still a meat eater and this makes me responsible for driving the culture that makes it permissible to kill all animals, dogs too. That guilt made the awful sweet sweet smell of dog blood and entrails seem to stick to me for the rest of the day, reminding me and making me queasy. The images of those forlorn dogs watching and probably understanding their own fate will be with me much longer.

~ Nigel

following are pictures. I warn you in the strongest possible way that these will disturb you. DO NOT click on if you are not ABSOLUTELY certain that you want to see graphic pictures of what I've described above.

picture 1 | picture 2 | picture 3 | picture 4



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