I haven't commented on the story of the mass dog killings in China yet. I've kind of been waiting for a little bit of perspective before I let my imagination lead me to places I don't want to go. I think when we hear about something like this there's a real tendency to--as smug, enlightened, Westerners--start thinking of "those people" as kind of sub-human, and I didn't want to be that Ugly American.
After all, surely some people in China were upset about this, right? Surely some people are enough like me that they wouldn't meekly hand over their dogs, but would do whatever they could to save them from a horrible death? Surely we share some of the same universal values; I just can't believe our cultures are that different.
And sadly, maybe they aren't. This article, by Mark Morford, nails home just how alike we are:
"But wait. Is America really that much more evolved? Do we not kill millions of ill-bred, hormone-injected, mistreated animals every single day in giant industrial slaughterhouses to feed our gluttonous and largely toxic fast-food cravings? You bet we do.
As for dogs, well, we love them to death: Our nation's overrun animal shelters kill an estimated 3 to 4 million dogs and cats per year due to overbreeding and puppy mills and ignorance of spaying and neutering. They're not even rabid. They are no threat whatsoever.
You have to ask: Are we much better at our treatment of animals simply because we've learned to hide it better? Because most of us will never come anywhere near one of those gruesome industrial feedlots in, say, rural Kansas or Oklahoma, where they cram tens of thousands of cattle into concrete-enclosed pens and the air is so thick with fetid gasses and feces and smokestack spewings you can smell the stench 100 miles away?
But hey, at least we don't club our dogs in the streets in broad daylight. We're not, you know, monsters. "
Yeah for universal values, huh? Some days I don't like my species very much.