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Essay on Korean Dog Eating Tradition

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Korean Dog Eating Tradition


The Korean practice of eating dog meat has always been considered a peculiar tradition by foreigners. In recent years, this tradition has come under increasing pressure from animal rights activists, including Bridget Bardot, who wish to see the practice outlawed altogether by the South Korean government. This controversy came to a head in 2002, when activists convinced FIFA to put pressure on South Korea, the co-host of the World Cup, to ban dog meat. William Saletan discusses this controversy in his article ?Wok the Dog,? in which he makes an interesting and well crafted argument supporting the Korean practice. In this article, Saletan effectively deconstructs the opposing arguments and makes the strong counter-point on logical, moral, and emotional grounds, that the movement to outlaw dog meat in South Korea has an undercurrent of cultural arrogance and even racism.

The strongest argument against the dog meat industry centers on the treatment of the dogs that are often killed by ?beating, strangling, [and] boiling? instead of more humane methods such as electrocution. Unnecessary cruelty against animals is universally considered wrong, and is in many cases illegal, and that is what makes this argument effective. Saletan addresses this argument logically, with the simple fact that in the interest of humane treatment of dogs ?South Korean lawmakers are proposing to legalize, license, and regulate the industry.? This simple fact exposes a fundamental hypocrisy within the opposing viewpoint. Saletan argues that it is the same activists who base their arguments on ending cruelty against dogs who are trying to keep new, more humane methods from being adopted. The activists condemn and deplore cruel ...


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...t that ?unsightliness, by definition, is in the eye of the beholder, and beholders are motivated by prejudice as often as by justice.?

Ultimately, William Saletan argues his point very well in ?Wok the Dog.? He systematically deconstructs both the argument that dog meat should be outlawed because of cruel treatment of dogs, and the argument that dog meat should be outlawed because dogs have a special position as ?man?s best friend,? and this takes away the foundation for the overarching argument that eating dog meat is unsightly and wrong, and exposes the arguments for what they truly are; an attack by westerners against a foreign practice that they find odd. Saletan effectively presents dog-eating Koreans, people whose dietary practice seems grotesque to many people, as the victims of foreign bullying, and leaves the reader no choice but to support them.


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