Vegans of Color

Because we don’t have the luxury of being single-issue

Eating Cat Is the Same as Eating Cow January 2, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 3:17 pm
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Thanks to Kanika for the heads-up on this one: Pet lovers protest cats on the menu in China. I’ve said it before, & I’ve said it again: it gets under my skin when Westerners criticize Asian nations for eating cat & dog. Meat eaters have no excuse; why should this be any more or less horrifying than eating cow or pig? Oh yeah, because they happen to judge that one animal is cute & one is not (I even met someone once who said she was a “cute-itarian” & wouldn’t eat pigs because she thought they were cute, but all other meat was fine to chow down on). As Angry Asian Man says:

In the face of articles like this, you can’t deny it: they eat cats in Guangdong. And they cook ‘em up good. And I’ll admit, that grosses me out a little. Then again, I also have to ask, so what? How is this more or less humane or disgusting than the practice of eating any other animal?

I was glad to see that sentiment expressed on a major blog (one of my favorites!) that isn’t about animal rights; maybe it will make some folks think.

Oh yeah, & what about when veg*ns criticize dog- and cat-eating? It’s so often steeped in colonial racist attitudes. To quote Angry Asian Man again: “The insinuation is that [Chinese] restaurants [that serve cat] — and by extension, Chinese people — are inherently dirty, strange and exotic.”

The article points out that some Chinese have been protesting this practice (I’d be curious about the ratio of flesh-eaters to vegans among them), though of course it mentions that PETA has been condemning it as well.

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12 Responses to “Eating Cat Is the Same as Eating Cow”

  1. I think there’s another element you’re missing. The story suggests that some of the cat meat comes from stolen pets.

  2. spider_candle Says:

    Ditto for those in the horse-riding communities in the US and UK who I’ve heard express the sentiment that it is wrong for Europeans to eat horses “because they are such an intelligent animal” unlike, presumably, cows, pigs, chickens and anything else they eat in their own homes.

  3. s Says:

    This topic always makes me very cranky. The number of times I’ve had to put up with “the Chinese pretend to be all nice with their pandas but then they EAT DOGS” is too high.

  4. johanna Says:

    Elaine — that’s true, & given that the number of people having cats as companion animals in China has risen, that’s an issue — but I feel like, as far as the disgust from Westerners (certainly) goes, the stolen pet thing isn’t even an issue. If they were all from cat factory farms they would still think it was especially cruel & wrong, just b/c in the West cats are usually seen as companion animals. (& I think that’s probably how the meat-eaters in China protesting this are thinking as well)

    spider_candle — Yes, good point re: horses too! I should go take a look at articles about that to see how it’s framed — I know the French, for example, are always ripe for comments about weird food (snails, etc.); I’d be curious to see how it compares w/how the issue of dog/cat-eating in Asian countries is treated.

    s — YES. & as if Western countries don’t have their share of ‘bizarre’ foods anyway. Weirdness is in the eye of the beholder. :P

  5. You are also missing another VERY important point. Cats are stolen from the street, stored in cages for days if not weeks on end, starved and dehydrated until they are picked out of their cages with a clamping device.

    Then they are dipped in a pot of hot water for up to several minutes. They remove the cat and then skin them, while still alive, then they place them back in to the pot of boiling hot water until they drown and boil to death.

    Part of being vegan is being compassionate. This is not compassionate and this is not humane. You may not like that some of us equate the brutality between cows and cats, but a cow is incapable of being dipped into a pot of boiling water. This does not make the tragedy any less for the cow, I am sure they suffer immensely. But if you become black and white like the rest of the world then there is no compassion, colour and feeling left. One must feel. One must then reason with that feeling. And one learns about humaness to animals one animal at a time. Please don’t dilute this horrendous problem in China by comparing cruelty. You do not have all the facts and your implying that is ok, and it really is not.

  6. johanna Says:

    Amanda — cows actually do often suffer tremendously before & during slaughter, especially due to the high speeds of factory farm slaughter; there’s a lot of information out there about this. And would you think it was okay to eat cat if they were treated nicely?

    Have you read the links in the post? I think you’re missing my point. I never said it was okay to eat cat; I’m commenting on the appropriateness of critiquing that practice.

  7. Vegas Vegan Says:

    The only way to cover your bases on a topic like this is to oppose all animal consumption. They eat different animals in other places, doesn’t make it MORE wrong there and LESS wrong here. If I’m going to claim to be Vegan, then I have to stand against all animals for food. Cows, chickens, horses, dogs, cats, bugs, fish. Alive = I’m not eating it. I don’t put qualifiers on it.

  8. Antonio Says:

    That’s a good point. We should focus on veganism and not at pointing the finger at other cultures for also eating meat. It’s counterproductive. On average a Chinese person still eats less meat than most Westerners so how can eat meaters on this side of the world feel like they’ve got the moral higher ground on this issue? I wish no one ate meat, dairy and eggs, in the whole world.

  9. Anon Says:

    Eating meat is WRONG but if you are going to eat animal flesh, then don’t give STUPID excuses that cats or dogs are pets. Well, many folks have horses as pets. Or parrots. Or pigs.

    I do hope that a world-wide bird-flu hits us soon. Hopefully, it is non-contagious (human-human) and remains infectious/contagious through the consumption of meat.

  10. Wang Says:

    Hello, I’m a Chinese student studying in Canada right now. I am native from Guangdong province, and please know cat meat is not that common in Guangdong or anywhere else in China, for that matter. I have heard of maybe one restaurant that serve cat in Guangzhou before but i never go there before. Dog meat is more common, but not as common as many foreigners think.

    As for eating only vegtable, haha it may be too boring for me! but i know many Canadian friend who do not eat the meat, which of course they choose how they live. i think maybe like buddhst monk, it is probrably good for health to eat less meat, you know Shaolin temple monk eat 2 kilo of rice a day and no meat but very strong.

    And some western people also eating doufu, i very like doufu, haha, interesteng to see doufu in foreign countries other than Japan, korea, etc.

    please sorry for my poor english

  11. Tabby Says:

    I have never had an interest in sleeping with a cow or having one sit in my lap.


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