Can dogs be accepted as meat?

Jonathan Safran Foer’s article, “Let Them Eat Dog”, makes a compelling argument. Foer proposes that dog, like other animals, is as fairly consumable, nutritious, and deserving to be eaten as the rest of the meat found in the deli aisle. For a serious argument, the article keeps the reader interested with a humorous technique and alliteration. Foer presents the long history of dog-consumption, how that has changed, and how in present-day, having dog in our diet would benefit us, not only nutritionally, but economically and socially.

At the start of the article, taken from his humorously titled book Eating Animals, Foer puts forward his witty writing style, saying, “eating ‘man’s best friend’ is as taboo as a man eating his best friend. ” He presents a true point. Foer continues to exemplify his clever style with alliteration in the first paragraph, referencing Gordon Ramsay saying “you’ll never see a puppy peeking out of one of his pots. ” Alliteration and humor invite the reader into his argument, making the piece interesting and fun to read.

Foer does, however, maintain a serious outlook on the subject of eating dogs. After the introduction, Foer questions the ethics behind the disagreement to canine consumption by bringing up humanity’s long standing history of devouring dogs. The two main reasons he brings up as to why Americans are opposed to the practice are one, because they will not eat companion animals, and two, because they will not eat intelligent animals. For the first reason, Foer retorts that not in all cultures are dogs companions. The hypocrisy behind the second he believes is shown by those people who eat pigs, cows, and chicken, who are proven to

be intelligent. One example of this is that “[pigs] can fetch, run, play, be mischievous and reciprocate affection. ” The only great difference is how much people choose to love the intelligent animals based on lovability. The main point behind all of this is the question of ethics, which are decided by individual cultures at different times in history. The last line of the article answers this question saying “instinct comes before out reason, and is more important. ”

Foer makes the reader think about how instinct is born within us from the culture we are brought into, reinforcing how our individual idea of ethics oftentimes overrules logical thinking. Foer starts to explain the cogent rationality that comes with eating dogs starting with human history. To get the reader less repulsed, he mentions the great civilizations that once ate dog for nutritional or religious reasons. He notes how the great thinkers, such as Hippocrates ate dog meat as “a source of strength. ” Foer’s droll writing comes back out when he alludes to the Chinese raising the breed “the black-tongued chow, for chow”. Later in the article, he inserts a Filipino recipe for stewed dog, which sounds very appealing.

His style paired with human history is enticing to the reader’s comfort level about this taboo subject. Foer then turns to present-day conflicts surrounding the consumption of meat in general. The process of how factory farms take the “three to four million dogs and cats euthanized annually” are fed to the cows, chicken, and pigs we will have on our kitchen tables. The seriousness he puts into this portion of the article hits home.

Not only is this a strange way of feeding our meat products, but the underlying meaning is that essentially, we are already eating “companion” animals. Foer questions the reader to ask themselves what ethics are really ethical; the convoluted practice of having herbivores consume ground up animals, or skipping that step and eating the dogs ourselves as substitution for this system. Foer also brings up the civility in which dogs would be treated, as opposed to other cruel animals in factory farms. The ecological benefits include feeding the rising human population more efficiently by “letting dogs be dogs, and breed without interference. ”

According to Foer, if dogs were accepted as meat, worthy of being farmed in our society, there would be no suffering for the animal for the sole reason being that they are dogs. So much enforcement would come from the government and humane societies just to keep the dog, because of our relation to them, safe during its life and humanely killed when the time came. Perhaps then, other livestock would be treated in the same way and there would be more regulation to factory farm methods. The closing to this article goes back to why people refuse rationality.

Although Foer’s argument successfully advocates the reasons for eating dog, he realizes that converting a nation of canine lovers is unlikely. Because “food is culture, habit, craving and identity,” most people will not spring back from their instincts to make the world’s hunger more sustainable or deplete the cruelty of farm factories. “Let Them Eat Dog” is not only a well-written suggestion to our diets, but a social commentary on the psychology of culture. Foer is successful in his argument, and if given the chance, this reader would try stewed dog, wedding style.

Works Cited Foer, Jonathan. “Let Them Eat Dog. ” Wall Street Journal. 31 October 2009. Print.

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