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KOREANS and DOG MEAT
By Professor Yong-Geun Ann, Ph.D. Doctor Dogmeat
Hyoil Book Publishing Company
I wrote this book for two reasons. One is to make known worldwide the history and tradition in which Koreans have eaten dog meat, the various recipes and the traditional concept of dogs and the other is to eliminate the controversy surrounding the edibility of dog meat. All humans try to improve the environment in which they are placed and enhance the quality of their living, which is the essence of culture. A group or society forms a relatively unique culture thereby outlining its distinctness. But western culture has a strong tendency to dislike the foods of other cultures. It is this prejudice which puts the 'foreign' culture's food in the wrong.
Eating dog meat is Korea's own inherent food culture, which has a long history. Nevertheless, some extremist animal protection groups chastise consumers, threatening them with a campaign to boycott Korean products, even promoting the nonparticipation in the 2002 World Cup. Pros or cons arguments over the edibility of dog meat are rising again since some Koreans who do not like dog meat are voicing their opinions.
The debate over the edibility of dog meat is not worthy of a second thought. The history that Koreans used dog meat as food was originated from such a long time ago long that it cannot be dated back. Koreans have eaten dog meat more than any other. As certain dogs in Korea are raised for domestic consumption, Koreans should not be ashamed due to the misguided views of others.
Giving in to pressure from mostly foreign dissenters, Korea has banned the use of dog meat. In doing so, this has reduced the sovereignty of Korea and what it stands for. That is the revelation of submissive idea under the influence of foreign country to lower ourselves down, having a negative view on dog meat.
The resumption of the controversy over the edibility of dog meat is due to the federal government's tepid attitude. The federal government should allow nationals to slaughter dog and eat it by law, regulating the whole process ranging from breeding to slaughtering, processing, and distribution, and let Koreans eat dog meat without trepidation. Regrettably, the federal government hasn't made any decision on it up to now. It is due to the fact that the government is being pulled in opposing directions with the animal rights activists on oneside and the dog meat consumers on the other.
Another important reason is from the fact that country that exports beef to Korea is eager to block the legality of dog meat according to the newly-revised international trade order following the Uruguay Round. The reason is by banning the consumption of dog meat, Korea's importation of foreign beef with increase by the same amount
Basic problem over the edibility issue is left up to Koreans alone. Though government authorities drive dog meat restaurants into the 'underground', many Koreans still enjoy dog meat. Will it be possible for Koreans not to eat dog meat, and will the criticism and attacks cease if government should take measures to ban dog meat? The attitude of feeling shame by eating dog meat, of humbly lowering ourselves, shifts the cause of the problem and only hinders the solution, spoiling our pride.
The only way of solving the problem is to recognize dog meat as a traditional food and develop it further. In many ways, Korea is historically and culturally among the top in the world, but it lacks not only in a firm pride and belief in a traditional culture,but also in astrong will to make it known worldwide. Now, people around the world show a great enthusiasm to the export of their culture. We should be proud and have a belief of what we have. It is required to make various food using dog meat and gourmets should come to Korea to enjoy dog meat. For this, Korea needs to setup a research institute, invest in research, and also breeders of dogs and dog meat restaurant owners should form an association, insisting on their own claims, with the expansion of their interests. By doing so, we should make known worldwide our unique culinary culture of dog meat.