nihonmnom recently posted about eating whale. Not incidentally eating whale that was served at school, actually going out looking for some whale. I don’t know Daniel personally, but I’ve been really enjoying following the experiences of another Australian, especially since he is “fresh off the boat” and still so happy and excited about everything. His post didn’t bother me. Then I wondered if I ought to have been bothered. Because actually, another ALT in my prefecture recently posted on facebook about eating dog in Korea. That bothered me. That bothered me so much that I completely changed my opinion of the person in question. Is this hypocritical? I’ve been thinking about it a lot, because I dislike hypocrisy intensely. I can rationalise it out to the following breakdown:
- There is no supply-demand relationship for whale. The industry is entirely artificially, and is not going to shut down if private sales stop. So Daniel’s purchase of whale does not contribute to future whales being hunted. Adam’s purchase of dog does perpetuate that industry.
- Whales are hunted from the wild. They have horrific deaths, but the rest of their lives are unaffected by the industry. Dogs, on the other hand, are breed for food and therefore suffer from birth to death.
- I don’t know Daniel personally, so I don’t have the same compulsion to react. Adam is someone I interact with in real life, which means that our relationship is quite different.
I wonder though if I am simply justifying my reaction after the fact? Deep down I think the real issue for me is that dogs have been breed selectively into the animal they are today specifically to be empathic with humans. Dogs are one of the only animals that can understand pointing, for example. They have been “created” specifically to attach themselves to humans, to love us, to understand us. When you bring a puppy into your home you become his entire world. To take that and turn it into abuse and death hits me so much more than hunting a wild animal. It’s not ultimately about the animal; it’s about the psychology of the humans involved. If you look at a dog and think “food”, I feel that the most important part of your mind is damaged. If you don’t empathise with a dog, you are inhuman. That’s how I feel. I don’t think killing whales is OK. I don’t think any unnecessary killing of anything is particularly OK. I do think that people who eat pork but oppose whaling have their heads up their own rectums. But I happily spend most of my time surrounded by meat eating friends without complaint, so perhaps my inability to forgive Adam for eating dog is just as hypocritical as bacon-loving whale-warrior-watching.
Your comments on my hypocrisy are welcome and invited: How do you feel about eating one animal versus another?