Really, the end of just one weekend of it. Yes, the rumors you have undoubtedly heard by now -- scandalized, I'm sure, at such a heedless desecration of tradition -- are true: after 600 years, Jinhua City's dog-eating festival, slated for 18 October this year, is no more. Say "ciao" to that Chow-Chow roast, bid fond farewell to Pekingese Pekingese.* ...At least at the festival.
There's some evidence that "dog" may be becoming China's cultural equivalent of "Limberger cheese;" 90 percent of the respondents to a web survey on a Chinese site were against food dogs -- and yet they're still said to be not-uncommon at meat markets (and even in space, taikonauts were served up dog. H'mm, so is that why they didn't get an invite to ISS?). Love it or loathe it -- there doesn't appear to be much neutral opinion.
No dog for you? Don't feel too superior. Dog has been on and off menus for thousands of years, all over the world. Unlike sheep, goats, cattle, fowl or swine, they're usually better helpers than entrees, but for most of human history, our pets and working animals have been one hard winter, war or drought away from the stewpot. When things went to the dogs, our ancestors put 'em on the table.
* Supposedly -- and despite appearances -- this very old breed is closer to the wolf than most domestic dogs. Wikipedia also claims, "...made small so that he could go after and destroy little demons that might infest the palace or temple." My family had one when I was a child and while I don't know if he was much for demons, he was pure-dee hell on wheels where mice were concerned. (One even tried to hide under the family cat!) We also had to keep him from trying to herd cattle; he wasn't very successful at it but it annoyed the farmer.
3 months ago