In an essay somewhere between satire and poignancy, author Jonathan Safron Foer wonders why we don't eat dog meat.
Despite the fact that it's perfectly legal in 44 states, eating "man's best friend" is as taboo as a man eating his best friend. Even the mostFoer goes on to examine the cultural mores and history surrounding the cooking and eating of canines, in large part to get people to start to discuss the treatment of livestock in relation to their pets. Safron Foer's first work of nonfiction -- Eating Animals -- discusses his move towards vegetarianism in light of the recent adoption of his dog George.
enthusiastic carnivores won't eat dogs.... Our taboo against dog eating says something about dogs and a great deal about us.
While some will understandably see Foer's position as extreme,
his position that "meat matters" in regards to how we raise and process
livestock doesn't seem extreme in a nation of dog and cat lovers.
Could there be a paradigm shift among Americans? Foer talks about being
ambivalent towards meat and divorcing the end product from the animal
that produced it until he became a pet owner. He's hoping to effect
that change in reverse for pet owners across the country by making them
stop and think about their current diets.
His strongest argument is the simplest: that cruelty is unsustainable. And if that switch is ever flipped, the fundraising machine and passion that exists for animal shelters could become a powerful ally for the movement against the industrialized meat industry.
As for what lies ahead, Foer should take heed of The Jungle author Upton Sinclair's words based on his disappointment over the meatpacking legislation that emerged as a result of his muckracking effort.
Said Sinclair: "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident hit it in the stomach."
[Image via Flickr: justallyrye]