Let Them Eat Dog
The analysis is based on the essay by JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER titled “Let Them Eat Dog”. This essay debates a topic that at first glance would seem to have a logical answer of no but the author provides many reasons that may make you wonder why is no the answer. What would your response be to the question should we eat dogs? First from a rational appeal, the author challenges you to remove the emotion or stigma from the act of using a dog for meat. He does a good job at this by questioning why the act of eating a dog is any different from other animals. If we can agree that all animals can feel and have some range of emotion, then what makes a dog a superior species? The author uses the example of other animals by saying, “Pigs are every bit as intelligent and feeling, by any sensible definition of the words.
They can’t hop into the back of a Volvo, but they can fetch, run and play, be mischievous and reciprocate affection. So why don’t they get to curl up by the fire? Why can’t they at least be spared being tossed on the fire?” He goes onto to point out that it is a practice that we don’t eat companions or animals with significant mental abilities but argues that if that is the rule what does it mean to the far extreme, humans. He exhibits this point by stating, “If by “significant mental capacities” we mean what a dog has, then good for the dog. But such a definition would also include the pig, cow and chicken. And it would exclude severely impaired humans.” Based upon rational reasoning, there is a strong argument that dogs should be considered a source of food. From an emotional appeal, I don’t think American’s will ever get to a point that eating man’s best friend would be acceptable. I think one of the author’s most emotional triggering examples was the Stewed Dog, Wedding Style recipe. Although it was straight forward recipe, the directions on how to prepare this feast I am sure made most people cringe. I think most people wouldn’t get past the initial directions of “First, kill a medium-sized dog, then burn off the fur over a hot fire.” I find this interesting because if the same recipe was presented but with a chicken or pig as the product of meat, the feelings it invoked would have been different. For most of us, the vision of our most loyal family member enduring what we would consider a barbaric act of killing and burning its fur off would bring on many sleepless nights. I think the indirect way that Foer appealed to our emotional side was extremely brilliant.
There is no amount of rational information that would overcome the emotional feeling we would have. The final argument style I saw in this essay is directed towards the ethical standard behind the question. It’s interesting that with this topic, it really depends who your audience is. If this question was posed to different cultures across the world the ethical stance would be very different. There are plenty of cultures where eating what we consider domesticated animals is the norm and done with no emotional connection. Foer brings into question the ethical treatment of cows in slaughter houses. He brings into light the reports we have seen about how cruel some of the treatment is towards these animals and reminds us that as a whole we defend the practice of slaughter but we don’t defend the cruelty. So if there was a human way to extract and prepare the meat from dogs, could we then accept it, again, only approving the practice not the cruelty. He also drives from what we consider taboo.
There is no law that states it is illegal to eat dog but based on taboo nature, I’m sure if Fido ended up on your grill the enforcers would be close behind with an animal cruelty charge. In conclusion, it seems that no matter how many rational points there are for a topic, nothing supersedes the emotional and ethical drive we have. I think even is a situation where there is less and less supply of what we need to be nourished, we all would have a hard time reversing everything we know and believe. But what if the dog never became man’s best friend and was just like every other free range animal. An even better question is what is pigs had been replaced for the dog and that was our companion. Would we be asking “Would you eat a pig”. I feel like it’s not the actual animal we have a problem with but it is the emotional attachment that we are exposed to from a young age. So I will leave the question to you. Should we eat dogs.