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Dog meat not the question in the debate

To eat or not to eat dog meat is not the question. The question is the lack of respect each side gives the other when it comes to the dispute between those who have developed the habit of eating dog meat and those who consider the habit as cruel and inhuman.

The controversy started over a gala featuring dog meat and lichee in Yulin, a city in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Those who love dogs and insist that man should never eat dog meat because dogs are a man's best friend called for a boycott against the gala. They went to the city before the gala on Saturday, which was summer solstice, to stop local people from butchering dogs.

It is understandable that dog lovers feel heartbroken when hearing that dogs are consumed at the dining table. There is no problem with them voicing their opinion that it is cruel to eat dog meat and even asking people to give up the habit.

However, some dog lovers made threatening calls to the owners of restaurants serving dog meat while others went further, even vandalised restaurants and butchers, which is against the law.

There is no law in China that prohibits people from eating dog meat. But whatever dog lovers do in harassing dog meat sellers or butchers constitutes an infringement on the rights and interests of those who are being harassed.

Dog lovers cannot consider themselves as being on the high moral ground simply because of their affection for dogs. While they have the right to express their opposition to the habit of eating dog meat, they do not have the right to disrupt the lives of those who sell or consume dog meat. If what they do violates the law, they should be punished according to law.

People have the freedom to eat what they want unless the law prohibits them from doing so.

However, there is no need for people to provoke others by flaunting their preferences. The butchers who forced dog lovers to buy caged dogs at exorbitant prices by threatening to kill the dogs otherwise simply increase the animosity the dog lovers have toward them.

Tolerance and a rational attitude should be shown by both sides. They can disagree with each other, but they should both learn to respect the rights of the other.


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