A Memorial to Boatswain
by Lord Byron
Newstead Abbey, November 30, 1808.
Near this spot
Are deposited the Remains of one
Who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
And all the Virtues of Man without his Vices.
This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
If inscribed over human ashes,
Is but a just tribute to the Memory of
BOATSWAIN, a DOG
Who was born at Newfoundland, May, 1803,
And died at Newstead, Nov 18th, 1808.
The virtues of an animal, as described by Lord Byron, that is beloved throughout
the world for its decency and willingness to help and cooperate with humans
means nothing in Korea. The dog is an animal that would willingly risk its life
to save a human, yet in Korea this good-natured, loyal and companionable being
is considered as nothing more than a bowl of stew with alleged medicinal
properties, in a culture that does not even grasp the spiritual poverty of this
betrayal of man's best friend.
Until now dog meat consumption in Korea has been an underground affair, but
in September 2008 a law will go into effect which classifies dogs as livestock
along with all the accompanying abuses of this industry:
Korean superstition holds that if a dog is agitated ( i.e. viciously abused)
prior to slaughter the potency and flavor of the meat is enhanced. Even if this
were not the case the killing of an animal, who is a functioning member of human
society, to be used as a snake-oil tonic for the feeble and infirm, exhibits a
lack of compassion and empathy so profound that it borders on depravity.
If one probes further, it becomes apparent that this is not the only animal
abuse in Korea which is based on superstition and ignorance. Beneath the surface
of Korea's seemingly modern and technologically advanced facade lies a
primitive, exploitive and cruel view of animals which allows for their sacrifice
in shamanistic rituals intended to bring good fortune to those paying for the
killing. A highly evolved spiritual view appreciates that the lives of all
living beings is sacred and should be respected. Clearly this message has been
perverted in Korea into bartering the life of an animal to obtain good fortune.
Please refer to the following for additional information:
South Korea has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and one
would have hoped that with increased wealth there would also be an increase in
consciousness. This does not seem to be the case, as it seems increased wealth
has resulted in increased abuse of animals in the name of superstition, greed
and suppressed rage taken out on animals.
The following is a depiction of a 'performance art' piece involving the evisceration of a piglet carried out for an audience that cheered wildly as the the poor creature screamed in excruciating pain, The brutalization of those attempting to protest this sadistic display is further evidence of a deep-seeded rage that attempts to preserve and maintain such violence to living beings.
The following is an action alert issued by In Defense of Animals:
"S. Korean Political Protesters Torture and Kill Pig as "Performance"...
WARNING: The following contains graphic descriptions of animal mutilation which some readers may find objectionable and revolting.
Our members know that IDA has long led the fight against the brutal practice of eating dog and cat meat in South Korea.
Unfortunately, this is just one of the abuses taking place in a country that has lax laws regulating the treatment of animals slaughtered for food. Recently, this lack of protection left one young piglet the helpless victim of a revolting public spectacle, as she was bound, stabbed, and gutted while fully conscious for symbolic purposes at a political protest.
Hundreds of demonstrators organized by the Icheon City Committee assembled in front of city hall in opposition to a plan by the Ministry of National Defense to build military bases in the area. To represent the protesters' outrage, self-styled "performance artists" tied a two-month-old piglet by all four limbs and stretched her out in the air on a stage. Men wielding knives then ritualistically sliced the pig's skin and eviscerated her as she screamed and struggled in agony. National and local officials attending the event cheered and applauded, some waving Korean flags. By the end, men pulled like a tug-of-war on the ropes tied to pig's limbs, tearing her body to shreds.
Several days after the protest, two animal protection
organizations -- Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth
(CARE) and Korean Association for Animal Protection
(KAAP) -- held mourning rites for the pig. At the
second vigil, they were attacked by members of the
Icheon City Committee, who hurled insults at mourners
over loudspeakers and destroyed the shrines
they had constructed out of flowers, hanging banners,
and framed photos of the sacrificed pig. One female
animal advocate was severely beaten...."
Psychological studies have established a link between violence to animals and
human on human violence. Therefore it comes as no surprise then, that in a
society which displays such a predilection for violence to animals there will
also be an increased rate of violence to humans as well. Not coincidentally, two
Koreans hold the world's record for number of killing-spree victims in one burst
of rage: One can't help but wonder how much gratuitous violence to humans and
animals these fragile individual were exposed to as children: Woo Bum Kon
carried out the largest known incident of spree killing in modern history. His
victims included 58 dead and 35 wounded. Seung Hui Cho committed mass murder of
32 people and wounded 25 in what has come to be known as the Virginia Tech
An animal who has been nothing but a friend to mankind is himself in
desperate need of a friend in Korea. If you would like to protest the latest
development in Korea which now includes government regulation of dog farms in
the Livestock Act and in essence sanctions dogs as livestock please inform
Korean government officials that you will not tolerate such abuse. You may
address your concerns to:
1. Mayor of Seoul Mr. Oh Se-hoon
Address: Euljiro1, Jung-gu, Seoul, 100-744, Korea
Tel +82 2 735 6060
2. Korean President Mr. Lee Myung-bak
Address: 1 Cheongwadae-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea
Tel: +82 2 730 5800
Ambassador Lee, Tae-Sik
Embassy of the Republic of Korea
2450 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Extreme violence to animals, as a means of dealing with suppressed rage is not an acceptable cultural mechanism for relieving psychological stress. Surely there must be a better way to work out this anger without vicitimizing helpless, innocent animals.
"He that would hang his dog, gives out first that he is mad" a British
Thank you for considering my thoughts.
Cambridge, Ma USA