By: Frank L. Hoffman
A large percentage of the people in the United States and other Western "First World" countries have companion animals (pets) in their homes. Most of these are dogs and cats. These humans and non-humans form very close attachments to one another, and the death of one usually causes deep mourning in the other. It is doubtful that any of these people would ever consider killing the "pet" they love and cooking it for dinner, as the picture to the left shows taking place in an Asian restaurant. Such a thought would most likely sicken them. Such feelings of compassion are natural. They are part of the way in which God created us.
At the same time we may be having these feelings towards our own companion animals, we may also be chewing away upon the flesh of another, just as lovable an animal, such as a chicken, a pig, or a cow. In our minds, we sanitize what we are doing. We see only "food", or we picture the live animal, and not how it got to our plate. We fail to make the connection, or we simply may not want to make the connection, which is a form of denial and leads to the hardening of our hearts.
In parts of Asia, however, the eating of dog meat is considered a delicacy, for many those people have not emotionally attached themselves to these animals, or because of their belief that torturing and killing of these dogs will bring strength (particularly of a sexual nature) to themselves. This is not a cultural thing; it is sanitized sadism! Allowing this kind of behavior among any people results in the hardening of hearts of a greater society. (For more information on the Asian plight of dogs and what can be done about it, see The Dog - Man's Best Friend? - Not for Everyone!)
If it bothers us to see photos like these, that's good, for it tells us that we have a softness in our heart. If it bothers us only because we're seeing photos of dogs prepared for food, then we've allowed parts of our heart and soul to become insensitive to the billions of other animals that suffer a similar fate every year. We need to come to grips with the fact that there's violence on our plates every time we eat the flesh of another of God's creatures. We need to feel their plight, their pain, and their panic at the time of their death. The more we sanitize these facts, the more we are shooting ourselves in the foot.