Monday, October 7, 2013

Man's Best Friend

The American Conservative's Jonathan Coppage with a reminder that "there is a rich and reasonable middle ground between claiming that dogs have emotions identical to humans and considering them fit for the table" — Are Dogs People, Food, or Friends? Quoting one B.D. McClay:
    Dogs and human beings have a particular relationship, one distinctive among domestic animals: even when we work together, we work alongside. The man working with a dog in the field trusts the animal’s independent judgment. Whether that dog is herding sheep, hunting other animals, or sniffing for bombs, we place our trust in the dog’s intelligence and loyalty. We therefore accord them a respect and a place we do not grant to the other animals.

    That respect isn’t irrational, because it is founded in the uniqueness of the relationship. You could say the relationship itself could have been formed just as easily with some other animal—pigs, for instance. That might be true, but it’s irrelevant. Denying the existence of the relationship would be the irrational thing to do here. The relationship is a fact, and like all relationships, it comes with duties and privileges. So don’t eat dogs.
Agreed, even after having lived in Asia for fifteen years. Sannakji I ate. Whale meat I ate. Dog meat I did not. Still, I do not condemn it. By whatever accident of history, in the East, Man never developed the relationship with Dog that Mr. McClay describes, to both's misfortune.

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