Friday, August 5, 2011

Dog meat - a European delicacy

I'm presumably getting a lot of dog lovers visiting the Empoprise-BI business blog today. Perhaps they saw my early morning post on Johnny Carson pretending to eat Alpo. (Well, I assume he was pretending.) Then they saw my post on Camp Bow Wow Wow. Then my tips on getting into the dog-walking business. Finally, they saw my examination of the psychology of animal hoarding.

Well, now that all of the dog owners are all happy and pleased about what I've been writing, it's obviously time for me to put a stop to that.

You see, I'm going to talk about people who eat dogs.

Yes, there are people who eat cows, and there are people who eat pigs, and there are people who eat grapes (I'm sure that offends someone). And in the same way, there are people who eat dogs.

Most of us who don't follow this custom dismiss it and think to ourselves, "Well, that's what those weirdo people in Asia do, and they're not civilized like us American folk."

But the eating of dog meat is not confined to Asia. What if I told you that dog meat is a delicacy in...Switzerland? Robert Koehler translated an article on that practice. Excerpts:

Take a freshly slaughtered dog (mostly puppies), and cure it in salt or herbs for about two weeks. After this, smoke-dry the meat and hang it on the wall. Enjoy as jerky, or if you dislike that, you can also preserve it for a long time by making it into sausages.

This is not some newly created dish from some back-ally dog-meat soup restaurant in Seoul. It is a handed-down recipe for dog meat cuisine from the Swiss mountain town of Appenzell. On the slopes of the Swiss Alps, there exists a long tradition of taking dogs and turning them into preserved foods such as jerky and sausages.

Read the rest of the translation, and Koehler's comments, here. Koehler also chronicled the reaction of other Europeans to this practice:

Some time ago the German RTL TV team reported about the dog eating tradition in St. Gallen and Appenzell, two rural Cantons of Eastern Switzerland. The reactions were shocking. Letters of protest were written from different countries to the regional and federal governments. A petition was signed by 7000 people and handed to the commission of the Cantons. It was rejected and not passed on to the Federal Council. The reason? It would not be the duty of the state to watch over the eating habits of its citizens.

Although I'm sure that if the citizens were eating inferior cheese, the Swiss government would step in immediately.

This originally hit the news in 1996, and by 2011 some were convinced that it was a hoax:

Yep, it's a delicacy only found in Appenzell on April 1st

Regardless of where dogs are eaten, they are clearly eaten in parts of the world, and a Snopes writer questions our abhorrence of the topic:

Would America react with anything but scorn if Hindus around the world presented the U.S. with a petition demanding that we stop the "abhorrent practice" of eating cows and exporting beef?
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