In the article ‘Let Them Eat Dog: A Modest Proposal for Tossing Fido in the Oven,’ Jonathan Foer discusses the reasons why eating dog meat is perceived as a taboo but also offers logical reasons why dog meat is as good as any other animal meat. However, even though Foer can be perceived, at face value, as trying to convince people that dog meat is no different than the meat we get from other animals; it is clear when reading through the article that the author’s real intention is to have the readers rethink their animal eating habits. In particular, Foer wants us to think about how we determine which animals to eat and the cruel manner in which these animals are slaughtered inside slaughterhouses and factory farms (w.10). In this case, the point that Foer is trying to make is that most people are hypocrites because they overlook the suffering caused to the animals they are fond of eating yet they get overprotective about the same treatment being meted out on dogs.
After reading the article, I feel like a hypocrite because I usually enjoy my meal of chicken or pig meat without being especially bothered by how these animals were slaughtered. For example, I cannot help but shudder when I read about how, in some cultures where dogs are a delicacy, they are killed by being boiled alive, hanged, or beaten to death as a means of retaining their flavor. To even think some of the animals whose meat I find so delicious were killed in such an inhumane manner almost makes me want to become a vegetarian.
The article is written brilliantly, especially because it uses vivid descriptions to get the readers to understand the content and context. For example, when Foer gives a recipe for cooking ‘stewed dog, wedding style’ in which he takes the reader through each of the steps involved in the process of killing, skinning, dicing, marinating, and cooking a dog (w.10). The narrative is so clear that I can almost smell the dog fur being burnt over the hot fire, even though the idea is utterly nauseating. I also admire the fact that most of the content in the article is highly credible, thus making Foer’s arguments highly rational. For instance, Foer writes about the millions of dogs that are euthanized each year and how these dogs end up providing nutrition to the very plants we love to eat (w.10). Such an argument makes me feel like I have eaten many dogs even though I have no idea how dog meat tastes like.
The issues discussed by Foer are very personal to me as a dog lover whose first reaction when I see a stray dog is to find out if they are hurt and look for the nearest shelter. It is, therefore, seems unfathomable that I would eat dog meat under whatever circumstances. However, Foer makes a compelling argument about how dog meat can help feed the increasing population and makes me wonder whether I would be tempted to eat a dog in the face of starvation. Nonetheless, even though I have no idea how starvation feels like, I am convinced that I would die of starvation alongside the dog. In my opinion, such a resilient standpoint is what Foer refers to when he writes that food is not rational and decisions on what we eat are based more on instinct rather than logic, in which case instinct is more important.
Foer, Jonathan. Let Them Eat Dog: A Modest Proposal for Tossing Fido in the Oven. The Wall Street Journal [New York], 9 Nov. 2009, P.W10.