Stray dogs are dangerous for anyone walking on the street (rabies). Better to reduce the stray population by legalizing the dog meat trade?
Today's article is a letter to the editor in the Bangkok Post's daily "Post bag" section. The letter was written in response to a recent news article "Rise of the dog snatchers".
The author proposes that shipping dogs to Vietnam for use as meat is not as bad as it sounds and may even be a solution to the problem of dangerous stray dogs on city streets and the streets of most villages. As another reader summarised the situation in many a village:
"Without proper control, the stray dog population has multiplied and village streets are populated with ugly and diseased animals. Many of these undernourished dogs run in packs and are a danger to anyone walking or jogging on the streets and roads in their community. Since the dogs will eventually die of disease or be run over in the street, doesn't it make more sense to cull the stray population by providing food to those who want and need it?" (Source: Post Bag)
It is worth keeping in mind that any dog bite requires an immediate series of shots which if neglected can result in a sure and painful death. As a paper published in 2005 observes:
"In Thailand, rabies remains a neglected disease with authorities continuing to rely on human death statistics while ignoring the financial burden resulting from an enormous increase in post-exposure prophylaxis. Past attempts to conduct a mass dog vaccination and sterilization program have been limited to Bangkok city and have not been successful" (Source ; also read a 2001 Masters Thesis on the Epidemiology of Rabies in Thailand)
Photo above of Korean Gaegogi Muchim casserole made from dog meat. So-called Bosintang (invigorating soup) is believed to be of medicinal value, particularly as related to virility. Similar beliefs exist among the Chinese and the Akha hilltribe of Chiang Rai.
Click button to listen to Paws for Reflection to download
Paws for reflection (Letter to the editor from David Brown, Rayong)
It is time a bit of rational thinking and a little less raw emotion was introduced into the subject of Thailand's dog trade. Sunday's paper carried only the latest of several reports, including a Bangkok Post editorial, seemingly condemning the trade, export and eating of dogs.
Yes, dogs are man's best friend, but let's keep this cliche in perspective.
The fact is that Thailand is plagued by ownerless street dogs. If these so-called ''dog snatchers'' are rounding them up and shipping them off to Vietnam they can hardly be accused of ''stealing'' something when it has no ownership. In fact they are doing a double favour. They are helping clean up our streets of these often diseased and sometimes aggressive dogs and at the other end they are providing a square meal of doggie burgers, dog satays, or other doggie delicacies for those who have a taste for dog meat. I see nothing ethically wrong with eating dog meat.
Our concern should not be that this trade exists, but that it is carried out in a proper way, namely the dogs are rounded up and transported in a humane manner and are humanely butchered before being served up. With checks, of course, that owned pet dogs are not being taken. But then again what are pet dogs doing roaming the streets.
It is interesting to note in Sunday's story that almost 1,000 of the dogs seized from dog traders in Sakon Nakhon and impounded by the authorities, have subsequently died from malnutrition or disease. It would have been better had they ended up on a Vietnamese dinner table. At least that would have served a purpose.
And yes, I am a dog lover. I have owned dogs since I was a child and currently have two golden retrievers. They are correctly fed, washed and groomed, and contained behind the garden gates until it is time for their daily supervised exercise. And when they are sick I take them to the vet. I do not dump them at the local wat.
But legalising the dog trade is the best way to control it and ensure it maintains proper and ethical standards.
(Source: Bangkok Post, Post Bag letters to the editor, Paws for reflection, reader; DAVID BROWN, Rayong, link)
stray dogs - 1. a dog without an owner living on the streets; 2. any dog that is not kept in a contained place, such as behind the gates of its owner's home, so-called "village dogs" might be owned by the whole village also called "free-ranging dogs" (See Wikipedia)
street dogs - same as "stray dogs"
roaming - walking around without a purpose
roaming the streets - walking around on the streets without a purpose or destination (living on the streets)
rabies - a viral disease that causes acute inflammation of the brain, transmitted from animals to humans through a bite, sure death will follow if a series of rabies shots are not given on time, most commonly by a bite from an infected animal. For a human, rabies is almost invariably fatal if post-exposure prophylaxis is not administered prior to the onset of severe symptoms. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. "Early-stage symptoms of rabies are malaise, headache and fever, progressing to acute pain, violent movements, uncontrolled excitement, depression, and hydrophobia. Finally, the patient may experience periods of mania and lethargy, eventually leading to coma. The primary cause of death is usually respiratory insufficiency. Worldwide, roughly 97% of rabies cases come from dog bites." (See Wikipedia)
worth keeping in mind - something valuable to remember
neglected - not doing something that you should do
financial burden - when you must pay a lot of money (which is difficult)
post-exposure prophylaxis - getting rabies shots after you are bitten by a dog (while walking on the street, for example)
virility (noun) - when a man is strong and great sexual power
eating of dogs - when people eat dog meat as they would pig meat (pork), cow meat (beef) or chicken; this is very common in Korea and also among the hilltribes and and other ethnic minorities of Northern Thailand; in fact it is relatively easy to buy dog meat in Northern Thailand and no one seems to care much and one can even see trucks full of dogs for-sale for eating purposes driving around the hills of Chiang Rai, 30 baht per kilo last time I checked (See Wikipedia
and dog meat consumption in Korea)
paws - the hands and feet of dogs (See Wikipedia)
reflection - think more deeply about something
pause for reflection - stop the activity you are doing for a moment, and think more deeply about something
paws for reflection - a funny play on words, "paws" has same sound as "pause" which means to "stop for a moment"
letter to the editor (LET, LTTE) - a letter written to a newspaper commenting about an article published in the newspaper recently (See Wikipedia)
humanely - in a kind, caring way อย่างมีมนุษยธรรม
in a humane manner - same as "humanely"
butcher - kill the animal and cut it into pieces so it can be sold for meat
humanely butchered - killed in way that isn't cruel, so it does not suffer ("animal euthanasia" often applies to "stray dogs" who are killed humanely)
animal euthanasia - the act of putting an animal to death painlessly or allowing an animal to die; one reason for euthanasia is "lack of homes - many shelters receive considerably more surrendered animals than they are capable of re-housing" (See Wikipedia)
rational - based on thinking (logic, thought, reason) rather than pure emotion
raw - materials in their natural state before being processed or used in manufacturing
emotion - a feeling such as anger or love อารมณ์
raw emotion - feelings without logic or thinking
editorial - an article in a newspaper that gives the opinion of the author or newspaper
condemning - criticising strongly; saying publicly that you think someone or something is bad or wrong สาปแช่ง กร่นด่า
trade - the buying and selling of goods การค้าขาย
dog trade - the buying and selling of dogs for a profit (for use as meat)
dogs are man's best friend - a phrase in use for over 100 years, that captures the essence of dog-human relationships (See Wikipedia)
cliche - a phrase or expression that has grown meaningless from overuse (no longer interesting or effective) (See Wikipedia)
perspective - a way of thinking about something; opinion, view on an issue มุมมอง ทัศนะ
keep in perspective - don't think that it is the only truth or only important thing
keep this cliche in perspective - this cliche is only partially true (stray and sick dogs are routinely euthanized, standards for humane treatment of dogs are not the same as humane treatment of humans)
plagued - caused a lot of problems for someone or something for a long period of time ทำให้ยุ่งยาก ลำบากมานาน
plagued by ownerless street dogs - dogs without owners living on the streets cause a lot of problems
snatch - take or grab quickly and secretly
dog snatchers - people who steal dogs by taking them quickly
rounding them up - gathering or collecting them all into one place
shipping - the transport or sending of goods from one place to another place
shipping them off - sending goods to a place
double - to become twice as big, twice as much or twice as many เพิ่มเป็นสองเท่า
favour - something you do for someone in order to help them สิ่งที่ทำให้เป็นพิเศษด้วยความชื่นชม
aggressive - when an animal behaves in way that looks like they are going to attack (with anger and deterination)
a square meal - a full meal with everything you need (breakfast, dinner, lunch)
delicacies - special rare food
ethically wrong - morally wrong, violating religious beliefs about the right way to act; the right thing to do
concern - a worry ความกังวล
proper - right, correct
manner - way วิธีการ
carried out in a proper way - done in the correct way
rounded up - gathered together, collected together
dog traders - people who buy and sell dogs as a business (dogs to be butchered for meat)
dogs seized from dog traders - dogs taken away from dog traders
impounded - taken away by the police ยึดไว้เป็นของกลาง
impounded by the authorities - take away by the police (dogs used to be kept in a "pound)
malnutrition - not eating enough food (or the right kind of food to maintain health) (See Wikipedia)
subsequently died from malnutrition - after that died from not getting enough food
ended up on a Vietnamese dinner table - in the end was killed, cooked and eaten in Vietnam
served a purpose - be useful มีประโยชน์
authorities - government officials; the police or people in official organisations who have the legal power to make people obey laws or rules เจ้าหน้าที่ (ตำรวจ หรือผู้มีอำนาจ)
groomed - same as "dog grooming"
dog grooming - the cleaning of a dog, the cutting and combing of its hair, clipping of its nails, etc (See Wikipedia)
contained - limited and controlled ได้รับการดูแลและควบคุม
contained behind the garden gates
supervised - overseen; watched over to ensure that things are done correctly อยู่ในการควบคุมดูแล
daily supervised exercise - walking the dog, when the owner takes the dog on a leash for a walk, run and play outside the home (along the sidewalk, in the park)
vet - veterinarian, an animal doctor (See Wikipedia)
dump - abandon, just drop or leave at a place (and never come back)
local - in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
wat - a Thai Buddhist temple (See Wikipedia)
dump them at the local wat - commonly done when a person no longer wants to take care of the dog anymore (perhaps for health reasons)
legalising the dog trade - making the buying and selling of dog for meat legal
ensure - to make certain that something happens or is done รับรอง ให้ความมั่นใจ ให้การยืนยัน
ethical - morally acceptable, right action
standards - a rule for behaving which should be obeyed มาตรฐาน, บรรทัดฐาน, กฎเกณฑ์, กรอบ
ensure it maintains proper and ethical standards