Thursday, 20 August 2009

NOT PJ: Done Like a Dog Dinner

Bernard Darnton delivers this week’s dispatch from the war on terriers.

_BernardDarnton In a week where it was confirmed that the sentence for killing a family member is 150 hours community service as long as you’re particularly bewildered, the biggest story in the news was that journalistic cliché “Man bites dog.”

Or rather man barbeques and eats dog. Auckland man Paea Taufa had a pet Staffordshire Terrier that was becoming a nuisance. He hit it on the head with a hammer then slit its throat, roasted it in the umu, and had it for dinner. Which led to the number one question on everyone’s mind: Should barbequing a dog as part of a good Tongan cook-up be a criminal offence in New Zealand?

All sorts of people were predictably horrified. “Animal lovers” were “appalled” and demanded a law change.

Auckland Mayor John Banks suggests that the dog roaster should be “educated” rather than prosecuted. Which is very generous of him, given that what Mr Taufa did isn’t illegal. “Educating” (i.e. incessantly nagging) people is second only to banning things in the nanny statist’s arsenal of illiberalism.

But why is a eating a dog different from eating a pig? My pasta alla carbonara last night had sliced up bits of dead pig in it. Muslims, Jews, and vegetarians might find that distasteful but it doesn’t generate outrage. Pasta allo cane, however, and it would have been a different story.

But why? Some would claim that it’s OK to eat dumb animals but that we shouldn’t consume the smart ones. Presumably this is why we’ve built a nation on notoriously dumb sheep carcasses but no-one outside the Congo would consider chowing down on a chimpanzee.

A pig is an intelligent, inquisitive animal that has the misfortune to taste great. The only thing better than bacon is bacon-wrapped bacon. Dogs, on the other hand, are a bit dim. (People say “loyal,” but there’s a fine line between loyal and dim.) By this measure we should be munching on mastiffs and letting Piglet curl up in front of the fire.

Perhaps, then, the opposite is true. Dogs are safe pets because they’re less of a threat. If Farmer Jones had turned Napoleon and Snowball into crackling he’d still be running Manor Farm.

Is it a general prohibition on eating pets? A couple of weeks ago on Gordon Ramsey’s Cookalong (a show known at our place as The ‘C’ Word), guest-irritant Johnny Vegas regaled his audience with a rant about his father cooking his pet rabbit. The intention was comedy, not tragedy.

Our countryside is full of small children bottle-feeding pet lambs until the day the stock truck arrives and they’re turned into little ovine treasure troves. The eating of pets per se doesn’t generate much upset.

The problem isn’t genetic distance because humans are more closely related to rabbits than we are to dogs. Dogs aren’t endangered, which seems to be the problem with whale meat. Mr Taufa’s dog was a Staffordshire terrier so cuteness isn’t a factor.

There’s something special about dog meat. It’s there to a lesser extent with horse meat too and it’s not quite rational. If it’s OK to eat sheep, deer, pigs, and rabbits I can’t see any good reason that it’s not OK to eat cats, dogs, and horses.

Vegetarianism makes sense. Broad carnivorism makes sense. Reacting with horror and anger at the consumption of a dog while digesting a ground up cow is absurd.

* * Read Bernard Darnton’s column every Thursday here at NOT PC * *


  1. I was going to mention horse meat. A smoked horse meat sandwich was a very common occurrence in my school lunch box in the Netherlands.

    Should I be educated too?

    But who cares, an animal is not a human and therefore doesn't have the same rights. Up to a point you could make an argument for preservation of WILD animals but that dog was owned by the guy that decided to eat it.

    Now, eating humans, that is doggie

  2. Mr Darnton: I concur with you regarding smart arse pigs, I did wonder why it took 3 pig dogs and a 303 to get one pig, which can take fucking hours (of good fun). At the time I wondered why not just shoot and eat the dogs, and take the pig for a walk. The dogs walk right up to you begging to be shot; the pigs on the other hand seem to have a degree in escape and evasion. I dunno what all the fuss is about with this guy eating 'snoopy', the argument against collapses after the first sentence. However, eating pumpkin should definitely be illegal.

  3. I had a really nice horsemeat and beer stew in Bruges last year. The funniest part was that the café owner told me the horse meat was from New Zealand. It paired beautifully with a De Dolle beer.

  4. Just out of interest - and not that I disagree with anything you say, 'cuz I don't - but - where do you stand on cannibalism?

  5. Vet, assuming it is a question for all: I've never stood on one that I can recall. However, if someone agrees to be eaten, then fine. If my plane had crashed in the Chilean mountains - as the story goes - and I was hungry and the intended dinner was dead then I'm in I suspect - I'm not sure a "do not eat me" sign pinned to his/her sleeve would stop me either. Also, I understand the early Maori - pre 1977 - were disinclined to eat white folk as they were stringyer than the Maori alternative; true story.

  6. Agree with Russell W above. As long as no rights are violated, I have no problem with it in theory.

  7. Hi Dinth & Greig: Just a polite note to advise that I won't be coming to your places for tea, ok? Nothing personal, mind. :)

    And RW, you're not coming to mine. I love pumpkin -- and lots of it. :)

  8. i quite like eating vaginas. You know, mussells. My wife calls them vaginas, but what does she know? We seem happy to eat things that sift fish wee and shit through their inards.

    Chameleon restuarant used to serve Chameleon soup. This used to startle Americans, until it was explained to them.

  9. I was waiting for someone to ask whether beavers should be an exception...

  10. twr: Are talking californian or brazilian beaver?................. Ok this is too much now

  11. If eating dogs caught on, it would no-doubt decimate the upper echelons of the Labour party, so it might not be such a bad thing after all.

  12. Horse meat is good BBQ'ed.

  13. Dear Sus,

    You will miss out on Dutch Frikandel which is a deep fried sausage made of minced horse organs mixed with breadcrumbs and spices.

    Great on a bun with finely chopped onion, mayonnaise and a sweet curry sauce.

    As for dog meat. I am willing to try it.

  14. Sus - guess I won't be able to persuade you to wear a bit of celery behind your ear then? Ah well...

  15. I have eaten hippo, warthog, snake, elephant, and buffalo. No dog. Yet.

  16. My son has just gleefully reminded me I have eaten in some unsavoury restaurants...

  17. I've been to Vietnam, but not knowingly eaten dog. By the time I'd given it thought, we had travelled south and it is a nortern, err, delicacy.

    Frogs, snails (at least once on each visit to france), duck, croc, kangaroo, deer.

  18. I had my dog in Vietnam, along with various other things that allegedly "make you strong man".

    I was a bit pissed off to get back here and see people on TV programmes like Fear Factor winning big prizes to consume things that I'd paid to eat.

  19. I would be more impressed if our Tongan bloke had decided to eat his dog sashimi style. But I digress.

    Does anyone know of an export broker who can advance the sale of some of my more clueless farm dogs to that island kingdom?


  20. I'll invite PC readers here for a dog umu at an address to be announced. Dog meat is nice and I am serious.

  21. I am happy to eat anything that does not MOVE and is preferably cooked to some degree.

    If it moves - Im out of there

  22. Oh Zeus. Have you guys seen the latest?

    "MAN is the worst parasite, maaaaan".

    So much humanity hating destructive bullshit in one place.


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