When you think about backward, uneducated nations South Korea is not on the list. And yet the traditional medicinal diet encourages Koreans to eat dog meat for good health. Now the animal rights groups around the world are trying to fight that custom:
‘Known as ‘Bok-Nal’, the dog eating days, it is a ritual celebrated by South Koreans where dog meat is eaten to increase stamina during the hottest days of the year.
To coincide with the tradition, animal rights activists staged protests around the world today, packing into wired cages in various locations including in front of the South Korean embassies in Seoul, London and America.’
As much as I support these efforts, I suspect this is exactly the wrong way to go about it. The fact is, you don’t succeed at changing old customs by throwing them into the person’s face. The South Koreans might legitimately feel that we the Westerners are in no way qualified to tell them how to live their lives. Sometimes this kind of cultural imperialism can create a backlash with the unfortunate dogs suffering as a result.
So how do you change this age old custom? The same way we the Westerners changed: by popularising the care and affection dogs can give to people. We all know how much more lasting positive feeling and emotions can be. That’s the kind of emotions about dogs we want to foster in our Asian friends.
South Koreans are intelligent people. Trying to shame them into compliance will not work. Instead of pushing back, let’s work with the to achieve this positive change!