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Eating Dogs Not A Great Idea

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Chris Ford
Chris Ford

The decision by the SPCA to not prosecute Tongan man Paea Taufa is not a good call.

Dogs, as they are say, are a person's best friend. They are domestic animals whose purpose is to befriend and protect their owners within our own culture. It is true that Tongan custom permits the eating of dogs and other domestic animals and Mr Taufa was not aware of this at the time. But he is now.

As I have long blogged, I affirm the right of immigrant New Zealanders (including Pacific Islanders) to freely practise their own culture, language and traditions on our soil. This is a universal human right but even so there are permissible limits. For example, many Muslim New Zealanders abide by our laws against multiple marriage. The same goes for ethnic Koreans and Chinese who do not serve up horsemeat.

While it is legal to humanely kill any animal in New Zealand, especially in order to relieve suffering, it is another thing altogether to kill domestic animals to provide sustenance. While this would be culturally permissible in certain parts of Asia and the Pacific, it isn't here. For one, I couldn't stand the thought of eating my now deceased cat.

Yes, this case is a complex one, especially for a progressive social liberal like me. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to the need to respect universal rights for domestic animals as well and this includes the right for them to be treated with dignity after death. Besides, I am given to understand that some brave animal rights campaigners in Asia and the Pacific are taking on traditional cultural practises surrounding the eating of domestic animals too.

That's why I believe that animals should be treated with dignity and respect by all cultures, particularly those which serve a domestic purpose like cats and dogs. That is why the government should further strengthen our animal welfare laws to prevent the killing of domestic animals like cats, dogs and horses for food. As an ex-farmer's son I am not opposed at all to eating dead cows and sheep but there is a permissible limit within our country as to what can be eaten and this should be respected by all who live here.


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