The hope that consumption of Bali Dog as a protein alternative, to let’s say chicken, pig, duck or fish, would cease overnight on the back of Government say so, was always going to be unlikely. Unfortunately for those who consider the practice of eating dog to be abhorrent, no other time than yesterday is acceptable. A complete unmitigated non-negotiable state of cease and desist is how it must be.
A cease and desist order will be the only legally binding and enforceable way. But unfortunately the law, historically and universally, is a very well proven ass indeed. Directing someone in an industry that obviously has a market demand, to stop engaging in such an activity, can only happen with legally serious levels of power. That hasn’t happened as of yet and the jury is still very much out and absent. In regards to if such a judgement will ever happen or not, hope springs eternal in the minds of optimists.
So where does emotion and pragmatism sit on the dog eating dirt track. It certainly stirs the gastric juices of those in the emotional camp; those who see a fur covered sentient being as no different to a hair covered one. In fact, many on that side give much more credence of rights and favour to our four legged friends, over our two legged relatives. To those who connect with canines the very thought of them being consumed like some cheap source of sustenance is beyond criminal, its complete and moral madness. It’s a heinous crime, punishable upon those in the trade serving a sentence by being slowly beaten, while forcibly ‘encouraged’ into consuming bits of their own flayed flesh. It’s a level of distain that verges on fundamentalist rage and fury. It’s a very stand-alone fervour and distinctly very separate from other animal welfare issues. Their voices are loud and in their opinion their way is the only right way.
At the other end of the track the unemotional pragmatists set up camp. It’s an animal that can be eaten like any other animal. There are humans who demand it for food and they have a preference for dog meat as an alternative or option to other animal based protein options. It’s a business that brings in money that provides a quality of life versus none or very little chance of human survival. It’s not at all personal, it’s a job like any number of jobs and it’s simply a means to an end. The need to feed and provide a family with security in a non-welfare state reality, far outweighs the welfare and security of canine sentience.
But then unfortunately there’s the method of dog meat preparation. Live capturing beating binding skinning boiling, unarguably torturing, is beyond any leeway that could ever possibly be afforded those involved in the trade.
Bali Dog welfare has a slippery history of warfare, a lot of it involving foreigners berating Balinese for their perceived and proven cruelty. The subject of dog consumption is certainly not a divider of cultural difference. The majority of Bali people are also reviled by the thought of and actual reality of their dog being consumed as a relatively cheap and common source of food.
Politicians are actually people; admittedly they appear to be generally unique to their trade and not seen as readily given to emotion and compassion when it comes to animal rights and welfare. Force from outside sources can only do so much when brought to bear on or against an internal sovereign political system. Diplomatic sensitivity cannot be overstated when it comes to internal cultural context, even if those cultural norms do not sit easily with the cultural anomaly of dog meat consumption, yet still appear to politically condone it.
The foreign movement must now shift to a local position of support, encourage, educate, protect, promote, preserve. From a theory where Bali people work toward their future version of reality, taking the best of foreign learning, adapting their historical cultural norms and shaping what they want for their dog from the democratic Bali style demands they place on their politicians.
Only then, emotionally and pragmatically, will the eating of Bali Dog meat be beat.