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'Eating dog's meat' is a bad thing?
김윤희 기자 | 승인2009.12.10 18:33

As you know, Korea has been blamed by other countries because Koreans eat dog meat in dishes like dog meat soup. Maybe the most famous case was when Brigitte Bardot spoke out against the practice. In 2002 Brigitte Bardot, who is a very famous French actress, said that Koreans who eat dogs are savages. She is opposed to eating dogs, but contrastively she is a lover of pelt products such as mink coats.

Anyway, because of this many Koreans argue over whether they agree or disagree with the practice of eating dogs. First of all I think people must know about the historical background of the custom. Why couldn’t earlier generations of Koreans stop eating dog meat?

Originally Korea didn’t have enough food and resources. It fact, it lacked nearly everything. So people were usually hungry during the most difficult time of the year 'Bo-ri Go-gae'. During this time of year people ate grass roots or the bark of a tree because they were really hungry and suffered from lack of nutrition. During those hard times, dog meat was the best food. People were able to get much needed nutrition by eating dog meat soup.

Of course pigs and cows were raised in Korea, too. But they were of smaller numbers so only available to special classes like the rich nobility. In this situation, common people didn’t see any reason not to eat dog meat. And as time passed, eating dog meat became part of Korea's food culture.

When the Olympics were held in Korea in 1988, Brigitte Bardot wrote a letter to Present Tae-Woo Roh saying, 'Please don't eat dog meat'. When President Young-Sam Kim visited France in March, 1995 , she asked him to 'Please stop selling dog meat.' Finally in 2002 she took a pop at Koreans who eat dog meat by saying that, 'People who eat dog meat soup are savages.' Because of this, dog meat soup restaurants sell their product on side streets. Also, supporters who eat dog meat are blamed so much because, from many foreigners' points of view, eating dog is not a good behavior.

Of course the image of the nation is important, but explaining the background of why we have a culture of eating dog meat is important, too. Why do many people hide this culture and feel shame for eating dog meat? Koreans eat dog meat but other countries eat a variety of things. For example, the French eat horse meat and monkey brain. Furthermore, these so called delicacies are foods of the elite in France. From a typical Korean's point of view, these dishes are more cruel and savage than eating dog meat.

What is the point of this article? Well, people shouldn’t disparage an entire culture for one aspect that they disagree with. Neither should they judge a culture from the outside. Only after developing an understanding of a culture and researching its background can anyone be in a position to offer criticism.

Lastly, please don't think of eating dog meat as only an act of barbarism, think of it as one aspect of Korean culture.


김윤희 기자  rlaaa@naver.com
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