Why are some animals seen as food, and others are pets? Why do some people eat pigs, and some people eat dogs, while others keep them as pets?
Pigs are said to be as intelligent as dogs. In fact pigs are extremely trainable and some people do keep them as pets.
Dog meat is edible. Many people around the world do eat dog meat. In fact some places breed dogs in the same manner other places breed livestock.
If we were to look at pigs in a more natural setting, we would see they behave in a social structure very similar to dogs. Owners of pet pigs have reported them to be excellent pets, friendly, and as trainable as a dog. There are even stories of pet pigs (such as Lulu*) saving their owners lives. They have been observed to “play” video games, learn some sign language, and learn their own names.
Not all cultures eat pigs, some consider them “unclean”, or cannot eat them due to religious taboos, while others consider pigs tasty, severed up as pork, ham, bacon, and so forth. Some people decline to eat pig meat, for the reasons mentioned earlier, pigs are on par with dogs as far as being intelligent, sensitive, animals.
On the other hand, people have been eating dogs for centuries, probably since early domestication. Very likely the dogs which were not tame and social were used as food, in times of hardship, when other meat could not be found, the domestic dog was an easy source of food. We have to consider that early man probably did not see his dogs as “pets” in the same way we see them now.
As cultures diversified some had the luxury to see dogs as pets, however the pig, being less cute, or furry, somehow did not make the lucky transition from food source to pet in some areas. This is why some cultures see some animals as food, and others as pets.
It is worth noting that in Asia some dogs are kept as pets, while others are seen as food. Those who own dogs as pets would not dream of eating their own dog, but would eat another dog, that has been raised to be food.
Perhaps it is because pigs lack furry coats, sad eyes, and a big wagging tail, that has thrust them onto the dinner plate rather than onto our sofas and into our hearts…
Some reasons for not eating pork, other than the fact that pigs are as intelligent of dogs, and therefore equally deserving of humane treatment, is that they were seen as “dirty” animals, pigs will eat carrion (as will dogs), as well they have cloven hooves, but do not ruminate, leaving them forbidden from the menus of many religions.
Some reasons for not eating dog meat, other than the fact that dogs are sociable pets, is that they eat meat, in contrast most of our meat animals (other than fish, and fowl) are herbivores, making it less risky for us to get diseases from them. We may recall BSE that got its start when sheep were fed to cattle. In countries, such as China, where eating dog meat is more common people have contracted rabies from their meal.
It is more than a little hypocritical of a person who eats one type of meat, to judge a person who eats another type of meat. After all… there are people who eat poop!
*Lulu, a pet pig, saved the life of her owner. When Lulu’s owner suffered a heart attack the pig went outside and sat in of traffic, eventually leading a motorist into the home where her owner lay.
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