America holds its own version of the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. Every. Single. Day.

If you have been to the grocery recently, you may have noticed a significant increase in the price of eggs. This is due to an egg shortage in the United States. A widespread outbreak of bird flu is sweeping across the midwest, mostly detected in large commercial flocks in 15 states. Iowa, the top egg producing state in the US has been the hardest hit. The United states Department of Agriculture and Plant Science Health Inspection Service has so far recorded over 48 million affected birds, all of which have either died from the disease or have been euthanized.

This outbreak of bird flu, considered the worst in US history, will cost much more than the doubled price of a carton of eggs. The Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, has said that government spending to fight the outbreak may climb as high as $500 million (with the private sector spending much more than that).

While the disease spreads like wildfire through the crowded conditions of factory farms, backyard flocks have been left largely unaffected. Corinne Gould, Communications Director for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture was quoted as saying “there aren’t any large-scale commercial egg producers [in Tennessee],” a state that has not yet reported a single case of bird flu.

Consumers are noticing this discrepancy. The Guardian reported that the increased egg prices have, in fact, led to many consumers shying away from factory farmed goods and buying specialty eggs, such as cage-free and organic. The Food Marketing Institute also reported on an increase in consumer concern regarding animal welfare. According to their annual study of US grocery shopper trends:

Among other trends, shopper interest in animal welfare has been consistently growing of late and appears to be picking up momentum. Consumers increasingly indicate an interest in the way animals are treated by companies who make their food and beverage products. And among consumer expectations of retailers, when it comes to attributes beyond those that render personal benefits, shoppers prioritize animal welfare second only to employment practices. Since 2013, the number of consumers who say it is important that their grocery store practice animal welfare has grown from 17% to 21%.

This re-prioritization of values places animal welfare in the top ten “most important retailer attributes” for consumers. This means that “animal welfare must now therefore be considered as a shopper value that retailers need to manage towards, as it rivals and surpasses several environmental-orientated benefits that stores have endeavoured to make visible for its shoppers and communities.”

Retail giant Walmart has been in the news of late for acknowledging this trend in shopper values and adopting a new position on animal welfare. In a statement released last month, Kathleen McLaughlin, President of the Walmart Foundation and the company’s Senior Vice President of Sustainability, said that “Walmart is committed to selling products that sustain people and the environment. We have listened to our customers, and are asking our suppliers to engage in improved reporting standards and transparency measures regarding the treatment of farm animals.”

The flames of the animal welfare debate were further stoked this month with outcry from the West regarding the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in Guangxi, China. A petition hosted on garnered over 4 million supporters, urging the Chinese government to put an end to the event, in which dogs were skinned alive and eaten. They did not.

Factory farmed chickens, via Wikimedia Commons

Factory farmed chickens, via Wikimedia Commons

You’d be hard pressed to find an American or European who denies that the Yulin Festival is a gross practice of animal cruelty. But the moral outrage from westerners highlights an obvious hypocrisy. The Chinese citizens who took part in the Yulin Festival are conditioned by their culture, and so are we. The eating of dog meat, in general, would be frowned upon in most, if not all, western cultures as we view dogs as companions, pets and friends — not as food. However, our culture not only accepts but lionizes the eating of pigs, despite the fact that pigs are arguably just as smart as dogs. Similarly, Hindus in India would no doubt find our affinity for cow meat abhorrent. Independent from culture, it makes very little difference what kind of animal meat one chooses to eat.

Therefore, for the meat-eaters among us, the real outrage regarding the Yulin Festival is not that dogs were eaten. The outrage lies in the fact that the dogs, like our chickens, cows and pigs, were brutally mistreated before being eaten. As comedian Ricky Gervais put it, bluntly:

Americans consume over twice as much as meat per person as the Chinese. And as noted in The Huffington Post, “factory farms raise 99.9 percent of chickens for meat, 97 percent of laying hens, 99 percent of turkeys, 95 percent of pigs, and 78 percent of cattle currently sold in the United States.” It is incredibly likely that every American citizen who eats meat has been complicit in mistreatment of animals on the order of the Yulin Dog Meat Festival.

What’s more, the Yulin Festival only happens once a year. Animals are tortured in US factory farms every single day.

Jason Anson studies English Literature and Creative & Professional Writing at The University of Wolverhampton in Great Britain. He writes on a number of topics, but pays particularly close attention to animal welfare, civil rights, and social justice.

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8 Responses to “America holds its own version of the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. Every. Single. Day.”

  1. Russell Von Aucem says:

    Dear Moron: Complaining about America’s hypocrisy? I’m pretty sure there are fellow Americans who are against the torture of farm animals.
    Feeling butthurt about people’s support against Yulin Dog Festival? Make a petition or sign a petition about the torture of the American farm animals instead of wasting time writing a blog. Are you doing it right now? Because I have sign petitions that involve against the cruelty of farm animals; also including Yulin Dog Festival.
    Come to think of it, you write with a passion when making that blog. Like a fellow activist against the Yulin Dog Festival. You are no better.

    I have seen PETA videos and pics of chickens, cows, and pigs slaughtered in barbaric ways. I am against that. But the way the dogs are mistreated, abused, tortured in the Yulin Dog Festival is just as cruel as what American butchers have done to farm animals.
    If the Yulin Dog Festival can be stopped, then so is the other places in America putting farm animals in abuse and tortures.

    Jason Moron, I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of dogs beaten and tortured before they are killed. What about a pic of a dog tied up, getting burned to death?
    Does an American like you are aware of how dogs are treated in the Yulin Dog Festival? No. As much as you know the cruelties on farm animals, you don’t seem to know how this dog festival works on these dogs.
    The dogs are even tortured and killed right in front of kids in Yulin. Do you want a cynical and uncaring society?
    LOL, Jason the American Moron. And a hypocrite. smh

    Yes, keep crying that the American society is cynical and uncaring. There are Americans who are against the foul treatment on the farm animals.

    And who started all this trouble in trying to take down the Yulin Dog Festival? The Chinese, who cared about the dogs, themselves. Their activities against Yulin and its festival caught media attention from Western Civilizations such as the United States of America, bringing the western media to get involved.
    Chinese Animal Activists VS Chinese Dog Eaters. Are you aware of that? No. You stay as an American Moron. And a hypocrite. smh

    Don’t be so sure that the Chinese government never accepts the petition. It will be accepted.
    If not, then you should know that there are a growing number of people in China against the slaughter of dogs in Yulin. And the Dog Festival will soon die out.
    This will also happen to the brutal slaughter of farm animals in America. It will soon die out.

    Don’t believe me? Better yet….you think I’m a moron and a hypocrite? LOL, aren’t we all.

    Sowwwy about the essay I typed in this comment section. I guess I am as passionate as you. But who cares.
    Call it what you want.
    But this blog is also affected by hypocrisy, written by an idiot named Jason Moron.
    As much as you don’t seem to bother reading my long comment, I don’t care about your hypocrisy blog. Few people read this shit.

  2. uzza says:

    We can be judged by how we treat the least powerful among us. It’s good that we’re changing, but still only 21% of us care about them.

  3. Max Mills says:

    It would be literally physically impossible for PETA to do as much damage to animals as factory farming does

    And your first sentence just shows how ignorant you are of the horrors of factory farming

    Strangely, I have become convinced that deer hunting is the most ethical way to get meat. Deer are overpopulated and a good hunter (assuming here that you are a good shot) can take one down with relatively little pain.

  4. Here Mr Anson I wrote something just about you and your incredibly misleading headline.

  5. yes, yes, yes, just call everyone you disagree with a “Troll” and pat yourself on your back for your wittiness.

    If the story was about the fact that these “Corporate food animal factories” were treating animals poorly then I would be 100% behind it. BUT, this story is nothing more than bashing America and it’s hardly an original idea.

    As I wrote we are not stealing neighbors pets, bashing chickens in the head, or skinning cows alive, so it is just plain moronic to equate America with Yulin.

    In essence this story is basically at it’s core saying, America who in most sates have the death penalty is equal to Nazi Germany who killed millions of jews in their concentration camps.

    While some low intelligent individuals will say “Well they both gas people to death” the fact is, in reality the two situations are completely different and to equate the two means you are just a lazy reporter looking for a better Google rating and a few uneducated, low IQ morons to praise you for your incredibly gifted incite.

  6. 2karmanot says:

    Thanks for your troll concern, but am withholding crocodile tears and outrage for the American corporate torture farms that provide you with your burger, nuggets and biggy fries.

  7. I don’t recall the United States throwing these chickens alive in a pot of oil, or beating them over the head with a hammer, or skinning them alive like they do in Yulin

    Jason Anson STFU maybe concentrate on PETA and how they steal people dogs and KILL over 2000 strays a year

  8. 2karmanot says:

    “The Chinese citizens who took part in the Yulin ( dog eating ) Festival are conditioned by their culture,” thus, are clearly barbarians.

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