Sunday, April 9, 2006
Koraegogi (whale meat)
One thing I forgot to mention in my Haeundae post... while down in Pusan at the Japanese eatery we went to last night, one of the items on the menu was koraegogi, whale meat. 20,000 won (about US$20) for I'm not sure how many pieces.
While I am always tempted to try new things for the sake of trying them (thus my horrific encounter with pŏndegi, or silkworm larvae, when I was a teen), social responsibility takes hold in cases like this and I give it a pass.
While I would love to be able to say I've tried the stuff so that I can include my own perceptions as part of an argument one way or the other, I know that consuming it will be creating demand for more whale meat down the road, even if just in small increments. And given how I feel about the unnecessary and cruel killing of God's intelligent creatures, that would be an inappropriate thing to do. "Trying it" creates demand; and the purveyors of whale meat are trying to jump-start demand by getting people to re-acquire this acquired taste.
I feel similarly about dog meat, a matter where The Marmot and I part company. Unless it can be demonstrated to me that the dogs were not treated cruelly during the time fo their death, transport, or being raised, I will not partake in any kaegogi. This point was underscored for me last month while on Expressway 25, between Kwangju (Gwangju) and Ch'ŏnan (Cheonan).
There I saw a typical flat-bed Porter-style small truck, the back filled with cages which were also piled three-high. Each cage was literally stuffed with live dogs, with so little room they could barely move. Many of the more than one hundred dogs had their faces and/or bodies pressed against the metal mesh of the cage they were in.
To make matters worse, these creatures were completely exposed to the elements as they were being whisked along at 120 kph in freezing weather. I only wish I had a working camera nearby so I could have documented this horrific treatment.
This is like the argument against eating veal: if this is what is required to bring the meat of these creatures to the table, then I want no part. And frankly, I think the current consumption of the animals themselves perpetuates such cruelty.
[above photo: The dogs here are in a situation much like I just described, except that there were three tiers of cages, not just two as in this photo. Also, the dogs were a little smaller than these, so most cages appeared to have three dogs in them, not just two.]