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a bit ruff


this pooch is a pet, cameroonThe consumption of dog meat is usually associated with East Asia (remember the 2002 World Cup in South Korea?); however it has also occured in Africa. In much of Africa, dogs are neither eaten, nor kept as pets. However, dogs are kept for the assistance they lend in hunting: witness the famous Congolese Basenji breed, also called the Congo Dog. As in the case of cat and other carnivores, it doesn't make sense economically to raise dogs for slaughter and human consumption. When dog meat is consumed it is likely to come from stray or feral dogs. Also, in some places where dog meat may not be a regular part of people's diet, it may be eaten during the desparation of famine (as was famously the case in Paris in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War).

Richard Francis Burton

A stunted Pariah dog

In Zanzibar; City, Island, and Coast (London: Tinsley Brothers, 18, Catherine St. Strand; 1872), the 19th century explorer and translator Richard Francis Burton documents the consumption of dog meat in continental Africa and wonders what reason Europeans have to be prejudiced against the practice:

A stunted Pariah dog is found upon the Island and the Continent: here, as in Western Africa, it is held, when fattened, to be a dish suitable for a (Negro) king. Some missionaries have tasted puppy stew -- perhaps puppy pie -- and have pronounced the flesh to be sweet, glutinous, and palatable. The horse is now a recoginzed article of consumption in Europe; the cat has long served its turn as civet de lapin, without the honours of publicity; and the day may come when 'dog-meat' will appear regularly in the market. I have often marvelled at the prejudices and squeamishness of those races who will eat the uncleanest things, such as pigs, ducks, and fowls, to which they are accustomed and yet who feel disgust at the idea of touching the purest feeders, simply because the food is new.
(Chapter 5 Geographical and Physiological: Section 4: Notes on the Fauna of Zanzibar)

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