Original Link: http://apia.multicultural.ufl.edu/news/article/addressing_the_posters_about_dog_eating_korea

In the past week some students have expressed some concern over posters similar to the one shared here. After reviewing the content in the poster and their website, the Office of Asian Pacific Islander Affairs and the Asian American Student Union believe that there was no malicious intent in the language involved. Moreover, much of this organization’s website focus is not just on the consumption of these animals, but also the horrendous conditions they are placed in. While Koreandog.org is within their right to express their views on this issue, we believe it is important to give further context to this conversation to promote a greater level of understanding the issues involved.

It is important to first address the most obvious part of this ad concerning the consumption of dogs and cats. Outside of the US the consumption of dogs and cats is a common practice (not just in Asia). This can be linked to a variety of factors that include environment, availability of resources, culture, poverty, etc. While we in the US may not look favorably on this practice, we must also recognize that other societies don’t always have the same practices and values as we do, including the decisions regarding what to eat.

People have differing opinions on a variety of practices here in the United States. We can clearly see examples of these differences in how Hindus don’t eat cow, Muslims don’t consume pork, or how Vegans don’t consume meat at all (to name a few). The philosophies and ideologies behind these practices are complex and unique to the people who adhere to them.

Secondly, there is the issue of animal abuse. The website addresses the treatment of these animals. All across the world (including the United States) animals are subject to brutal treatment. We also believe more humane practices should be used when handling animals.

Lastly, we know that this has been a sensitive subject for APIAs here. Dog eater remarks have been used to vilify and ridicule the APIA community throughout US history. We were again reminded of it last year, when the “Eat Dog” flyers were seen on campus. While we acknowledge that these practices do exist in our native lands, it can be confusing to have these conversations when we too have grown up with the values and views of being American. In some ways we can be torn between perspectives.

The important part is to continue to engage in conversations like this. We must continue to further educate each other about the differences in our communities while acknowledging that people may not always agree. Opportunities such as these help provide greater context in conversations that help promote deeper understanding and empathy to one another.

APIA, KUSA, and AASU acknowledge that this only touches the surface of this subject and its complexities. We appreciate the students who wanted to address this topic and we encourage further discourse on the matter. We implore both the APIA community and non-APIA communities to continue this conversation. Feel free to reach out to us if you have more questions and concerns.

Sincerely,

Alexander Cena
Director of the Office of Asian Pacific Islander American Affairs

Stephanie Wong
President of the Asian American Student Union

Kaitlin Beranek
President of the Korean Undergraduate Student Association