Ruth is from Wales and has lived abroad for nearly 10 years, she enjoys her vegan lifestyle, loves animals and hopes to inspire others along the way. Her new blog is up and running at http://ruthculbreth.wordpress.com
I have been in Korea for nearly 5 years on and off, and through my time in Korea I have gone from being a vegetarian to a vegan and the transition in mind as well as in diet is really something quite extraordinary.
A quick explanation of how my husband Colin and I got together is rooted in our mutual animal respect. Colin was a meat eater when I met him and quickly transitioned over to a vegetarian when he found the meat less quality than it was where he grew up in the States.
It seems very strange for me to write in those terms because to me meat is meat and meat is murder, but at one time we both excused everything and I do believe that it is a natural process onto realising there are no true excuses any more.
I was volunteering for a dog rescue shelter in Gimhae, a city in the south of Korea which actually hosts a dog meat market near the bus station, always very uncomfortable to witness when arriving to help the dogs rescued from such a fate. The dogs are in cages, dirty and uncared for and are awaiting their fate, a long tortuous death sometimes in front of other dogs. The ways I have heard the dogs are killed range from setting them on fire to beatings to live boilings.
There are many sites on the internet that will explain in more detail the killing and atrocity of the business and they can tell you more than I can or wish to. All I know is that the Gimhae meat market is a sorry site and it’s definitely a poor man’s business (both monetarily and emotionally.)
When Colin and I volunteered for this dog shelter we felt much pride in what we were doing and even felt somewhat superior to those who don’t take time out of their social lives to help the dogs. We enjoyed the people running the shelter and those who attended and I even had a small party at mine with lots of food (mostly dairy unfortunately) to raise some money.
What I am most disappointed about is that I drew a line under this volunteering, I felt that what I was doing was completely enough and I was on top of the world, pointing out its faults and fixing them. Go ME! Now I am ashamed, because once I even thanked a local bar for holding a hot dog contest to raise money for the dogs. I was thanking him for the unnecessary slaughter of innocent living beings to save another much more well-loved pet.
The news is full to the brim of happy stories of dogs and cats being saved. Colin and I have 2 cats ourselves rescued from Poland, but there is little evidence of happy rescued farm animals.
We have emotionally stuck these animals in a big, metal, cold barn and ignored their plight and focused on the cuter ‘pets’ to run free.
People get so outraged at Asia for killing dogs for meat and so they should, but by that logic shouldn’t we be up in arms about the 6o billion farm animals slaughtered ever year for food? Food that we are known to waste at an astonishing amount.
Humans find it difficult to understand two things:
- Humans are a species of animals too and the only way we have managed to crawl to the top of the food chain is by destroying every other animal in our path. We are highly intelligent and unfortunately we have chosen to use our brains to do harm rather than good, we even destroy our own species through war and hate. How on Earth could we ever sympathise/save another species?
- All animals are equal and we are not more important than others. We all exist by the grace of *insert who/what you believe* and we should encourage life not death. Dogs are no more animals than pigs than cows than chickens than rats.
Why do we love one and hate another?
We have been duped, lied to and used by companies driven by greed and power. The world would be a much more beautiful place without money, living as the other animals do. But we have trade, and consumerism, and class wars and power and we must try and fight it to keep our heads above the water.
I feel cheated. I want so much more out of life than what has been created by me and my fellow man. Demand change, live like you want to not how they tell you to.
I sign petitions, I focus on specific cases at specific times on specific animals such as Lolita the Whale, but I know that the only way to really change the world is if people switched to a vegan diet.
Have a heart people, have a salad!