Dogs are exceptionally popular in Europe, America, Japan and some other developed countries. So much so that women are seen in parks walking their chihuahuas, while their babies in strollers are taken care of by housemaids following them. Some species of man’s best friend are seen in the “civilised” nations in such envious positions that some less fortunate humans wish to wake up one fine morning as pampered pooches.
Matters are, however, different in our East. To some, it is a profanity, while some consider the canine ideal for ensuring 24/7 security. And some people are out there capable of making beasts blush. Yes, they consume four-legged, tail-wagging self-styled night watchmen. The guy who wrote “dog biting man is no news, man biting dog certainly is” must be spinning in his grave. Why? Now man biting dog is no news! What is news, then? Man eating dog! Times have changed.
To the dog eaters, canine is a delicacy which should ideally end up on dinner tables like the cattle. Nagas and Mizos love to feast on dogs (and cats too).
Hailing from Nagaland, a Ph.D. student in the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, was recently rusticated for torturing a she-dog (bitch is impolite, they say) to death in his hostel room in “self defence.” Students woke up to their horror when they heard the animal yelping and saw blood flowing out of the room. The accused could not explain why he dismembered her limbs. The poor animal was bludgeoned with active cooperation of four Naga students. The clamour from animal rights groups is growing for not letting the dog killer submit his doctoral thesis.
In the north eastern states, you would be lucky if you spot a street dog or a cat (or even a rat). Connoisseurs of dogs also live in the Far East. Major killing fields of the unfortunate pet are the Philippines, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and China, which is all set to host the Olympics. The Beijing Food Safety Office has recently ordered restaurants to stop serving dog meat to athletes, spectators and tourists. But the eateries have been spared from serving other “unconventional” dishes like the donkey’s meat, which happens to be equally popular there. The ban on dog’s meat is just for the duration of the games. The ban is also aimed at not providing any opportunity of protest for the animal rights activists. If the dog meat is used in the traditional medicated diets, suppliers are bound to indicate this on labels.
While reading the 300-word story, I stopped at the “traditional medicated diet”. Does the dog meat have curative effects too? If so, what about the curative effects of cat meat or the meats of fox, crocodile, frog, etc? (Mind you, they are served in upmarket joints in the West).
My gut feeling is if an honest effort is made to find out the same in the meats of various varieties of lizards and chameleons, newer chapters would be added to the books of medical diets. Maybe, experiments will prove that the meats of crow or kite or vultures are a sure remedy for Aids or cancer or the meat of jackal can cure asthma or the meat of mule can defeat leucodarma. It is by trial and error that the world can find a definite answer to various diseases through different meats.
I would be arrested if I discuss the efficacious possibilities of human flesh. But do you recall that some time back a doctor of Jaya Prakash Narayan Hospital had tried (human) bone marrow on a subordinate by serving him marrow-pasted toast with tea?
God forbid if the north-eastern food habits get popular in other parts, people would perhaps not mind being told that for a sumptuous dinner they can think of white stew of black dog or brown sausages of white cat or vulture sheishkebabs, or koftas of jackal or samboosas stuffed with mincemeat of kangaroo.
During pre-partition days, a chronically ill man went to a hakim. The hakim checked his pulse and told him to come the next day for lunch. When the man went there the next day, food was ready in the clinic. Both ate and after some chit-chat, the traditional doctor asked the man if he knew what he just ate. The man said: “No.” The hakim said: “You have eaten dog meat.” The man nauseated and after a few moments vomited all that he had eaten. Lo and behold, a leech grabbing a piece of meat was lying on the ground. The hakim told him there was no other way as leeches are fond of the dog meat. Dog is man’s best friend, indeed!