John Sutter responds to criticism of his column on the ethics of eating dog
Sutter: "To be clear, I'm not saying people should eat dog"
"I'm saying we should rethink what we eat and why"
Social media "explodes" over a tweet about the column, as The Week put it
On Wednesday, I wrote a not-at-all controversial column on this website titled, “The argument for eating dog.” The piece ran with a visual essay on CNN Photos about the illegal dog meat trade in Southeast Asia, which is just awful to look at. I argued that the dog trade should be cleaned up and made more humane – but that the same should happen to factory farms here in the United States.
The crux of the argument was this:
If we think dog shouldn’t be eaten – like, ever, regardless of how clean the trade is and how quick the kill – then maybe we should think about the other animals we eat, and if and why we don’t feel the same way about them. Is it because we spend so much time with dogs – looking into their eyes, talking to them, walking them, picking up their crap – that we understand that they are living, breathing, feeling beings? Would we feel that way about other animals if we could hang out more?
The implication: Eating pig, another highly intelligent animal, is just like eating dog. If we don’t want to eat dog – which I said I didn’t – maybe we should rethink pig and the rest.
The Internet had deeper suspicions.
And they turned out to be pretty hilarious.
Someone claimed to leak an image from my new CNN “show,” which ostensibly features me cooking up chihuahua and plopping a Pekingese into a pot for our viewers.
It’s not real, of course. But some of you seemed to fear that it was.
Mashable compiled a list of “23 People Who Really Don’t Want CNN to Eat Their Dogs.” Among them, @gourmetspud:
The Week wrote that I made “social media explode.”
Others pointed to an irony in my Twitter bio, which says I’m “rooting for the world’s underdogs.” When I’m not writing quick columns to go with CNN Photos posts, I run a project at CNN called Change the List, which tries to raise awareness about bottom-of-the-list places.
But in the context of the dog piece, I get how weird that looks.
Some guy changed it to “sauteing the world’s underdogs.”
One of my colleagues here in Atlanta printed out the image of me with the chef’s hat and a dalmatian in each hand and taped it to the wall in the newsroom.
It got me thinking about how ridiculous – and awesomely absurd – it would be if that show actually came to fruition, especially since I’m an advocate for treating animals humanely.
Maybe the premier could feature the ethics of pizza delivery dogs.
We could call it “BRING ME YOUR PUPPIES!”
On CNN, 9 p.m. ET. Right after “Anderson Cooper 360.”
Guest host: Sarah McLachlan.
Mostly, I feel #sorrynotsorry about the “controversy” that column created. I stand by the argument that eating dog is morally parallel to eating pig – another intelligent, friendly creature.
And, to be clear, I’m not saying people should eat dog.
I’m saying we should rethink what we eat and why.
But apparently America doesn’t want to look in that mirror.
It’s way more fun to say you hope I’ll get eaten by a cannibal.