Save the Cute Animals!

The inside story on protests against dog-eating, foie gras-enjoying, and fur-wearing

A good argument in support of vegetarians, vegans, and animal rights protest groups is: How come it's OK to kill and eat an animal, but it's not OK to, well, fuck an animal? Think about it. Given the choice, I think Fluffy the Sheep would much rather be fucked than eaten -- any day of the week. All you have to do is put yourself in the same situation.

I've decided to become an animal rights protester. Which animal protest is best? What's hot and what's not, in terms of animal rights protests? If you had arachnophobia, all spiders would horrify you. Similarly, it would seem, if you were vegan, all types of animal food production would be horrifying. But most animal rights types come out in force when it involves an animal that is really adorable, rather than ugly. (Example: cats -- cute; cows -- "Hey, that's a sharp belt!") And I'm all in favor of beauty.

Yes, it's time to protest the inhumane treatment of animals -- especially the really cute ones.

Protest No. 1 -- South Korea's Illegal Dog Meat Trade

The ad:

Each year, two million dogs are electrocuted, strangled, or bludgeoned to death in South Korea. Then they are boiled, skinned, browned by a torch, chopped up, and eaten. The Korean Government is even considering regulating and legalizing the consumption of these animals, even though the vast majority of Koreans don't eat dogs or cats.

This seems a good place to start. I honestly can say I would never eat a dog. Really. No argument there. (I heard it tastes like chicken, anyway.)

Level of Adorable-ness of Animal at Hand: 10-plus

Saturday, I venture to the Embarcadero. Among rows of jewelry and T-shirts stands one lone protester. I was expecting a big turnout (perhaps a bullhorn or two). Yes, one woman talking on a cell phone stands in front of a disturbing sign (key to a good animal rights protest!).

Quality of Protest Signs: 4

There basically is the sign -- the one sign. It reads: "Dog's Worst Enemy -- Korea." I'm not a professional protester, but I really think this protest could have benefited from wider variety. Though the disturbing image is very effective, I would suggest more signs and slogans, such as, perhaps, "Korean dogs have something to bark about!"

Approaching the lone woman, I interrupt her cell phone call and play naive, pointing to the sign.

"Is this, like, in the circus and stuff? You know, like, when they make them wear people-clothes and jump through hoops?"

"This isn't about the circus, it's about the millions of dogs in Korea that are electrocuted, strangled, and bludgeoned to death each year," she clarifies.

[Pause] "Oh, that's a lot different."

She hands me a flier.

Quality of Fliers: 8

Very catchy slogan: "Man's Best Friend -- BETRAYED!"

The photo shows a dog looking sad. I assume I would be sad too if in the situation of about to become someone's meal. Great font used on the word "BETRAYED." It's in crimson and sort of looks like it's dripping blood.

She explains: "They have them in cages at restaurants for people to pick out."

"Don't they do that with lobsters?" I ask, suggesting this may just be a matter of cultural differences.

Her demeanor changes as if there is about to be an argument. "I don't approve of that either; I'm vegan."

I try to explain -- lobsters in our country have it tough. It is popular to cook them ALIVE! But no one seems to have a problem with this. Supermarkets have tanks, crammed tanks full of these live crustaceans. Claws rendered useless by large rubber bands -- lobster handcuffs! Shoppers tap on the glass, not even raising an eyebrow at what could be compared to an undersea Abu Ghraib. Animal rights protesters should break into Safeway and set the lobsters free. Reason they don't: Lobsters aren't that cute.

I'm directed toward a very graphic video.

Quality of Protest Video: 3

Technically speaking, the production quality of the gruesome protest video leaves a lot to be desired. It could highly benefit from professional editing, a clear voice-over narration (perhaps from a celebrity advocate), stock footage, and a few different camera angles.

"What if the animals were killed more humanely?" I ask.

"Then I wouldn't feel so bad about it," she replies.

"I've eaten a dog before," I say with a serious expression as a disturbed, tense look forms on her face. I break a smile.

"A veggie dog that is!" I say. Oh, how we laugh.

Protest Extras: 7

Cards, pre-addressed to the ambassador of Korea, await people to fill them out. Roughly speaking, each card tells the ambassador that eating dogs is bad, and if the dog-eating doesn't stop, I -- the signer of the postcard -- will boycott all products made in Korea.

Suggestions for a Better Protest:

Large papier-mâché dogs, hoisted on sticks, by protesters walking on stilts.

Overall Protest Rating: 4

Yes, we should protest Korea's treatment of animals, because it's inhumane, but we should also protest because dogs are incredibly cute, especially when dressed in people-clothes and made to pose for postcards. That, my friends, is adorable!

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