I have been seeing a lot of press lately about dog meat farms in places like South Korea.
The story which particularly caught my attention was the case of 170 dogs freed from a farm in Namyangju, South Korea by The Humane Society International and brought back to countries like the UK and US to be rehomed. It's one of 10 dog meat farms they shut down in 2017.
These 'farms' are remote places far from the cities where stolen dogs (people's pets) are kept in tiny metal cages off the ground so that the faeces drops out, but means the dogs have no comfort or protection from the freezing South Korean weather. They stay captured in these cages until the time comes for them to be butchered ready for sale.
This picture actually shatters my heart into a million pieces.
These are not mongrel/mixed breed dogs bred for the purpose of human consumption (not that that makes any difference to how appalling I think this practice is); I'm talking about Golden Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Afghan Hounds and Greyhounds, to name but a few.
From my point of view I may as well be reading about Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. It's just inconceivable to me that anyone would want to eat dog.
I've heard people putting forward the argument that all animals are created equal and who are we to choose the pecking order of whether a cow, pig, horse or dog is of a higher sentience, and therefore has more rights to be spared from our dinner plates.
What makes a dog more worthy of sitting beside you at your table, rather than ontop of it in bite-sized pieces in a creamy mushroom sauce?
Yes, pigs are intelligent and can be trained and are capable of completing certain tasks, but are pigs used in the police service to bring down thieves or sniff out illegal drugs?
Are they used as 'service pigs' for disabled people, those with mental health issues, or ADHD, those with epilepsy, or veterans suffering from PTSD?
When was the last time you saw a cow walking down the road with a visually impaired person? Or a turkey on bomb disposal duty?
When did you see a story on the news about a sheep that diagnosed someone's cancer?
Or an article about skiers rescued from an avalanche by goats?
Us humans are contemptible creatures. We are nowhere near the top of the food chain (FYI somewhere in the middle between pigs and anchovies), but we certainly behave arrogantly as if we were.
We are also hugely judgmental.
I mean, who are we to criticise people in certain countries who think eating dog meat is as normal as any other meat on the menu?
As well as questioning the option of becoming vegetarian myself I've also been having an internal battle for some time when it comes to the raw meat I feed my own dogs.
The image which sums up exactly how I feel is by the brilliant satirical artist Pawel Kuczynski.
It's such a powerful picture, and one which completely changed my feelings about the meat I feed my dogs.
How could I justify feeding intensively-reared, factory-farmed meat to my pampered pooches at home knowing that the animals they were eating had led miserable, terrified lives?
As an animal-lover the hypocracy was too overwhelming for me, so I spent quite a long time researching the best ethical, free-range, organic raw food for my three pooches (www.paleoridgeraw.uk if you're interested).
I have heard that some dog owners feed a vegetarian, or even a vegan diet to match their own beliefs. I personally don't agree with this practice as you are messing with a whole evolution of physiology.
But humans eating dog? I have nothing more to say on that.