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No charges likely in New Zealand dog barbecue

The SPCA in New Zealand is calling for a change in the law after its investigation into the killing and cooking of a pet dog by a Tongan family in Auckland.

As long as the animal is slaughtered humanely — how’s that for a contradiction of terms? — eating a dog is not illegal  in New Zealand.

The family who barbecued their pet dog say back home in Tonga dog meat is considered a delicacy, and they didn’t realize they were doing anything wrong.

Paea Taufa was found roasting his pitbull mix in a pit at his home. The dog had been skinned and gutted and was partially charred when SPCA inspectors arrived.

Auckland City’s mayor, John Banks, said the family needs to be educated rather than charged with a crime, according to the New Zealand Herald.

Banks, an animal rights activist for years, says better education on local customs and sensibilities is needed. “This activity is deeply offensive and totally wrong in our New Zealand society. For many people, this is absolutely repulsive,” the mayor said. “But the way forward is education. This man has obviously not been taught that killing and eating a domestic pet is not right in New Zealand.”


Comment from chris
Time August 17, 2009 at 8:21 am

WTF!!! This goon should be sent back from whence he came.

Comment from Cher
Time August 17, 2009 at 12:29 pm

So did this guy just crawl out from some cave? Is he some sort of aboriginal who doesn’t speak the language and has no contact with the modern world?

The least I would like to hear about this case is that the family has been banned from owning any more pets until they’ve learned Civility 101 and passed with no less then 90%.

What a bazaar story.

Comment from Anne’n’Spencer
Time August 17, 2009 at 1:23 pm

OK, now everybody’s going to be mad at me, but I’m going to say this anyway. Take a look sometime at the journals of Lewis and Clark, who were making their way with a group of (mostly but not all white, mostly but not all English) people to the Pacific Northwest between about 1803 and 1806. You will find that as they entered their last fall and winter on the journey out, they consumed dog meat with great relish. In fact, they found it preferable to the salmon that made up much of their diet. They learned this habit from the Native people in that area. There’s not the slightest evidence that they found it revolting or that it bothered them. So before we go throwing around terms like caveman and aborigine, we’d best realize that this taboo is very, very recent even in our society. And in many societies, it’s considered perfectly normal.

Having said that, it’s any society’s perfect right to follow norms and customs that seem best to the majority of them–so long as they’re not harmful. If the people of New Zealand are revolted–as we are–by the practice of slaughtering and consuming household pets as food, then let them pass laws prohibiting it. The mayor in the story is right–these immigrants need a bit of education into local customs and societal norms. I doubt they’ll ever transgress again, and they’ll probably pass this on to any friends who arrive in the same area.

Incidentally, Tonga enjoys a 98 percent literacy rate, and the majority of its people are Methodists Mormons, and Catholics. They don’t live in caves. In fact, they have universal health care. New Zealand has a substantial Aboriginal population. They don’t live in caves, either.

Comment from semper fidelis
Time August 17, 2009 at 1:50 pm

It is not that bad i have been to many places around the world and eat’n many thing that would be considered inhuman to most. And you cant mess with tradition, all cultures have it.

Comment from cowboy
Time August 17, 2009 at 1:58 pm

i agree with semper fidelis many cultures have a tradition that they practice, what about the families have pet rabbits and they eat the rabits or america’s 4-H /FFA program they raise the animals like pets then sell them to be eatin or eat them them selves.

Comment from Cher
Time August 17, 2009 at 6:28 pm

So Anne Spencer, what you’re saying is that ignorance in this case is not an excuse. I’m glad you cleared that up because I was beginning to actually forgive them for their inhumanity if it was caused by ignorance. Now that I know they are such educated and refined folk, I can go back to thinking of them as heartless barbarians. It isn’t a family pet if you eat it. It’s livestock.

Comment from Anne’n’Spencer
Time August 17, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Nope. I’m going to take you up on it, Cher. Some places in the world are blessed with an abundance of high-quality protein–livestock, as it were. We won’t go into what happens when livestock are slaughtered for our use, but we’re not likely to run out of meat anytime soon, and all we have to do is go to the Safeway and buy it in the little plastic packages. When people in our society are too poor to go to the Safeway, we expect them either to starve with dignity (as they do on many Indian reservations) or we provide them with welfare and food stamps they can use in the Safeway for some of what they need. The only people in the U.S. who are living at a subsistence level (hunting, fishing, and gathering their daily food) are a few Native people in Alaska, where it is still possible to do that–on a limited basis and subject, of course, to the needs of the commercial and sports fisheries, recreational hunters, and timber and oil interests.

People who live at a subsistence level, as they do on many of the Pacific islands, can’t afford to be as choosy or as sentimental as we are about their sources of protein. They also can’t hide from its preparation and conversion into food. They can fish, certainly. They can grow smaller livestock like chickens, and they do. Their land areas simply aren’t large enough to support enough large livestock–cattle and pigs and such–and there’s also not enough land to support game that could be hunted.

Dad and Mom aren’t working as systems analysts, nor are they clerking at the local Wal Mart. They are laboring from one end of the day to the other to provide food which they have to obtain in a much more elemental state than what we find at the local supermarket.

It is unfair to expect that people in a subsistence level society will have the same attitudes towards pets that we can afford to have here. Any creature that can provide protein is likely to be viewed as a food source. When such people arrive in a supermarket society, they need to be instructed–not condemned. To do anything else is racist, elitist, and abysmally ignorant of the customs and problems of enormous segments of the world’s population.

Comment from Grace
Time August 17, 2009 at 8:34 pm

Human beings eat meat. We need some essential nutrients from meat. They are not all available from a vegetarian diet. Any and all (farmed) animals can be classified as livestock, or pets.
It is a very small step from farming sheep for meat – to having a pet sheep – to having a pet dog – to farming dogs for meat.
I guess it truly depends on income, hunger levels, taste buds, and supply and demand. Let’s not be too prissy. Our forefathers farmed their meat, or they didn’t eat it.The chickens were raised, killed, plucked and then put into the cooking pot.
Now, schools have to educate our young as to where the food they eat comes from: an animal?, a plant?, or a chemical factory???!
How many unwanted dogs does the SPCA slaughter, every day, every year? How many people are hungry, world wide???

Comment from humbleness
Time August 18, 2009 at 12:12 am

Just to let you guys know, it’s not a delicacy in Tonga!!! Most Tongans would think its disgusting!!! but calling him all sorts of names???? Just because he ate a dog? or what he thinks is right others may view wrong? Wow, there are worse things in life!! So I’m just wondering, is it because he ate a dog or is it because he ate his PET? Would you consider if he had a chicken for a pet and he killed and cooked his chicken would that be just as wrong??? JUST A THOUGHT!!!

Comment from C M Yeo
Time August 18, 2009 at 6:28 am

I’m writing from Malaysia. About 40 years ago, I came accross some people killing stray dogs or pets for meat. But not now. Perhaps it may still happen in those very rural areas. I believe as society progresses, people learn to realise the difference between farmed animals and pets. Game meat like wild boars are quite commonly eaten here. At one time our newspapers reported some foreign labourers catching stray dogs and killed them for meat. To them, it was free meat and practised in their home country. I trust that educating the Tongan family is the best way forward and they deserve a second chance.

Comment from Heather
Time August 18, 2009 at 11:58 am

Ah the scourge of the politically correct!! I am afraid I can’t get my head around the fact that these lunkheads butchered and barbecued the family pet! I guess their culture has a different, more utilitarian concept of pet. That is, it’s a pet till we feel the pangs of hunger. Then it metamorphoses into just “protein” as some of you call it. Chuck these bozos into rehab with Michael Vick. He loved his pets too. UGH!!

Comment from Paul
Time August 18, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Anyone who decries this, and goes home to eat pork is a disgusting hypocrite. A pig is more intelligent and just as capable of affection as any canis familiaris, yet plenty of angry dog lovers will go home and enjoy some much less humanely raised and slaughtered pork. Unless you are against the slaughter of ALL animals for meat, kindly shut up and re-evaluate your skewed and biased morality.

Comment from Andy
Time August 19, 2009 at 12:04 am

Vegans can condemn this guy, should they see fit.

No-one else can.

Comment from humbleness
Time August 19, 2009 at 1:42 am


Comment from Ellie
Time August 20, 2009 at 9:55 am

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. You do not eat beef if you’re in India where cows are sacred, you do not eat pork in Muslim countries.

And you do not eat dog meat in the Western world. If you want to do that, go back to where you came from.

Comment from PhilBee
Time August 21, 2009 at 5:17 am

Well, it’s one less child-mauling face-ripping fear-inducing vicious uncontrollable pitbull, I guess!
Anyone for a cat kebab?

Comment from MAV
Time August 21, 2009 at 11:42 pm

Hmmm.. is it time to grab the pitch forks and pointed hats?

By NZ law, the dog died a ‘humane’ death, so apparently there was no ‘inhumanity’.

Comment from Karen
Time January 30, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Grace (8-7-09, 8:34pm): Your comment is beyond ignorant. You need to do some actual self-education in nutrition and you’ll find there are MANY replacements for animal protein that involve much less environmental damage and no pain and suffering. Yes, the SPCA euthanizes millions of dogs annually. It does not beat them, skin them alive, or burn them alive. You are cruel and you are stupid.