I’m the first to agree that there should be no punches pulled when exposing atrocities against animals, and dogs in particular, but an animal rights group went a step too far in a Los Angeles protest in which celebrities held up animal corpses.
“Actual dead dogs” is how some media reports described the canine corpses displayed by actresses Priscilla Presley, E.G. Daily and Donna D’Errico in the Tuesday protest against dog meat consumption in South Korea.
The dead dogs weren’t victims of Korea’s dog meat trade, but were recently euthanized dogs on loan from a local veterinarian.
Last Chance for Animals, the organization behind the protest, was aiming for shock value, and got it — but it was an unnecessary and tasteless display.
Unnecessary, because the horrid realities of the Korean dog meat trade are bad enough, and easy enough to show people. Resorting to rounding up deceased family pets to hold up before the TV cameras was a tasteless stunt that was off the mark, went overboard and smacked of deception.
The celebrities were given gloves to wear while handling the carcasses, and the dogs used in the protest were reportedly going to be “respectfully cremated” upon its conclusion.
Wearing a “stop dog meat” t-shirt over white scrubs, Presley held a dead dog in her arms as she stood outside the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Los Angeles. D’Errico and Daly also held dog corpses, while actress Kim Basinger held a sign depicting three dead dogs hanging from wires — an actual photo, from actual Korea.
The latter made sense; using dead American pets did not.
The protest one of three held Tuesday across the globe. Similar demonstrations took place in Washington D.C. and Seoul, according to Last Chance for Animals.
Tuesday was the beginning of Bok Nal — known as the three hottest days of the Korean summer. Dog meat consumption rises exponentially this time of year in S. Korea as dog meat soup, known as Boshintang, is still viewed by some as a way to combat the extreme heat and humidity.
In reality, the consumption of dog meat is steadily decreasing in South Korea and only older generations are still eating it.
Nevertheless, the Animal Welfare Institute in Washington, D.C., estimates South Koreans slaughter an estimated 2 million dogs for human consumption each year, and Humane Society International estimates that 30 million dogs around the world are killed for food each year.
It’s cruel. It’s wrong. It’s exploitation. And there are many ways to fight it.
Seeking out dogs who died for totally unrelated reasons and holding their bodies in front of TV cameras should not be one of them, because it, too, reeks of exploitation.