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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chinese Astronaut Ate Dog Meat While in Space

 When I first read this headline from The Telegraph ("Dog on the menu for Chinese astronauts"), I thought it may have been a joke. But then I realized that not all countries and cultures have domesticated dogs the way we have-- just as there are some cultures that do not eat cows. But I have to tell you...when I wikipedia'd "dog meat" (GRAPHIC IMAGES), I saw some pictures there that almost made me vomit-- and I say that without an ounce of hyperbole. I considered making using one of the more ornate dog dishes the headline photo for this blurb, but decided against it. In fact, I never want to look at it again. Even when you use Google Images, you see some things that would make a dog-lover wretch. And that's only because we view dogs as companions, and not food.

While not the main focus of Yang Liwei's autobiography Nine Levels Between Heaven and Earth, this revelation has certainly spurned a lot of anger from animal-lovers.

Yang wrote: "Many of my friends are curious about what we eat [in space] and think that the astronauts must have some expensive delicacies, like shark's fin or abalone. Actually we ate quite normal food, there is no need to keep it a secret."

The Telegraph also lists the menu for what Chinese astronauts ate in 2009:

Day One: Lotus root porridge, crispy tofu with spring onions, braised yellow croaker fish, pork ribs with seaweed, spinach with minced garlic.
Day Two: Spicy pig skin, braised duck neck, hairy crab with ginger, chicken liver with chilli, pine nuts with sweetcorn, three-flavour soup.
Day Three: Poached egg in fermented rice soup, Harbin sausage, Huajiang dog, baby cuttlefish casserole, eel with green pepper, spicy beans with dried tofu.

Apples, pears and oranges served with every meal, as well as rice, noodles, sweet potatoes.

 It is said that dog is good for you, better than ginseng-- as it is known in the Huajiang, a county in Guangdong, China.  I will take their word for it. I don't condemn these people at all-- we're from a different culture, and I'm sure there are some things that we do and eat that make other people as sick. It's just a bit jarring, especially to see what cooked and prepared dog looks like (look at this link, if you dare....but I warn is truly gross).

Check out this report from Al Jazeera about the Chinese government considering a ban on the 2000 year-old "countryside" tradition of the consumption of domestic animals. Some are strongly for it, some are strongly against it. Again, some of the images in this video may be too much for some people:

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