Songbirds

Dr. Althouse posts a short piece about people reacting very angrily to a woman who posted a picture of a rabbit she was skinning for dinner. "Rabbit ate my parsley," the lady wrote. "I am eating the rabbit."

Well, of course you are. That makes total sense to me. Apparently not to everyone!

The second item in the piece by Althouse has to do with a dog-eating festival in Yulin, China. One of the comments to the post says, "I love to have some dog- and cat-eating Chinese and Koreans as neighbors so as to help reduce the annual 1 billion songbird slaughter."

I assume he means by the dogs and (especially) the cats. But what it brought to my mind was a memory from China, when my wife and I were hiking on Precious Stone Hill near Hangzhou. We heard a beautiful songbird, and I suddenly realized that I couldn't remember having heard one the entire time I'd been in China. Walking forward excitedly, we came around a bend in the trail and found... several men, who had brought birds in cages up to the top of the mountain and were getting them to sing to each other.

I learned after that there is a cultural pride taken in being the top of the food chain, such that animals in general are considered edible. I began to notice that the stalls in the market had a huge variety of eggs for sale, not just chicken or duck but of all sorts of little birds.

To this day I don't know if the men up there were using their caged birds to try to lure more birds for them to catch as food, or if they were just a small society of men who longed to hear a songbird in a wild place.

9 comments:

Texan99 said...

Another commenter quoted the outrage of a vegetarian who lives with several dogs and cats and wouldn't dream of eating them. The commenter wondered whether her dogs and cats were vegetarian, too. I sat through a lecture once at UT (accompanying my boyfriend at the time, who was trying to persuade me to apply there), in which a professor who was a devotee of some Asian philosophy or another insisted that his cat thrived on a special vegetarian diet. It would have to be awfully special.

I admit, though, that I'd prefer not to eat dogs, for roughly the same reason I'd prefer not to eat people.

E Hines said...

I'd prefer not to eat dogs, for roughly the same reason I'd prefer not to eat people.

Or cats. You are what you eat, though, which is why I won't eat catfish, which are bottom feeders.

Eric Hines

Bob said...

In most chinese cities elders like to keep a certain kind of thrush. They gather in parks so they and the thrushes can socialize.

Channel catfish are an ambush predator, and I've caught 100's of them while bass-buggin' the James. (Then again, they arent terribly picky and will ambush plenty of dead things.
Both dogs and cats need animal protein, (at least in the form of eggs and dairy) or they waste away very quickly.

Texan99 said...

Yes, I hope that professor's cat was eating the occasional bird or lizard. He seemed pretty oblivious to the problem. (Enough to persuade me to choose another university!) People are omnivores and, if they're careful, can get along on all kinds of extreme diets. Cats are obligate carnivores.

I'm very fond of catfish. The very idea of looking down on their diet, Eric! Pure stratificationism. That's profilin', and it's wrong.

MikeD said...

"Cats are obligate carnivores."

Absolutely correct. And frankly, I think it's tantamount to animal abuse to subject an animal to what must amount to malnutrition just to satisfy one's own moral compass.

And I don't eat catfish because I don't eat any fish. I'm not sure if it's a mild allergy or what, but if it comes out of the water, it nauseates me. I can have like 3-5 shrimp before my stomach does a slow dip and roll. And hiding it in something else does not help, my stomach knows immediately when something contains whatever "it" is that sets me off.

Bob said...

Hey Texan

Let's Eric noodling:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1BqnemHRrI

Anonymous said...

I had a prof who had been a guest at an American Indian dog feast. She refused to say more than, "dog tastes nothing like chicken."

LittleRed1

E Hines said...

That's profilin', and it's wrong.

To paraphrase Ol' Diz, it ain't profilin' ef you can do it.

Re noodling, two things: one, I fail to see the problem with getting bit by the catfish. As the man said, the bite is like a pit bull--which means once the catfish has bitten you, he can't get away; you've caught him.

Second, our heroes have shown themselves to be not quite as smart as a bear.

Eric Hines

Bob said...

There isn't a single salmon in the entire Mississippi drainage.