Eating Happiness (10/10)
by Tony Medley
Runtime 92 minutes
Not for children
The film raises the
question as to what’s the difference between eating a steak (which comes
from bulls or steers or heifers) and eating a dog. There is no easy
answer, but my feeling is that dogs are domestic animals that can bond
with a human and the others are not. Dogs can be trained and establish a
loving rapport. They look at you with wonder, as if they are saying to
themselves, “How can anything be as wonderful as you?” As a result, dogs
become part of the family and the idea of eating a dog is repugnant to
In Asia, however, it is
not so. People raise dogs to be killed and eaten. The dogs are treated
despicably while they are alive. Dog thieves abound who steal other
people's loved pets and condemn them to a brutal death.
This film is narrated
and directed by Genlin, who is a “save the dogs” activist.
It shows what is going on in Asia with the dog meat industry and how
some courageous activists, like Genlin, devote a large portion of their
lives to rectifying what is happening.
This is a very hard film to watch because there are lots of scenes of
people stealing dogs and even more scenes of dogs who have been
mistreated. The callousness in which these poor dogs are treated is
shocking. It’s bad enough that these miscreants steal dogs to sell for
eating, but they mistreat them while they are in their custody, and
those scenes are very difficult.
It’s a big business throughout Asia. Vietnam has instituted a moratorium
against the import of live dogs for five years. John Dalley, Founder of
Soi Dog, says, “It has made a huge difference because you’ve had these
thousands of live dogs being shipped, smuggled from Thailand, shipped to
Lao and then shipped across to Vietnam.”
There are dog meat restaurants in Vietnam. But there are also at least
200 diseases that can be transmitted from dog meat to humans, including
parasites and rabies, which is incurable. It’s estimated that 80% of the
population of Vietnam eats dog meat. The manager of one restaurant says
that he keeps dogs as guard dogs, not as food, but that he would
slaughter one of his dogs to serve to his guests.
Eating dog meat is traditional in South Korea. When South Korea hosted
the 1988 Olympics it moved all dog meat restaurants out of Seoul so
foreigners wouldn’t be offended and cause an uproar.
Dogs aren’t man’s best friend just because they are so loving and
lovable. They have 500 million scent receptors in their nose. Humans
have 3 million. This sensitivity to smells has been used countless way,
like sniffing out drugs and bombs on planes. But even better, they are
now testing ways for dogs to actually smell cancer cells, and it works!
The dogs can detect cancer when it’s still aborning, something no other
cancer detection system can do.
The only criticism I have of this fine documentary is that many people
interviewed are not identified or are only identified once. Every time
someone is interviewed that person should be identified, even if he or
she has already been identified. Viewers can’t remember everyone and I
was kept wondering who it was who was speaking.
According to this film, less than 20% of China’s population eat dogs. In
1950 Hong Kong made eating dog illegal for these reasons: 1. Cruelty is
involved with the slaughter of dogs for food, and 2. Rabies cannot be
But it is the visuals
that get you. Scenes of poor dogs shaking with fear as they await their
cruel fate. The callousness of the guy in the market who holds a poor,
suffering dog up by the neck with an iron bar choking it as it squirms,
threatening to kill it immediately if a woman doesn’t pay him $80. There
are many other compelling scenes like this that tend to break your
This is an outstanding
documentary that educates and informs.