Travel is a reality that is capable of changing the way people think and see the world. One of its advantages is that we come into contact with other peoples, other mentalities, other ways of thinking, and it makes us aware of the good things and bad things of our society. We are also made to see that attitudes are clear and indisputable peculiarities of my region, because on the other side of the mountain, the generality is to think totally differently and sometimes with more reason that we, which leads us to be aware of the mistakes of our own society.
Those who have traveled and studied less have a tendency to judge wrong or wild that which is simply different from their customs. The difference between them and us is simply a matter of education and experiences, and nothing is more logical than the other.
It is common that when a European sees a Chinese market for the first time they are surprised to see rats hung in the food stalls, and when a Chinese buys one the shopkeeper skillfully cuts off the head, legs, and tail and delivers it wrapped in a plastic bag as if it were a beef filet. A European person cannot suppress their sense of disgust, calling the Chinese dirty and primitive, but … what is the difference between a rat and a rabbit? Of course, the rat lives among garbage, rats live so disgusting, but do not forget that the pig lives in a quagmire, live among their smelly droppings, and no one questions this in the least. The rat has same food as you or any vertebrate, and eating them or not is a matter of habit.
The Indians of the Amazon eat spiders, while criticizing many that people eat a crabs, and what is the essential difference between a crustacean and a spider? We return to the same point, it is a matter of habit. France and Spain have the succulent dishes with snails, and much of the world considers them disgusting animals.
Each society, according to their customs, teaches you and says whether it’s disgusting or not, but the child is born without any prejudice. Any mother would be horrified to see their little child with a dead cockroach in their mouth, and would wash their mouth with soap, spank, and rebuke the child, saying that it is a horrible and disgusting action. Depending on where the child grew up, they may go hungry in a place full of insects, spiders, snakes and rodents, with a high nutritional value in the forest, but their education would prevent them from harnessing that food source.
Turning to the Chinese, they are highly criticized because dogs they eat at their parties, but why not? The answer is usually that the dog is man’s companion, and of course no one would eat their own dog. This is the same as a child who grew up with a duck since childhood, living with it and never would eat the duck. Another argument used is that the dog is very intelligent. But if intelligence is considered do not forget that Indonesia has wild fauna monkeys that people hunt and sell in the market to eat, and monkeys are much smarter than dogs.
Of course industrially it would be a mistake to promote dog meat, but not for moral reasons. In the food chain it is an economic problem because the dog is a carnivore that occupies a high level in the chain. For example, a cow that reaches adulthood needs to eat 5 tons of grass, and for a big dog to reach adulthood it needs to eat the meat equivalent to 10 cows, and therefore is not economically profitable to eat dogs. Cows are better to eat than the dog. For this reason it is not profitable to eat sharks as these eat tuna, and tuna eat sardines. It is far more profitable to eat sardines directly, as a single shark is the equivalent of several tons of sardines. But as we see the problems are economic, not ethical or moral.
Universally we bury the dead, but imagine a society that instead of burying them, they are eaten. Perhaps we would see that cannibalism with genuine horror, charging them with primitive and wild behavior, but: Why? It is a source of very good proteins, we bury them we let the worms, bacteria, and insect larvae eat the dead, and bury them is simply a matter of habit, and if we were to reason unprejudiced, possibly eat them would have more favorable arguments.
By Angelica Ferrer .
Read in portuguese: http://www.guiabsb.net/07-01/questao-de-habito/