Eating wild animals seen as pets can seem very exotic to many Europeans. Food bans are very much a matter of culture. This means that when travelling, some may be shocked by certain cultural practices of other countries, such as eating dog, bat or pangolin. However, here at Berlin Translate, we don’t do ethnocentrism and it is these cultural differences that make the world all the more interesting.

Eating Dog

Eating dog meat is a food practice called cynophagy. Here in Europe, dogs and cats live with us in our houses. However, dogs can be eaten in about 11 countries: China, Indonesia, Korea, Mexico, the Philippines, Polynesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Arctic and Antarctica and two cantons of Switzerland. Dog consumption is especially common in Vietnam. This results  hundreds, even thousands of dogs being stolen in Thailand in every year. They are illegally trafficked to Hanoi in Vietnam and end up on the plates of restaurants. For people living in the latter, dog meat is nutritious, beneficial to health and most importantly cheap.

Roasted, boiled or steamed, dog meat is sold at markets and food shops. This dish is traditionally eaten with rice, wine or beer. Are you tempted? Learn more about whether it’s possible and the laws surrounding eating your own dog or cat.  

Coronavirus Advice:

Pets and coronavirus

On Sunday, March 15, the French society for the protection of animals (SPA) was concerned about a wave of abandonment due to false rumors about a risk of spread of the covid-19 coronavirus by pets. Therefore, on Monday the animal protection association called on the owners of cats and other animals to show “common sense and humanity”. There is no evidence that pets and livestock play a role in the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Franceinfo’s ‘vrai du faux’ division explains this to you.

Eating Monkey

You can eat monkeys in Asia as well as in Africa. Indonesians eat orangutan, and peanut monkey meat is a speciality from Congo. Cameroonians are also fond of monkey meat. You should be careful though, as scientists claim that some of them carry viruses that are deadly to humans.

Completely banned today, the preparation of monkey brains continues among some wealthy Asians. The monkey’s skull is opened and ingredients are added to it, then a spoon is dipped into it for tasting. Sounds tasty, no?

Eating Bat

It is said that the flesh of a bat can resemble that of the flesh of a rabbit. Bats are found in markets in Indonesia in particular. The wings are amputated because there is almost nothing there to eat. Bats and coronavirus: According to a recent study, the genomes of the coronavirus and those circulating in the bat are 96% identical with humans. However, since the version of the virus active in bats is not structured to attach to human receptors, it may have passed through another species to adapt to humans, this is called the “intermediate host”: the pangolin perhaps.

Eating Scorpions

Scorpions are a common food in some parts of Asia. So, if you are staying in Bangkok, you will have the opportunity to taste this specialty food.   Like insects, they are rich in protein and are said to consist of important fatty acids and vitamins. In order to be able to eat a scorpion it is necessary to remove the tail stinger with tweezers and then cook it. Bon appétit!

Eating Pangolin: the origin of the coronavirus

Asia’s ever-increasing appetite for dishes made from pangolins, wild snakes and other giant salamanders may well lead to their extinction. Even more serious, the outbreak of the coronavirus in China has already caused the deaths of many people and is causing concern in most countries that are now closing their borders. One possible origin of the virus is in pangolins that Asians are used to eating.

Eating pangolin, the African scaly anteater on the verge of extinction, is said to have caused the coronavirus to pass from animals to humans. It is currently forbidden to sell and consume wild animals in order to stop the epidemic of the new coronavirus. The journal Viruses published a study in 2019 showing the presence of many viruses, including coronaviruses, in pangolins in China. However, it seems that once the coronavirus has passed, the Chinese are starting to consume it again. They love their meat in China, which they cook in stew and are mad for its scales due to the alleged medicinal properties they have: Acting as aphrodisiacs for gentlemen, stimulating lactation in women after childbirth and being lucky charm around anyone’s neck.

Ban on eating beef in India?

Due to the cow being a sacred animal in India, you might think that it is forbidden to eat beef there. However, beef is eaten by low castes and untouchables as well as tourists. Indeed, in most European hotels you will find dishes with beef as a main ingredient. Of course, it is your choice as to whether you want to eat it or prefer local dishes and observing Indian traditions. Find a very interesting article on the subject on  France Inter’s website.

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