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Letter from Ruth Eisenbud about the Psychopathology of Animal Abuse in Korea – 31 Jan 2010

Editor’s Note: We have our own share of bastards and contemptible cowards and idiots in the USA massively exploiting or venting their lowlife instincts on animals—think Jim Perdue, for one, or the pigeon shoots in Pennsylvania—so we stand on shaky moral ground to cast stones at the remarkably morally obtuse Koreans, but outstanding criminal behavior against helpless creatures deserves attention, so here’s this sickening installment.

For the record, and maybe to prove that humanity, on balance, remains pathetic in its treatment of animals, keep in mind that just about every ethnic group and nationality claims some specialty in its way of torturing animals, in addition to the already widely accepted animal holocaust of creatures sacrificed in such hellholes as factory farms for food. Thus the Norwegians and Japanese kill dolphins and whales; the Spaniards murder bulls in the ring plus a multitude of other animals in “religious celebrations”; the Egyptians invented the foie gras but the French perfected it; and the Chinese —among many other things—skin raccoon dogs alive for their fur. The list goes on and on, a catalog of human vileness and insensibility guaranteed to shock any decent human being. Typically, the media should focus on such outrages with regularity but rarely does—it’s just too busy telling us lies about politics, or focusing on inanities like the lives of celebrities.—P. Greanville

“If you have ever shared your life with a dog you will understand the following eulogy:
A Memorial to Boatswain 
by Lord Byron
Newstead Abbey, November 30, 1808.
‘Near this spot 
Are deposited the Remains of one
Who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
And all the Virtues of Man without his Vices.
This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery 
If inscribed over human ashes, 
Is but a just tribute to the Memory of 
Who was born at Newfoundland, May, 1803, 
And died at Newstead, Nov 18th, 1808.’
[print_link] The virtues of an animal, as described by Lord Byron, that is beloved throughout the world for its decency and willingness to help and cooperate with humans means nothing in Korea. The dog is an animal that would willingly risk its life to save a human, yet in Korea this good-natured, loyal and companionable being is considered as nothing more than a bowl of stew with alleged medicinal properties, in a culture that does not even grasp the spiritual poverty of this betrayal of man’s best friend. Photo: Caged dogs being sold in open market in South Korea. (Kim Bartlett, Animal People News)
Until now dog meat consumption in Korea has been an underground affair, but in September 2008 a law will go into effect which classifies dogs as livestock along with all the accompanying abuses of this industry:
Korean superstition holds that if a dog is agitated ( i.e. viciously abused) prior to slaughter the potency and flavor of the meat is enhanced. Even if this were not the case the killing of an animal, who is a functioning member of human society, to be used as a snake-oil tonic for the feeble and infirm, exhibits a lack of compassion and empathy so profound that it borders on depravity.
If one probes further, it becomes apparent that this is not the only animal abuse in Korea which is based on superstition and ignorance. Beneath the surface of Korea’s seemingly modern and technologically advanced facade lies a primitive, exploitive and cruel view of animals which allows for their sacrifice in shamanistic rituals intended to bring good fortune to those paying for the killing.
Right: Cats in cage at Korean market. Felines are also sacrificed in great numbers in the most disgusting manner. (Kim Bartlett, Animal People News)
A highly evolved spiritual view appreciates that the lives of all living beings is sacred and should be respected. Clearly this message has been perverted in Korea into bartering the life of an animal to obtain good fortune. Please refer to the following for additional information:.
SOUTH KOREA HAS ONE OF THE FASTEST growing economies in the world, and one would have hoped that with increased wealth there would also be an increase in consciousness. This does not seem to be the case, as it seems increased wealth has resulted in increased abuse of animals in the name of superstition, greed and suppressed rage taken out on animals.
The following is a depiction of a ‘performance art’ piece involving the evisceration of a piglet carried out for an audience that cheered wildly as the the poor creature screamed in excruciating pain, The brutalization of those attempting to protest this sadistic display is further evidence of a deep-seeded rage that attempts to preserve and maintain such violence to living beings.
The following is an action alert issued by In Defense of Animals:
“S. Korean Political Protesters Torture and Kill Pig as “Performance”…
WARNING: The following contains graphic descriptions of animal mutilation which some readers may find objectionable and revolting.
Our members know that IDA has long led the fight against the brutal practice of eating dog and cat meat in South Korea…Unfortunately, this is just one of the abuses taking place in a country that has lax laws regulating the treatment of animals slaughtered for food. Recently, this lack of protection left one young piglet the helpless victim of a revolting public spectacle, as she was bound, stabbed, and gutted while fully conscious for symbolic purposes at a political protest.
Hundreds of demonstrators organized by the Icheon City Committee assembled in front of city hall in opposition to a plan by the Ministry of National Defense to build military bases in the area. To represent the protesters’ outrage, self-styled “performance artists” tied a two-month-old piglet by all four limbs and stretched her out in the air on a stage. Men wielding knives then ritualistically sliced the pig’s skin and eviscerated her as she screamed and struggled in agony. National and local officials attending the event cheered and applauded, some waving Korean flags. By the end, men pulled like a tug-of-war on the  ropes tied to pig’s limbs, tearing her body to shreds.
Several days after the protest, two animal protection organizations — Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth (CARE) and Korean Association for Animal Protection (KAAP) — held mourning rites for the pig.
At the second vigil, they were attacked by members of the Icheon City Committee, who hurled insults at mourners over loudspeakers and destroyed the shrines they had constructed out of flowers, hanging banners, and framed photos of the sacrificed pig. One female animal advocate was severely beaten….”
Psychological studies have established a link between violence to animals and human on human violence. Therefore it comes as no surprise then, that in a society which displays such a predilection for violence to animals there will also be an increased rate of violence to humans as well. Not coincidentally, two Koreans hold the world’s record for number of killing-spree victims in one burst of rage: One can’t help but wonder how much gratuitous violence to humans and animals these fragile individual were exposed to as children: Woo Bum Kon carried out the largest known incident of spree killing in modern history. His victims included 58 dead and 35 wounded. Seung Hui Cho committed mass murder of 32 people and wounded 25 in what has come to be known as the Virginia Tech Massacre.
An animal who has been nothing but a friend to mankind is himself in desperate need of a friend in Korea. If you would like to protest the latest development in Korea which now includes government regulation of dog farms in the Livestock Act and in essence sanctions dogs as livestock please inform Korean government officials that you will not tolerate such abuse. You may address your concerns to:
1. Mayor of Seoul Mr. Oh Se-hoon 
Address: Euljiro1, Jung-gu, Seoul, 100-744, Korea
Tel +82 2 735 6060
2. Korean President Mr. Lee Myung-bak 
Address: 1 Cheongwadae-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea
Tel: +82 2 730 5800
Ambassador Lee, Tae-Sik
Embassy of the Republic of Korea
2450 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202)939-5600
Fax: (202)797-0595
Extreme violence to animals, as a means of dealing with suppressed rage is not an acceptable cultural mechanism for relieving psychological stress. Surely there must be a better way to work out this anger without vicitimizing helpless, innocent animals.
“He that would hang his dog, gives out first that he is mad” a British proverb””
Thank you for considering my thoughts.
Ruth Eisenbud
Cambridge, MA, USA

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