A Travellerspoint blog

All Dogs Go to Heaven

sunny 9 °C

I’m currently sitting on the twelve hour sleeper train from Guelin to Shenzhen which is our last and thankfully not longest train journey in China.

We woke at a reasonable time to make the most of our last full day in China. For some reason everyone seemed to be up and about on facebook, even though it was 5 in the morning at home and so I spent a good while chatting. But I was forced to shut the laptop when the cold caused me to lose all sensation in my fingers and toes! What was worse was my pumps were completely soaked and caked with mud from yesterdays cycle ride; there was no way I was slipping those manky things back on and I instead had to settle for some open toed sandals that hadn’t been for walkabouts since Thailand! Ste was also in the same predicament and we both hobbled out of the hostel complaining every step of the way about our popsicle toes. I needed shoes, for the first time in my life I actually NEEDED a pair of shoes.

There are actually plenty of shoe shops in Yangshuo and it didn’t take long before we found a shop where they didn’t look too terrible; just converse style pumps etc. the problem was that women in China don’t often sport size 6 feet and so I had to rummage through the mens section. The chequered ones made me look like an Emo and the ones with graphics all down the side had me feeling like a little kid. Good job there was a shop across the road selling pretty much spot on fake Converese for a fiver; I grabbed myself a pair of those babies in black. Pure luxury, my feet hadn’t been so warm in weeks! Small things.

Now I know it sounds odd but Yangshou, along with its snails and dog, also likes to serve up Shepherds Pie! What a way to warm the bones! We dodged the relentless stream of street sellers all the way into a little café that sold this winter warmer. Ste couldn’t resist the ‘Fillet Steak’ which he ordered medium rare, but when it arrived, the origin of the meat became debatable. The waitress claimed it was ‘from cow’ but this steak had a much darker red, gamey appearance and its taste didn’t resemble any kind of beefsteak I have ever tasted! ‘Enjoy your dog steak I joked’ but deep down we both knew it was more likely dog than cow! Ste sent it back to be cooked more now I had put the willies in him. I tasted a slice more…”no WAY is that beef” – the texture was so soft, almost like a burger. “I wish I had got the shepherds pie” Ste grumbled with his lip out. “Eat up!” I laughed…

Talking about dogs, the next part of this entry is NOT for the faint hearted and if you are vegetarian, hemophobic or just LOVE dogs you probably want to skip to the next article. I will place the photos at the bottom of the article in case you want to read, but don’t want to see my trip to the dog market. I must say I was very apprehensive myself about seeing this particular market, but I guess you could say that morbid curiosity took the better of me…and a friends story about how he got a dog eyeball thrown at him got me a little curious.

On a Lighter Note - Dog Shaped Cookie Jar

On a Lighter Note - Dog Shaped Cookie Jar

Well we entered the market from the left hand side and so we had a bright and breezy stroll through what was very organised fruit and vegetable area before we arrived at the butchery. In the centre there were cage upon cage of live chicken, geese, fluffy bunnys, pigeons, the lot. But along back wall was the gruesome area. From a distance I could see it was separated into different concrete sections and from a distance I could also see a skinned dog hanging by its neck from the ceiling. Ste didn’t look too happy but we advanced admiring the poultry and muttering “I guess it’s fresh”

A View Across the Meat Market

A View Across the Meat Market

Run Rabbit Run

Run Rabbit Run

We now stood directly in front of the dog market section and honestly it was like something out of saw. Blood dripped from the bald carcasses that dangled from the front the cubicle and merged with the river of red from the other abattoirs (I use the word abattoir loosely) The walls were filthy concrete and were also sprayed with blood. I glanced over to see a woman with a rigid dog carcass partly submerged in a huge vat of boiling water to remove the fur. It was pretty disgusting but I had to get a photo, but not wanting to come under fire from a woman armed with dog eyeballs, we waved a 10 Yuan note at the owner and showed our cameras. He laughed and flashed the note to his friend, looking pretty happy with himself. We were on is good side.

The front bench had three dogs heads on a plate with a pile of jaw bones next to them. This could have been a scene out of saw. The man continued to prepare one of the dogs, but for me this wasn’t the problem. The problem was at the back of the tiny concrete room – a cage with two big fluffy dogs allowed to witness their eventual fates unfold within a foot of their faces. To see this was very upsetting, the dogs were not yelping or trying to free themselves, instead they lay huddled together and not moving a muscle. You could see from their eyes that they were utterly terrified. I really really felt for them and was shocked about the inhumanity of allowing an animal such as a dog, which possesses a great emotional capacity, witness a fellow dog’s death. To the people in the market, meat is meat and that is fair enough, but it is unnecessary to put them through such torture beforehand – even a blanket over the cage may help a little. I have never seen a dog look so miserable in my life; they looked like they could cry.

We obviously didn’t stay long and when my lens strayed to a woman hanging a dog a couple of stalls away, I was met with a fierce looking face and a hand containing an eyeball! It was her! Quick, we needed to get out of there. I couldn’t believe I had come face to face with the evil eyeball slinging dog murderer! Incredible. We dashed all the way out and into the nearest sweet shop to console ourselves with jellies and chocolate treats.

Bitesize Things...a Whole Store of Them

Bitesize Things...a Whole Store of Them

Tiny Jellies...a Chinese Obsession

Tiny Jellies...a Chinese Obsession

More Individually Wrapped Things...

More Individually Wrapped Things...

China's Love of Tiny Sweet in Tiny Packets

China's Love of Tiny Sweet in Tiny Packets

Novelty Cookie Jars in Nearby Sweet Shop

Novelty Cookie Jars in Nearby Sweet Shop

We devoured the lot in the park whilst expressing our disgust at animal welfare standards in China. Maybe if people see this they may be more concerned about the welfare of the animals they consume on a daily basis back home. We are all hammered about making better choices and things like this are the reason why…
WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGES CONTAINING BLOOD, GUTS AND GORE!!!!

Dog Butchery

Dog Butchery

Dogs Hung at the Front of the Stall

Dogs Hung at the Front of the Stall

Prime Cut?

Prime Cut?

Dog Heads...for making stock perhaps?

Dog Heads...for making stock perhaps?

Poor Pooch <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_sad.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':(' title='' />

Poor Pooch :(

Well it was certainly a memorable last day in China, but we haven’t escaped the dog steaks yet, as we are off to Hong Kong in the morning.

Posted by CarlaTracy 07:23 Archived in China Tagged animals food dog market china yangshuo

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