SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- When food is scarce, people in China engage in the socially acceptable practice of eating dogs as an emergency food source. But feasting on companion pets such as dogs is also a tradition dating back thousands of years. Dog meat is rich and particularly nice on cold days, say people who regularly partake of it in certain regions. The animals are also slaughtered for their hides, which capture a decent price when sold to markets in the country's fur industry. Animal rights advocates around the world have condemned the abuses. Now, legislators in the United States have voiced their disapproval of the Chinese government's complicity in the gruesome trade. "It's another example of unnecessary outsourcing to countries with cheap labor," said F. Chester Greene, a conservative politician and 2016 White House hopeful from California. "We need to stop China from continuing to take our jobs. There's no reason able-bodied Americans can't butcher pets and cook them up."
As China becomes more affluent, many families are buying dogs and cats as household pets. In recent polls, 89 percent of the population now opposes the grim practice of killing these creatures and the cruel methods associated with preparing them for meals: cramming animals into small pens or cages, 10 to 15 at a time, and even beating dogs to death in order to release blood into the meat.
Estimates suggest that over two million dogs and cats are corralled each year and killed for their meat and fur. A growing number of Chinese citizens are calling for anti-cruelty legislation and pressuring the government to act. Some U.S. lawmakers and politicians want to help.
"Made in America used to mean something. I think it should again," Greene said in a press conference Thursday to bring attention to the issue.
He noted that over 15,000 puppy mills operate in the United States alone. But for one of the world's most prosperous nations, U.S. hunger statistics are astounding. Nearly 15 percent of Americans live in households where food is scarce. The organization Feeding America estimates that 50.1 million Americans live in food insecure situations -- 33.5 million adults and 16.7 million children. The country's unemployment and poverty rates also remain ongoing challenges.
Greene sees a simple yet overlooked solution.
"Any fool can raise a puppy. I can't leave my house without kicking a stray cat, and sometimes I do just that," he said. "Hoarders have hundreds of cats in their ramshackle little homes, but many of these people are starving and out of work. We should be encouraging them to raise these animals for slaughter, empowering them to sell their products and put food on their tables -- as well as the tables of 50 million other Americans sorely in need of sustenance. It's appalling to me that we let corporations outsource this work overseas, where labor costs pennies on the dollar. You can't put a price tag on quality American craftsmanship and rebuilding our economy. That's why I'm calling on Congress to denounce these Chinese butchers and let American butchers get to work."
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