A Bizarre Food for Thought


In most developed countries, dogs are regarded as good company, hunting assistants, domestic security, or sometimes even as family members. Usually well fed and groomed, dogs are loved for so many useful and wonderful reasons; they are considered man’s best friend.
In less developed environments, puppies get more care than grown dogs. Grown dogs are not as highly regarded. Many are left to fend for themselves with occasional attention paid by their owners. Usually unkept, they tend to eat from dump piles, live a rather homeless existence and get into all kinds of mischief. But in Liberia, the ultimate punishment for mischievous dogs is to be eaten.
“If your dog is sassy, bring it because that’s the kind of dogs we like to eat,” Sattah urges. “Don’t overlook it oh! If you clean it and parboil it fine so the tough parts get soft, you will always want to eat dog. It’s greasy!”
The most recent and fast growing food fetish in Liberia is a pan of parboiled and marinated “dog meat”.
According to Wikipedia, human consumption of dog meat has been recorded in many parts of the world; including Liberia.
A local animal welfare group, Say No To Dog Meat, says “75% of Liberians consume dog meat. 75% of Liberians rely on bush and pet meat as a staple diet,”.
Meanwhile, those who eat dog meat, also known as ‘issue’ and ‘particle’, attest that dog meat is a good source of nourishment.
Sattah, a resident of Duala and her family depend on little to nothing. Everyday her husband Papay heads out to look for atleast US$3.00 to feed Sattah and their four children.
“We can’t afford to eat all that American meat like big big chicken, turkey and those kinds of things. When my husband goes to look for work, he also searches for a dog that we can eat,” Sattah says.
According to Sattah and many families who prepare ‘dog meat’, it is the kind of food that lasts a few days if it’s parboiled. It fills the stomach and brings in income.
“Some people are afraid to eat dog. I remember when I first ate it, the grease was too plenty and I ended up vomitting,” she remembers. “But my children and I love to eat dog meat, the flesh is filled and when you eat it, you’ll know that you just ate meat.”
However, ‘dog meat’ has become a bit of a disturbance in some communities on Bushroad Island. Places like Caldwell and New Kru Town have seen swarms of their friendly dogs kidnapped overnight by unknown person(s).
“Most often after I spot a dog that I like,” says Papay, “I would follow it to see if it is easy to catch. If it is, I would either set a food trap for it and strike it on the head while it’s eating; or, just wait for its owner to fall asleep at night and catch it.”
Papay has been catching dogs for the past three years and has managed to support Sattah and his children by selling his catch to a local resturant that serves dog meat.
“The old ma buys each dog from me depending on the size. If it’s juicy and hefty, she’ll give me $10.00 usd and sometimes I give her four dogs a week,” he added.
It isn’t always a good week for Papay. According to copies of his police charge sheets, he has been arrested eight times and has done a total of two years in jail for stealing dogs.
“I can say it is worth it. My family is surviving and the meat is enough for us to eat. I pray that I get enough dogs’ this year so we can start our own buisness one day,” Papay said.
Sattah says since the Ebola outbreak, there have been less dogs wandering around New Kru Town.
“I won’t lie, we haven’t eaten a dog in weeks, since the last Ebola victim. We are managing on fish and chicken feet for now. But our neighbors are raising some dogs, so we are hopeful,” Sattah said.


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