Severed Dead Dog's Head On A Frame, Jiangsu Province, China

This week I'm in China shooting a corporate job for a US/China joint venture company. I'm mainly shooting workers performing repetitive tasks at supplier factories for the JV company's new website. Eleven factories, four cities, five days.

This afternoon, at a factory in Jiangsu Province, I needed to gain some height for a top shot of the main factory building. I thought an old dormitory building for construction workers looked just perfect for that. So I climbed up the outside stairs to the first floor of the derelict building, got the required shot of the factory, then came back down again. It was here, in the building's courtyard, that I stopped dead in my tracks, coming face to face with a severed dead dog's head, dangling by a chain on a frame. As the Americans like to say, "WTF!"

Why? My assumption is that because meat can be expensive for Chinese construction workers, stray dogs provide a quick and dirty source of cheap meat. Chinese, (and Koreans), believe that eating dog meat in cold weather is good for a 'winter warmer'. And its freezing cold in Jiangsu right now. So that seems like a reasonable explanation. Except that judging by the state of the building's decrepitude, the construction workers moved out long ago. Who knows. Maybe it was workers from the factory. They aren't exactly earning rock star salaries either. No idea.

Spot the dog pelts drying in the sun. Nothing goes to waste in China.

I don't want to get into whether eating dog is right or wrong. Not on this blog. So often the 'eating dog' issue gets hijacked by the anti-China crowd. China-haters use it as a stick to beat the Chinese people with. This is despite the fact most Chinese I know are thoroughly embarrassed by this slightly arcane culinary tradition. Rational online discussion of this particular 'hot button' issue seems impossible. A slanging match with sharp nationalist overtones is far more likely to be the order of the day.

No, what I'm more interested in is why the severed dog's head was placed at eye-level à la 'Lord Of The Flies'. And why were there two puppies of an entirely different breed frolicking at my feet whilst I shot these pictures? Was it cosmic irony? These are the real questions gnawing at my soul.

Answers on a postcard, please...


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