Wednesday 12 August 2020

9 countries where they eat cat and dog meat (2020)

China - dog meat. For me it is horrific. What about you?

Although China is known to be the country where cat and dog meat is eaten in large quantities, in the south of the country particularly, there are eight others and one of them, surprisingly, is the United States of America. I'm not sure where it happens or whether certain states have banned it or indeed whether there are plans nationwide to ban it. I thought I had read somewhere that the federal government had stopped the eating of cat and dog meat but I appear to be wrong. The American government has, however, put pressure on China to end the cat meat trade.

Apparently, people in Hawaii like to eat stray cats and dogs and have done so for years. A proposed bill to ban it was shelved because apparently there was no enough evidence that it actually took place.

Vietnam is another country where they eat a lot of cat and dog meat. The dogs are snatched from the streets of Ho Chi Minh City and sold to restaurants and street vendors. There is a lucrative black market trade. Dog meat can sell for about $10 per kilogram. It is used in dog stew and in a soup of blood apparently. You can get barbecue dog lemongrass and ginger and steamed dog with shrimp-paste sauce. To me, it sounds disgusting. It is not part of the contract between dogs or cats and humans to allow humans to slaughter them brutally and then eat them. That term was not written into the contract. There is a booming appetite in Vietnam for cat and dog meat. It is deeply ingrained into their psyche and their culture.

Another country where this practice takes place is a European country namely Switzerland. Farmers in the hills of Switzerland like to eat cat and dog meat occasionally. They tend to prefer Rottweiler because it tastes like beef. Eating cat and dog mean apparently is quite popular in the Rhine Valley and dog lard is occasionally used for medicinal purposes in this attractive country. For me, the practice of eating cat and dog meat is unattractive. How is it compatible with European culture? Switzerland is not in the EU and therefore companion animals are unprotected by EU law.

In French Polynesia they have eaten cat and dog meat for hundreds of years. When European settlers arrived in 1769 it appears that they wanted to engender the idea that cats and dogs were pets but the practice persists. Reportedly, Captain Cook and his crew ate dog meat when they arrived on the islands.

Korea consumes about 2.5 million dogs as a health food. I am talking about South Korea. We don't know what happens in North Korea but I would suspect that they have the same attitude towards eating companion animals. Eating dog meat is particularly popular in the summer. Some people believe that eating dog on the warmest days of the year helps to beat the heat. It is a $2 billion-a-year industry in the country.

I have just realised that there is a tenth country where they eat cat meat and that country is India. It is not at all widespread but it does happen in some villages. I have written about this so please click on this link to read the article.

I must finish on a slightly uplifting note. There is a gradual shift away from cat and dog meat in the Far East. There are animal advocates in China for example who rescue dogs and cats from the back of trucks while they are being transported to cat and dog meat markets. It is pleasant to understand that there are animal advocates on the ground in China during this. 

The Internet plays a big role here. Although chunks of the Internet are banned from the Chinese, the attitudes about the relationship between humans and cats and dogs in the West is infiltrating into Chinese society, I believe. So gradually they are becoming more aware that cats and dogs are just pets and not to be eaten. Of course, there are many millions of Chinese who live contentedly with well loved companion cats and dogs which I must say is contradictory bearing in mind the thousands killed brutally to be eaten.

I am told that dog meat is eaten in hard times in Canada, Greenland and Siberia (Russia). I have balled these together.

Friday 7 August 2020

Amazon fake verified review scam

I guess people realise that you can't rely on Amazon reviews. You just can't be sure that they are genuine. A recent development confirms this assessment.

The people who sell on Amazon through associate agreements want to improve the ratings of their items by Amazon. The ratings are based upon reviews i.e. how many five star reviews the item receives. The fact that the reviewer is verified is important. Verified reviewers are those that have actually bought the product.

In order to achieve five-star reviews from verified reviewers, these businesses are setting up fake purchases using stolen data. They steal the data of American citizens and on their behalf they purchase the items that they are manufacturing and selling.

In doing this, they set up an account on behalf of that person i.e. the recipient. The recipient is completely unaware of what is going on and they receive unwanted goods like seeds, whistles, sunglasses and socks. A five star review is written on behalf of the unwitting recipient.

It is reported in The Times newspaper that businesses are advertising on Facebook for people to write fake reviews at a price. It is the trade in fake Amazon reviews which Facebook promised a crackdown on but apparently are not. The magazine/online website Which? found that Facebook are failing to stop it. It's called a "fake review factory". Facebook told the Competition and Markets Authority in January that it would install systems to detect and remove this sort of content.

Apparently you can find this trade on Facebook by searching for "Amazon review". There are several Facebook groups dealing in these reviews and across them there are at least 82,000 posts a month. Often these posts are from agents offering refunds and commission free products in exchange for the reviews. It is not only on Amazon that these fake reviews are written. Fake and misleading reviews are illegal under UK consumer protection law.

Which? said that over the preceding year there had been no change in the amount of trading on Facebook with respect to fake reviews. The average number of posts in individual groups are up to 5600 over a 30 day period.

The worrying aspect of this is, of course, it is a scam and online scams of varying types are a rapidly developing phenomenon on in the West and probably elsewhere. The other worrying aspect is that the scammers have acquired the personal data of Americans. We know that there have been many computer hacks leading to the acquisition of personal contact details and it is quite likely that these details are being used in this way in this instance.

The receipt of seeds by unwitting recipients in America has baffled them. People all over the US started to receive small parcels of seeds from China. At one time people thought that this was part of a Cold War. Perhaps they were sending invasive species into America to destroy America's nature; to propagate plant diseases but no, it appears that it is simply an Amazon scam.

FYI - another Amazon scam is to inadvertently get people to pay an Amazon prime subscription at an inflated price. These people receive scammy phone calls often generated by computer systems to trick them into paying an Amazon prime subscription but not at the usual rate but one which is a hundred times larger (799 rather than 7.99). Be aware of telephone scams by people referring to Amazon prime subscriptions. Never get involved with those. Put the phone down immediately. You might like to contact Amazon if you can to report it. I am sure that they are aware of it but the more reports they get the better.

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