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Dogs - man's best friend or just food?

I got an email today from a friend trying to raise my awareness on the cruel practice of many far eastern countries where it is a custom to eat dogs rather than to keep them as pets. This immediately piqued my interest (in light of the discussions on other threads on the subject of killing / harming sentient beings) and I asked my friend why it is wrong to kill a dog but it is not a problem to kill a chicken or a cow.

While I am waiting for my friend to get back to me we might get some opinions of my friends here on InterNations as to whether a dog is man's best friend or just food?

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