“Eating dogs is inappropriate, inhumane, and only heartless blood-suckers encourage it for their benefit,” said a man holding a picture of a cute dog in his hand in front of the Blue House Presidential Office in Seoul, South Korea. He also had several placards, one in his other hand, and others dispersed around him, hand-written almost the same message requesting the president to push a bill against the habit of consuming dog meat in South Korea. He seemed left alone trying so hard on his own to make every passenger in the street to participate by starting a semi-debate conversation with them. I believe he wanted to encourage pedestrians to realize that their actions could make a difference if they joined with him in trying to make a change. Eating Dog Meat Was Normal in South Korea Until Recently Eating dog meat is an old habit in East Asian communities. It was just recently in the past several decades that cats and dogs became popular as pets partly due to individualism and Western cultural influences. We need to consider that habit of consuming dog meat in old south Korea was not meant or considered savagery, nor was immoral. It was an available source of nutrients. For what it’s worth, there are all different tastes of food and ingredients all around the world. For example, Lechón (a Spanish word referring to a roasted baby piglet which was still fed by suckling its mother’s milk) and Khash (or kalle-pache, a dish of boiled cow or sheep parts, which might include the head, feet, and stomach) are two dishes that seem disgusting to many modern people but are famous in their regions. We need to take historical and geographical circumstances into account to understand the eating of dog meat. The very same animal can be considered an ordinary animal, food, pet, friend, or even a deity due to these circumstances. Rabbit, in my case, being a dish had never been an option, and I always considered bunnies as the cutest animal pets; or as cows for Hindus, animals may not only be removed from some menus but also respected as in animism. The Dog Meat Debate The contradiction of treating this type of canine as a pet or as a dish became a hot topic among some Koreans only recently; and here I am, a West Asian in Korea, graduated in Cultural Studies and interested in cultural differences and, of course, in anyone who is protesting against the government. I was looking at the protesting man with interest in finding out what had made him so committed to his cause. I changed where I was going and walked over to him. “I feel hugely responsible for eliminating this bad habit,” he said and explained that it was his routine to protest every weekend and sometimes stay overnight in his small tent. He is ashamed of dog meat still being consumed despite the dramatic modernization of the country. “How come we could change so many things to be better, but still there are many people who eat dogs like barbarians? Why can’t we get modernized in this country?” he said. It seemed like he has repeated the sentence a hundred times before, and he found himself confident with this statement.. However, probably unlike the common responses that he was expecting, I came up with a different one. I pointed to a fluffy dog with a red shirt that happened to pass by near us and told him: “So is your request for the sake of modernization being fulfilled or for the sake of justice being pursued for dogs, these lovely animals?” He answered, “I want them to be treated fairly and with respect.” “Why do you expect the president to bring up a law that guarantees fair treatment for dogs but not for other animals?” I asked. To his surprise, I added: “Isn’t it the time to stop excluding dogs from dozens of other animals who are suffering? Including those who are suffering from our imbalance privilege for dogs? I mean if we care about being fair, we may want to broaden our list. Shouldn’t we add all current edible farm animals to come in a presidential law bill? if we care about nature, we should ask for a bill that stops us from having pets at all because we are changing their lifestyle and also ruining nature’s life cycle by protecting from one species? and if we care about…” Blah, blah, blah, I listed all perspectives I could find and didn’t find any logical one that justifies excluding dogs, and he said his reasons, again I told mine. It was a long talk that I wouldn’t have the length to list it all, but I’ll share some things that I saw from his perspective and some from mine. Dogs as Pets in South Korea Dogs are everywhere in South Korea. Several shops only provide services and items for pet dogs: dog clothes, different types of food and dog hotels, dog kindergarten, dog barbershop, dog photo shoots, dog swimming pools, and dog taxis are just a few businesses affiliated with dogs in this country. The industry is also expanding with thousands of dog products like smart pet trackers or nonalcoholic pet beers. This industry focuses on its product as a cute, intelligent, and kind animals (which they indeed are) that we need to “take care of” or as a widespread motto in South Korea puts it: “have them as a family member.” Billions of dollars are funneled into this idea. The South Korean pet industry was worth $864.9 million USD in 2018 and around seventy percent of it was for dogs. ‘Your Dog Deserves to Live Like a Human’ “Your dog deserves to live like a human.” It was written in a dog accessory shop in Seoul. We already know what that lifestyle looks like as humans speedily use up the world’s resources. As the pet industry statistics show us, this industry, like every other business, is based on consumption (the more we use, the more they produce), though responsible for a significant portion of South Korea’s unsustainable way of life. Dog owners spend around $100 USD per month on their pets in this country. The pet population in Korea has been steadily increasing over the last decade. The country’s aging, the increased single-member households, and rising incomes have helped support this trend. As just for the pet food market, it was worth more than $870 million in 2019. Increasing Opposition to Dog Meat However, unlike the pet industry, dog meat is moving in the other direction. Western media and animal activists have written many articles on it. “Hell for dogs” and “Barbaric” are just some of the words they have used to introduce the issue. Their miserable way of breeding and the cruel and uncivilized practice of eating a smart and cute animal are some of the reasons mentioned by the media against dog meat. But not only are these approaches very selective and even specie-favoritism in an animal context, but it’s also not even scientific and reasonable. Dog farms are more or less the same type of miserable as other farms for around 9 billion chickens, 33 million cows, and 113 million pigs raised and slaughtered brutally every year — small cages, dirty and smelly atmosphere with lifespan suffering through the same painful process. However, one critical fact is usually not considered: the amount of dog meat has declined from one million dogs to 20,000 per year in South Korea. It consists of less than 8% of consumed meat worldwide, while other meat consumption had increased, as FAO reported: “Pork is the most widely-eaten meat in the world accounting for over 36% of the world meat intake. It is followed by poultry and beef with about 35% and 22%, respectively.” Other Animals are Also Cute Being cute is also not exclusive for dogs as rabbits, lambs, and chickens are extremely cute in my opinion. Dogs are usually smart, but so are pigs. You probably need to read about the research on pigs that confirmed they are wise enough to play a video game! Pigs are also super social and can learn very fast. For the last argument on barbaric habit, I suggest to stop seeing the world from Europe and remind how millions of Hindus would feel about others who are eating cow’s meat. The consuming way of life advertised by media uses natural resources for dogs and burns forests to raise cows. Instead of pointing at the significant issues, eating dogs has become the focus of “animal activists” and ignorant celebrities that want to push themselves as authorities on the subject. Dog meat is one of the most comfortable and accessible options for them, as it is exotic, and there is a vast hatred against this declining business around the world, including in South Korea. Simultaneously, the meat and pet industry is rising as it has never been recorded in history, which indirectly resulted in severe damage to other animals. Ecological and Wildlife Devastation Earth has lost half of its wildlife in around the past 40 years, mostly because of our way of life. We need 1.5 planet Earths to sustain the current consumption rate. Instead of a widespread action to save animals worldwide, we have limited ourselves to a few overpopulated and well-loved domesticated animals like dogs. Just last year, near 800,000 new pet dogs were registered in South Korea. Thanks to thousands of shallow but accessible reports and quotes about dogs, the bigger picture usually misses the point. It’s perfectly common for an “animal lover” to bring a pet dog home and make it consume human products and call it “protecting animals.” The UK has one of the worst reputations to its overusing the world’s resources, and it’s been calculated that we would need 2,5 Earths to match UK consumption levels extrapolated into the future. However, a British Instagram star can come to Korea and “rescue” a dog from a cage and fly it back to the UK. Then he can post pictures of dogs playing on the grass, and he obviously feels cool to rescue an animal that was supposed to be a meal for an allegedly cruel people. After taking all the pictures he enjoys a bacon sandwich at the same time. American skier Gus Kenworthy is one example who could get thousands of Instagram likes by merely “flying” a dog from a cage in Korea to his yard in the USA and take a shortcut to getting tons of likes online. The pictures of the dog, buying him a “dog cake” for a birthday gift, added to his continually posting photos of his consuming lifestyle in a country that is the second globally in overusing world resources. ‘A Cultured Country Does Not Allow its People to Eat Dogs’ “Cows are grown to be eaten; dogs are not.” This non-scientific and sentimental words came from a French actress Brigitte Bardot who, thanks to her movies, gets attention to her terms about animals. “I accept that many people eat beef, but a cultured country does not allow its people to eat dogs.” She concluded. France is number 19 in the mentioned list of world over-consumption, and according to UC Davis university: “livestock are responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gases.” I personally have never eaten dog meat, and I try to avoid other kinds of meat in general. But as someone who thinks a lot about the environment, I don’t understand why dogs should have so much privilege above other animals. I also don’t get why “activists” feed this bias if not because of their ignorance of the bigger picture they play in it. Back to the Debate “We should start from somewhere. We should stop producing red meat in general, but we can start from dogs as there is more public agreement on it,” the man wanted to conclude, unable to convince me with his previous reasons. “But why should we start from a business that is already declining while the bigger issue that’s spreading is left more or less in silence?” I asked. “Anyway, people are different. We don’t all have to think the same,” he answered. He didn’t want to hear more of me. He slowly raised a cute picture of the dog and tried to change the mood with his fake smile. Did I make him consider the issue from a new angle? I’m not sure. How many other dogs did I see on my way back home? How many of their owners call themselves animal activists or animal lovers? And how many of these animal activists or animal lovers think about the 41,415 species that are currently in danger of extinction? Edited by Alireza Soltani Koupaei
It’s certainly been a challenging year for many areas of industry, but some sectors have clearly risen to those challenges. Gaming is among the success stories of 2020 and, while many of our personal circumstances have helped to boost revenues, innovation is another decisive factor. To be successful in the gaming industry, it requires a creative mindset and those who adapt and improve will stand out in a crowded marketplace. So how has gaming thrived in the current climate and, what can we expect the sector to achieve in terms of innovative developments before 2020 comes to a close? Biggest moves The gaming industry always seems to be one step ahead of the competition and is among the first to either develop new technologies or to take advantage of innovation carried out by others. A simple example of this lies in the switch to mobile gaming and the flexibility and convenience that this has produced. While the bigger screen experience of console gaming will always have a place for players at all levels, that element of convenience has helped to make mobile gaming a big driver of revenue. In fact, figures from 2019 show that mobile gaming now provides 60% of all revenue in the global video game industry. The sector has also moved quickly to embrace other tech and to keep gaming buoyant through any financial climate. Time to subscribe Apple Arcade came along in September 2019 to provide a video game subscription service for several platforms including macOS, tvOS, iOS and iPadOS. While many games can currently be played for free, the subscription offer added a new dimension to gaming with a number of exclusive titles available. Overall, the subscription, which currently comes in at less than $5.00 a month, offers some exceptional value. Other tech advancements to be picked up by the gaming industry in recent times include the new iOS14 platform, together with the opportunities provided by the development of 5G. It’s been a productive period and some areas of this sector have adopted the technology with great enthusiasm. Apple has looked into improving the gaming experience on their products by introducing new updates and improving the Game Center. Gambling industry innovation One sector to have enjoyed significant growth in recent years is the gambling industry. A lot of their revenue increases are down to innovation and we’ve seen this in a number of gameplay areas. The internet and advancements in technology have contributed to the gambling industries growth allowing this sector to thrive. New styles of casino games are appearing all the time with online slot games seeing the most innovation. Online slot providers like Wink Slots are hosts to a large number of creative slot games with many having a theme or style to attract players. A popular game is Slingo which is a combination of slots and bingo giving players the best of both worlds. It’s not just online slots that have seen innovation, there has also been other developments in the world of online gambling too. Live casino rooms allow players to enjoy an experience that is as close as possible to the real thing. It comes with live dealers and croupiers plus real tables and equipment to boost the atmosphere. Live casino is an innovation in itself but it has been around for a while: The developments that we’ve seen in recent times include significant improvements in sound and graphics which now bring world class visuals to our screens. Innovative games including lightning roulette have also seen this sector enjoy greater revenue. In fact, there has been such a fast development online and it’s led to concerns regarding the future of land-based casinos. The online gambling industry is a shining example of how gaming has thrived in challenging times and we can expect that innovation to reap even more benefits in the final quarter of the year. The future? So, what will the remainder of 2020 bring in the way of innovation to the gaming industry? In some respects, the future of gaming is already here with several titles making use of the advances in Virtual Reality. This element has been around for some considerable time but many feel that the sector has yet to take full advantage of its possibilities. The reason for that could be down to cost, plus the size and weight of the equipment. Whatever the potential issues may be, it’s predicted that VR will be making more breakthroughs across the remainder of 2020. Developers acknowledge that Virtual Reality remains something of a niche when it comes to gaming and that there is work to be done. Current VR headsets weigh more than a pound and, they are strapped tightly to the user’s face. Keep that set on for more than a few minutes and you’ll become extremely sweaty and uncomfortable. Comfort has been key to gaming in the past and that essential requirement has been holding back the march of VR. Social trends also show that players may have evolved from the couch but comfort remains key. The first point to address, therefore, is that cumbersome headset and we may well see movement in terms of lighter headgear before the year closes out. People predict that VR will breakthrough towards the end of 2020. It’s a similar situation in the sphere of artificial intelligence and this is an area where developers are known to be focusing on. It can get quite technical at this point but it’s all about collecting data relating to how the player experiences the game. Their reactions to certain developments, particularly in strategy games, could be second guessed by the software which will then adapt accordingly. It’s a concept that has generated mixed feelings among the playing community, many of whom are concerned that they need to remain in control. Others, meanwhile, are happy for games to evolve in this way and to continue to offer different challenges. The future is largely unknown but, there is that clear focus on Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence and this is where further 2020 innovation is set to lie as the year draws to its conclusion.
The Iranian defence minister says the country seeks to increase its missile capability. Brigadier General Amir Hatami made the comment while elaborating on the latest achievements as well as priorities of the nation’s defence industry. “Missile capability and preparedness has always been among the important priorities of the country and the Defence Ministry, and we have always focused on the strengthening and development of this domain,” said the defence chief. “We have achieved considerable and extraordinary progress in terms of missile capability in recent years,” he added. The top general underlined that significant developments have taken place in the missile domain in terms of both quality and quantity. He added the range of some missiles will be increased three-fold compared to their previous generation. “This capability is very important to us,” he noted. Subscribe Facebook Twitter ReddIt Pinterest WhatsApp Viber VK Email Telegram Print LINE The IFP Editorial Staff is composed of dozens of skilled journalists, news-writers, and analysts whose works are edited and published by experienced editors specialized in Iran News. The editor of each IFP Service is responsible for the report published by the Iran Front Page (IFP) news website, and can be contacted through the ways mentioned in the "IFP Editorial Staff" section.
An Iranian knowledge-based company has manufactured a polymer microfibre spinning machine that can produce advanced medical dressings. The CEO of the company says they strive to meet the needs of industries and research institutes in the field of stem cell technology and reconstructive medicine, tissue engineering, pharmaceuticals, chemistry, and polymer by producing or modifying chemical products. According to Hamed Daemi, polymer fibres, with numerous applications in a wide range of fields, are now used in medical industry. He said the company produces more than 100 types of products using a machine which is used to make polymer microfibres from polymer solutions. “These microfibres can be used as advanced dressings for the treatment of diabetic ulcers. Since the technical knowledge of making this device has become indigenous, we are upgrading and developing it. This has become the basis for offering domestically produced products at a lower price and higher quality than imported samples,” he added. Daemi also stated that the ability to change and optimise parts to suit the needs of industry is one of the capabilities of this machine. “The most important job of this machine is to produce polymer microfibres that are used in advanced medical dressings. But we have the ability to optimise the device to suit the needs and capabilities of every industry.” Subscribe Facebook Twitter ReddIt Pinterest WhatsApp Viber VK Email Telegram Print LINE The IFP Editorial Staff is composed of dozens of skilled journalists, news-writers, and analysts whose works are edited and published by experienced editors specialized in Iran News. The editor of each IFP Service is responsible for the report published by the Iran Front Page (IFP) news website, and can be contacted through the ways mentioned in the "IFP Editorial Staff" section.