SOLVING THE PIZZLE OF CHINESE ANIMAL ATTITUDES
by Todd Hartley
My neighbor, who travels extensively for work, has a very odd sense of humor that I can only assume has remained unchanged since his sophomore year of high school. The way it manifests itself with regard to me is that when he returns from his forays to exotic locales he enjoys bringing me small gifts that have something to do with genitalia, or at least references to genitalia.
For example, once, following a trip to London, he brought me a can – unopened to this day – of something called spotted dick. I know that sounds like a terrifying disease, but it’s actually some sort of food product.
More recently, my friend returned from a trip to New Zealand with a small canister of capsules bearing the label “Deer Pizzle & Testicle.” I know what testicles are, but pizzle was a new one for me. Turns out pizzle is an old English word for penis, meaning the capsules contain 100 percent dried deer weiner and balls, which, according to the label, is an Oriental medicine that is “beneficial in stimulating male sexual drive and overall vigor.”
As you can probably guess, the container of deer pizzle is sitting unopened in my pantry right next to the spotted dick. Fortunately for me, my sexual drive has never required any stimulating that can’t be found on any of perhaps a million sites on the Internet.
I like to think I have a pretty good sense of humor, so I found the whole deer pizzle thing moderately amusing. I have to admit, though, I was a tiny bit disappointed in my neighbor for helping to perpetuate an industry that kills animals strictly for the purpose of grinding their parts into powders to help men get boners. Frankly, I think the very idea is not only stupid but unspeakably barbaric.
The one saving grace, in the case of the deer pizzle, is that deer are not native to New Zealand, meaning the ones whose private parts are now on my shelf were farm-raised and not wild. The practice of killing them for bogus medicinal purposes is still cruel, of course, but at least it isn’t decimating wild populations, something that can’t be said of similar practices in China, the epicenter of bizarre, animal-based medicines.
I’ve always wondered why a country with a billion people is so obsessed with medicines that help fuel sex drives. Judging by the evidence, you’d think the libido of Chinese people doesn’t need any help. It seems, however, that such is not the case, and as a result tigers, which are also killed for their penises, are on the verge of going extinct.
I used to assume this was because the Chinese were set in their ways, and old habits die hard. I’ve been forced to reconsider my opinion, though, in light of a new trend that makes the Chinese appear to revel in their cruelty to animals.
The latest atrocity in China, which is somehow completely legal, involves keyring ornaments. That might seem innocuous enough, until you realize that these particular keyring ornaments are small, sealed pouches with live animals in them. The animals, usually a turtle or two small fish, can live for a short time on the tiny amount of air or colored water sealed into the pouch with them before dying a horrible death, at which time I imagine they’re discarded and replaced with another tortured creature.
Sadly, but not surprisingly, the keyring ornaments are quite popular in China. One idiotic woman, quoted in a story on treehugger.com, said, “I’ll hang it in my office. It looks nice and brings good luck.” Why she thinks a dying animal is lucky is beyond me, but if there’s any justice in the universe, her good luck will consist of miraculously surviving when she’s run over by a bus.
Thankfully, a growing number of Chinese have begun calling for the animal keyring ornaments to be banned. In the meantime, however, concerned citizens have been purchasing them and setting the animals free, which I’m sure only encourages the monsters who put the animals in the pouches in the first place.
With any luck, the sale of such an awful product will be outlawed in the near future, though I harbor no such hope for the sale of tiger and deer penises. As for my neighbor, who may be going to China soon, I have faith he won’t bring me a keyring ornament … that is, of course, unless he manages to find one made from a pizzle.
Todd Hartley is suddenly very concerned about the kung pao pizzle he ordered last week at a Chinese restaurant.