What they found has left animal lovers at the SPCA Serving Erie County in shock. The cat, according to police, was in a cage “marinating” in a mixture of crushed red peppers, chili pepper, salt and oil.
“It’s disgusting. It surprises me every day what people are capable of when it comes to violence, whether it is animals or people,” said Gina M. Browning, the SPCA’s director of public relations. “I’ve never heard of anything like this before.”
These stories are very interesting from a sociological point of view. I often tell a story in class about my grandparents visiting China many years ago. They were part of a larger tour group of Americans and they somehow got separated from the rest of the group. They wound up in a Native/Peasant flea market. Walking passed the various dealers selling their wares, they came upon an old me with a cage of birds, one of rabbits, and one of turtles in the front of his stand on one of the tables. There were also two large wicker baskets in the front of his stand. They opened one, and there were a bunch of dogs in it, the other had cats. It was not a pet store but a butcher shop -- yes they were dinner.
Now I know many will decry that Spot and Mr. Kitty are not food but pets, but you know there is a country of close to a billion people that look at us enjoying our Big Macs as eating their God with lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, with special sauce on a sesame seed bun. Yes, it's India where the cow is considered a sacred creatures imbued with God-like spiritual powers. This is part of the Hindu faith.
So what does this mean? One man's God is another man's Happy Meal?!
No. But what it does mean is that culture can be a relative thing: Culture consists of the mutually shared products, knowledge, and beliefs, of a human group or society. It includes all aspects of life within a given society. Culture consists of the beliefs, values, behavior, and material objects that define a people's way of life. Only humans depend on culture rather than instincts to ensure the survival of the species. Culture gives us the ability to actively shape the natural environment for ourselves
Ethnocentrism is the tendency to judge other cultures by the standards of our own culture. It is the belief that our culture is superior to all other cultures. People tend only to see their own narrow existence and lives – never seeing another culture’s reality or having any desire to see such a reality. This can create a sense that your way of existence is the best because it is the only one you know. It's a tendency to fear or despise (abnormal, weird, or inferior) other cultures. It's a case of prizing the familiar over the unknown – we tend to fear the unknown. This causes misunderstandings and problems in our own thought processes.
To combat this way of thinking about the world, we must adopt an open mind an acceptance of other cultures and societies. What is needed is a form of relativism – in this case – cultural relativism. This view recognizes that every culture is unique and valid. That just because it is different – it is not wrong, sick, weird, or to be fought. It is an effort to understand a culture the way members of that culture understand it. Judge culture by its own standards.