But the reason we shouldn’t eat dogs is related to the same reason it is more heinous and hateful to burn a synagogue than a community center, or that it is more of a violation to burn down a man’s home than the two rental properties he owns of an equivalent dollar value. The spaces, objects, and even animals we sanctify with our respect, friendship, and time really do enter into different moral categories. It is not inherently evil to smash a picture, but it is a gesture of hatred to tear a beloved family photo.

Societies like Korea, where dogs have been eaten and kept as pets, even come up with different categories of dogs to separate the ones that are sanctified by human friendship, and those that are not and therefore can be eaten. As Americans, with our own history and sense of ethics, we would probably never develop this distinction, and that’s okay. We’re fine with diversity when it comes to other cultural manifestations, like manners, another dimension of human behavior with moral implications. It is a human wrong to be inhospitable, but hospitality may have completely different expressions and taboos from one culture to the next. So, too, with our taboos on eating and animals.