Animal-Welfare Groups Form International Alliance to End Dog Meat Trade in Key Southeast Asian Countries - Trade posing health risk throughout Asia requires broad initiative
(29 May 2013) – Animal-protection organisations have formed Asia Canine Protection Alliance to end the inhumane dog meat trade responsible for slaughtering an estimated 5 million dogs for human consumption per year and posing a risk to human health. The ACPA focuses on a flashpoint in the global dog meat trade -- the supply of dogs from Thailand, Cambodia and Laos into Vietnam, where they are slaughtered and consumed.
The ACPA comprises Change for Animals Foundation, Humane Society International, Animals Asia and Soi Dog Foundation acting both locally within Asia and internationally on the issue.
Dog meat production has evolved from small-scale household businesses to a multi-million dollar industry of illicit dog traders, and the trade has been linked to outbreaks of trichinellosis, cholera and rabies. The World Health Organisation recently cited the trade as a contributing factor in recent outbreaks of rabies in Indonesia and cholera in Vietnam.
The dog meat trade is illegal in Thailand. As Thai authorities increasingly thwart traders, ACPA will work with the governments of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam on improving enforcement of regulations in place to halt the spread of rabies. Additionally, a conference in August will bring alliance members together with governmental and other authorities to work toward solutions.
Lola Webber, programmes leader, Change for Animals Foundation, said: “Whereas dogs used to be eaten for reasons of poverty, increasingly dog meat has become a delicacy, and often consumed for its perceived medicinal properties. However, the reality is that wherever in Asia the trade in dogs for human consumption occurs, it is either illegal or unregulated, posing a significant risk to both human health and animal welfare.”
Kelly O’Meara, director of companion animals and engagement, Humane Society International, said: “Investigations throughout Asia have documented severe cruelty at all stages of the dog meat trade, including sourcing, transport, sale and slaughter. Often, the trade in dogs for meat is perceived as a way to control stray and roaming dogs but this simply is not true. This new alliance will help the people and governments of Asia understand the harmful trade and work to eliminate rabies and other communicable diseases humanely and effectively.”
Throughout Asia where trade in dogs for meat occurs, countries are failing to comply with their own national animal disease prevention measures, and are not following recommendations for rabies control and elimination by organisations such as the World Health Organization and the World Organisation for Animal Health.
Tuan Bendixsen, Vietnam director, Animals Asia, said: “The trade in dogs for meat encourages the large-scale and illegal movement of dogs of unknown disease and vaccination status, and is impeding rabies elimination efforts in the region, posing a significant risk to the pledge made by the health ministers of Southeast Asia to eliminate rabies by 2020. Attempts to control and eliminate rabies will fail without addressing the trade in dogs for human consumption.”
John Dalley, vice president, Soi Dog Foundation, said: “It is crucial to tackle both the supply and the demand so as to stop the dogs from ever being captured by the smugglers. By providing humane and sustainable dog population management solutions, in conjunction with supporting adequate enforcement of existing regulations and responsible pet ownership, we can end a trade which causes the immense suffering of millions of dogs each year and poses a significant risk to human health.”