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July 13, 2016

India’s brutal dog meat trade exposed as Humane Society International launches campaign to end "Nagaland Nightmare"

Humane Society International/India

  • Image from dog meat market in Nagaland, India. The dogs are placed in sacks and their mouths tied to ease with the illegal smuggling across state boundaries.

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Shocking video footage of dog meat death pits in Nagaland, India has been newly released by Humane Society International as the animal group  launches a major new campaign to end India’s brutal and illegal dog meat trade. With China’s infamous Yulin dog meat festival just finished, and South Korea’s month-long ‘Bok Nal’ days of dog meat eating beginning this weekend, HSI/India reveals that India too has a hidden and cruel trade of dogs for human consumption, despite the practice being illegal. In the northern state of Nagaland, HSI/India estimates that more than 30,000 stray and stolen pets are smuggled every year where they are sold in live markets and beaten to death with wooden clubs.

HSI/India has written to the Chief Minister of Nagaland to urge the government to implement the existing ban on dog meat consumption, patrol trade routes and shut down markets. The organization also launched an online petition calling on the authorities to enforce the dog meat ban immediately. HSI is encouraged by reports that the Nagaland government sent a letter to the Municipal Affairs department regarding a policy to stop the capture and slaughter of dogs. However, as a ban against this trade already exists, but is being ignored, HSI/India would like to see real and urgent action.

Fight the cruel dog meat trade in India.

The disturbing footage, taken at local markets in Kohima and Dimapur, show that the laws are being blatantly flouted with dogs packed in sacks with just their heads poking out, their mouth either stitched closed or bound tight with rope to keep them quiet, which is done to illegally smuggle them into Nagaland from neighbouring states. During transport and display in the markets, they are denied movement, food or water, before finally being clubbed to death. HSI/India gained unique access to one underground ‘death pit’ where dogs were seen being clubbed to death in front of each other, beaten multiple times in protracted and painful deaths. Most dogs were beaten several times before dying. 

HSI/India’s managing director, N. G Jayasimha, who witnessed the killing, said, “It has been a heart-breaking experience to go to Nagaland and watch these terrified dogs being subjected to such a horrific death. I see animal suffering every day as part of my job at Humane Society International/India, but the brutal dog trade of Nagaland is some of the worst inhumanity to animals I have ever witnessed, and it still haunts me. The underground pit in Kohima where we filmed was like a nightmare. The look of helplessness and fear in the eyes of these animals was devastating: hog-tied in a bag unable to move, their muzzles tied shut so they could hardly breathe, witnessing other dogs around them being beaten and killed. It was clear to me that many of the dogs were stolen pets still wearing their collars, but whether street or pet dogs, none of these animals should ever have to ensure such cruelty. This further reiterates the need for India to have stronger animal protection laws because even this brutal clubbing of a dog would only cost the killer a Rs 50 fine. In launching our campaign today, HSI/India is determined to end this trade, starting with working with the authorities to see that the ban is properly enforced.”

The consumption of dog meat is already against the law in India, contravening the country’s food safety regulations. The cruel transport and treatment of animals also violates animal transportation provisions and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. However, these provisions are being openly ignored by the traders and the local authorities are failing to implement the law in Nagaland state. Dog meat is considered taboo in India except in Nagaland and few other north eastern states where some people think it is healthy.

Across Asia an estimated 30 million dogs are killed annually for human consumption, with the trade most prevalent in China, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. HSI is one of the leading organizations in the world working to end the cruel dog meat trade, and public education about the cruelty involved plays a key part of the strategy. Support from government and local community can play a significant role in ending the misery these dogs endure in the dog meat trade.

Media Contact: Navamita Mukherjee, nmukherjee@hsi.org, 91-9985472760

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