Groups in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia take in the dogs for adoption

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung/for HSI Nara Kim of HSI holds a puppy rescued at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea. May 6, 2020.

WASHINGTON (July 16, 2020)—More than 100 dogs saved from South Korea’s brutal dog meat trade are headed for loving homes in the United States. Humane Society International rescued the dogs as part of its campaign to end the dog meat trade and flew them to the U.S., where the Humane Society of the United States placed them with several Shelter and Rescue Partners in the mid-Atlantic.

Organizations taking in the rescued dogs include

“Rescuing animals from suffering and neglect is as important as ever,” said Kitty Block, CEO of Humane Society International and president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “Thanks to the hard work of our staff and partners — both in Korea and the U.S. — these dogs will now have the happy lives they deserve: with families who love them.”

Sixty of the dogs arriving in the United States were rescued from a single dog meat farm by HSI in May (the remaining dogs from that farm are scheduled to go to Canada). This was the 16th farm the organization has helped to close since 2015. The dogs stayed in a temporary shelter in South Korea until modification of travel restrictions made it possible for HSI to bring them to the United States.

While dog meat is eaten in several countries in Asia, South Korea is the only country that farms dogs for human consumption on a large scale. An estimated 2 million dogs a year are reared on thousands of dog meat farms across the country. The conditions on these farms are horrific – most dogs live their entire lives in barren wire cages without adequate shelter or veterinary care until they are brutally slaughtered, usually by electrocution or hanging.

HSI’s pioneering program works with Korean dog farmers to rescue their dogs and transition the farmers to more humane and profitable livelihoods. The farmers sign a 20-year contract, stipulating they will not breed dogs or any animals, and the cages are demolished to ensure that no animals will suffer on the property in future.

At each dog meat farm closure, a veterinarian vaccinates the dogs against the H3N2 (dog flu) virus, rabies, DHPP, corona virus, distemper and parvo. HSI then quarantines the dogs on the farm or at a temporary shelter with no dogs permitted in or out prior to transport overseas. The dogs are given another check-up before their flight to ensure they are healthy enough to fly.

So far, HSI has saved more than 2,000 dogs from Korean dog meat farms. The dogs are brought to the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom for adoption. While pet ownership is on the rise in South Korea, adopting instead of buying a dog is still not a widespread practice there.

Download photos of the dogs’ journey from South Korea to the United States (more photos will be added Thursday afternoon). HSI’s senior specialist for disaster operations Kelly Donithan filmed a Facebook Live from the plane before it took off from Incheon International Airport in Seoul.

Download photos and video of the dogs on Farm 16 and their rescue.

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Media contact: Nancy Hwa, Humane Society International, nhwa@hsi.org, 202-596-0808 (cell)

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung/for HSI Dogs rescued after the closure of a dog meat market just days before Bok Nal in 2019.

SEOUL—As South Korea’s Bok Nal season begins, marking the hottest days of summer during which dog meat ‘bosintang’ soup is commonly eaten, animal group Humane Society International is urging South Korea to join other countries across Asia in cracking down on the dog meat trade.

Although banned in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore, an estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat in other parts of Asia, including in South Korea where around 2 million dogs a year are raised on thousands of farms across the country. Many of them will be sold to butchers for Bok Nal season which begins this week, to be killed by electrocution and sold for soup. Although most people in South Korea don’t regularly eat dog, the belief that dog meat soup will cool the blood during the hot summer still holds with many, particularly the older generation. Despite the president’s Blue House pledge in 2018 to consider removing dogs from the legal definition of livestock and noting the need for the government “to consider solutions for dog meat related workers”, no such action has been taken.

In recent weeks a number of dog meat trade hot spot countries have started to take action to advance localised bans. In April, as part of Covid-19 food safety review, the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai introduced the mainland’s first legislatives bans against dog and cat meat consumption, in what HSI is hoping will set a trend for other Chinese cities to follow. Earlier this month, India’s Government of Nagaland issued a comprehensive ban on the trade in live dogs and dog meat, sparing an estimated 30,000 dogs a year who are brutally slaughtered in the region’s notorious ‘death pits’. And most recently, Siem Reap became the first province in Cambodia to ban the sale and consumption of dog meat.

Jeff Flocken, president of Humane Society International, said: “Countries and governments across Asia have been advancing regional and local bans on dog meat in recent times, in an effort to protect both animal welfare and public health. Yet in South Korea the government has so far failed to take action to end the suffering of millions of dogs languishing on farms to be killed for meat. During the Bok Nal summer season, many thousands of these dogs will die just to be made into soup, and that’s a habit we’re glad to see Koreans increasingly questioning. But we are also urging President Moon Jae-in to join with other countries across Asia by taking action to dismantle this outdated and cruel industry.”

HSI in South Korea works in partnership with dog meat farmers to permanently close down dog meat farms and help them switch to alternative livelihoods as part of the charity’s strategy to demonstrate that the cruel trade can be phased out. It’s a strategy that so far has seen HSI close down 16 dog meat farms and rescue more than 2,000 dogs who are adopted out to loving homes in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada through the help of placement partners.

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Media contact: Wendy Higgins, whiggins@hsi.org, +44 (0)7989 972 423

Humane Society International/India and People for Animals welcome “major turning point” in campaign to end dog meat cruelty

Humane Society International / India


Alokparna Sengupta/HSI Dogs tied up in sacks for the dog meat trade in Nagaland, India. 2015

NEW DELHI—In a landmark decision, India’s Government of the state of Nagaland has ended the brutal dog meat trade. The decision announced today by the cabinet will end the import, trade and sale of live dogs and dog meat. Humane Society International/India and People for Animals have campaigned for years to end India’s dog meat trade, and welcome this decision as a major turning point in ending the cruelty of India’s hidden dog meat trade.  HSI/India estimates that around 30,000 dogs a year are smuggled into Nagaland where they are sold in live markets and beaten to death with wooden clubs.

HSI/India’s campaign to end the dog meat trade was launched in 2016 with an investigation revealing shocking video footage of dog meat death pits in Nagaland. 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. Download footage.

Alokparna Sengupta, HSI/India’s managing director, said: “The suffering of dogs in Nagaland has long cast a dark shadow over India, and so this news marks a major turning point in ending the cruelty of India’s hidden dog meat trade.  Our own investigation in Nagaland showed terrified dogs being subjected to horrific deaths in some of the worst inhumanity to animals HSI/India has ever witnessed. And the dogs we have rescued from this trade over the years have had to learn to trust humans again after the cruel treatment they endured.”

Dog meat consumption is prohibited in India through the Food Safety and Standard (Food Products Standard and Additives) Regulation, 2011. However, this is poorly enforced, and in the states of Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh, thousands of dogs each year are illegally captured from the streets or stolen from homes, and cruelly transported from neighbouring states in gunny bags to be brutally slaughtered for consumption by being beaten to death.

Earlier this week, Indian Member of Parliament Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi made an urgent public appeal to urge the Government of Nagaland to stop the trade and consumption of dog meat after receiving new photographs of the trade from a Nagaland-based animal protection organization. The appeal led to more than 125,000 people writing to the Nagaland Government.

HSI/India’s Sengupta continued “We warmly thank Smt. Maneka Gandhi for her leadership and the vital impetus she has provided in achieving this decision from the Government of Nagaland so quickly after the latest evidence emerged. We also congratulate the Government of Nagaland and offer our support so that this decision can be robustly implemented. The Government of Nagaland has shown great leadership and we urge other states such as Mizoram, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh to follow by implementing a dog meat trade ban too.”

The Government of Nagaland is considering how to allot land to accommodate dogs rescued from the trade, and to promote the adoption of these dogs. HSI/India, which has rescued more than 150 dogs from the dog meat trade, will work with PFA and the state government to support adoption and implement the practical mechanisms needed to enforce the new order and end the dog meat trade.

HSI/India’s campaign is part of HSI’s broader campaign to end the dog meat trade across Asia in countries including South Korea, China, Indonesia and Vietnam.

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Media Contact: Shambhavi Tiwari, HSI/India media manager: stiwari@hsi.org

Humane Society International / China


Rescue of 10 dogs at market outside Yulin, China, June 2020

BEIJING—Chinese animal activists in Yulin have urged local authorities to embrace the national government’s recent declaration that dogs are companions not food, by halting the city’s dog meat festival due to take place from June 21. The activists rescued ten “friendly and innocent” puppies they found being sold for meat at a market outside Yulin, and filmed traders butchering dog carcasses, seemingly in defiance of the Ministry of Agriculture’s statement last month that dogs are not livestock.

The activists sent an eye-witness report to global animal protection organisation Humane Society International, confirming that most of the dog meat stalls and shops scattered around the city have now been consolidated into one central area called Nanchao market on the outskirts of Yulin. Yulin’s notorious Dongkou market that was once the epicentre of dog meat sales and the slaughter of live dogs, appeared relatively empty by comparison. HSI believes that centralizing dog meat trade activity could be the authorities’ attempt to make it easier to monitor and manage.

Dr Peter Li, China policy specialist for Humane Society International, said: “The Yulin authorities may want to keep a closer eye on all the dog meat trade activity by centralising it more or less at one market, possibly because of the increasingly controversial nature of the dog meat business. While some traders told the activists they were doing as much business as possible to make up for lack of sales from January to March due to the coronavirus, others reported that it is now harder to acquire live dogs from outside Guangxi province due to the government’s crackdown on trans-provincial animal transport. Instead of the huge slaughter trucks of previous years bringing in thousands of dogs at a time, they say it is more common now to see small truckloads of mostly locally sourced dogs from nearby towns.

“Momentum is building in China to tackle the dog and cat meat trades, and while I don’t think anyone expects Yulin’s dog meat trade to close up overnight, what the activists witnessed could indicate that things are shifting even in Yulin. The cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai have hopefully started a trend by banning dog and cat meat, and the declaration by the national government that dogs are considered companions rather than livestock, provides a compelling incentive for other cities to follow suit. I do hope Yulin will change not only for the sake of the animals, but also for the health and safety of its people. With new cases of COVID-19 tied to a Beijing market, allowing mass gatherings to trade in and consume dog meat in crowded markets and restaurants in the name of a festival poses a significant public health risk.”

The activists found that stalls around the Nanchao market were predominantly selling dog meat rather than live dogs, but when they travelled further afield to a market just outside Yulin, they discovered a dog meat stall offering to slaughter and butcher a cage full of puppies. On questioning the stall holder about how they acquired the puppies, the proprietor agreed to let the activists take them.

Activist Jenifer Chen said: “I couldn’t believe that these friendly and innocent puppies would be killed for food if we hadn’t been there by chance, and I can’t believe that anyone would even want to eat these adorable little darlings. This was my first trip to Yulin and what I saw at the market really shocked me. My hands were trembling when I took the first puppy out of the cage. He kept licking my hands, and unbeknown to him I could easily have been a dog meat eater. People often assume that these horrific scenes are normal for most Chinese people to see, but it’s just not true. I was so upset to see the puppies under the sizzling hot summer sun, but I was happy that we were able to save them from the butcher’s club. Like the Chinese government said, these puppies are companions not livestock, and cities like Yulin should put those words into practice and end this shameful dog meat trade.”

Download video and photos from Yulin, June 2020.

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Media contact: Wendy Higgins, Director of International Media: whiggins@hsi.org

Humane Society International dismayed at listing of farmed wildlife as livestock despite COVID-19 risks

Humane Society International / China


62 dogs rescued from Yulin slaughterhouse June 2019.

WASHINGTON—Just three weeks ahead of China’s infamous Yulin dog meat festival at which thousands of dogs are killed for consumption, China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has made official its declaration that dogs are companions and not “livestock” for eating.

The official announcement today came as the Ministry published its final Directory of Genetic Resources of Livestock and Poultry, followed by a lengthy explanation of why dogs are not included in that livestock list.

Dr Peter Li, China policy specialist for animal protection group Humane Society International, which campaigns across Asia for an end to the dog and cat meat trades, welcomed the news, saying: “Now that the Chinese government has officially recognised dogs as companions and not livestock, we are hopeful that China will take stronger steps to hasten the end of the dog and cat meat trade for which millions of animals continue to suffer every year. The announcement presents cities across China with the perfect opportunity to act upon the government’s words by protecting dogs and cats from the meat trade thieves and slaughterhouses. 

In just a few weeks’ time, the dog slaughterhouses of Yulin city will fill up with terrified dogs awaiting brutal slaughter for its infamous festival. A great many of those dogs will have been stolen from homes and streets before being transported to Yulin. They will be precisely the much loved companions and helper dogs referred to in the national government’s statement as being not for food. The Yulin festival is a bloody spectacle that does not reflect the mood or eating habits of the majority of the Chinese people, and its continuation flouts the sentiment expressed by the Ministry of Agriculture. As the Ministry observed, attitudes and appetites about dogs have changed and so now it is time for Yulin’s dog slaughterhouses to lay down the butcher’s knife, and consign the festival to the history books.”

The Ministry’s official statement confirmed that the majority of people who participated in the public consultation process opposed including dogs as livestock. It went on to say that dogs have a long history of domestication from traditionally helping guard the family home, helping in hunting, to now being companions and pets, search and rescue police dogs, assisting those with visual impairment, and generally having an intimate relationship with humans. It noted that the United Nations FAO livestock list does not include dogs, and that internationally dogs are not treated as livestock. The statement concluded by reflecting on the fact that times are changing, and that people’s awareness and diets are changing too including changes in some traditions and customs regarding dogs.

The finalized livestock list includes almost all the animal species published in an earlier draft proposal. A number of wild animals are now officially declared “livestock” such as sika deer, red deer, reindeer, alpaca, guinea-fowl, ring-necked pheasant, partridge, mallard, ostrich, and the three most commonly farmed wild species for China’s fur trade – raccoon dog, silver fox and mink. A separate list of aquatic species is expected to follow.

Dr Teresa Telecky, vice president of wildlife at HSI, says: “The inclusion of wild animal species such as foxes, raccoon dogs and mink, on the finalised livestock list is highly regrettable. Intensively farming these animals in commercial captive breeding environments presents insurmountable welfare challenges as well as potential human health risks from zoonotic diseases. It is self-defeating to close wildlife markets on the one hand while on the other sanctioning the rearing of millions of wild animals in overcrowded and stressful conditions. Rebranding them as livestock instead of the wildlife that they truly are, doesn’t remove the risk to humans or the suffering of those animals. We strongly hope that China removes these species when the list is next reviewed.”

 Facts about China’s dog meat trade

  1. Thirty million dogs a year are killed across Asia for meat. There are estimated to be more than 91.49 million dogs and cats kept as pets in China. An estimated 10 million dogs a year are killed for China’s dog meat trade.
  2. The World Health Organization warns that the dog trade spreads rabies and increases the risk of cholera.
  3. Most people in China don’t eat dogs, in fact dog meat is only eaten infrequently by less than 20% of the Chinese population. A 2017 survey revealed that even in Yulin, home of the notorious dog meat festival, most people (72%) don’t regularly eat dog meat despite efforts by dog meat traders to promote it. Nationwide across China, a 2016 survey conducted by Chinese polling company Horizon, and commissioned by Chinese group China Animal Welfare Association in collaboration with Humane Society International and Avaaz, found that most Chinese citizens (64%) want to see an end to the Yulin festival, more than half (51.7%) think the dog meat trade should be completely banned, and the majority (69.5%) have never eaten dog meat.

Download video and photos of China’s dog meat trade.

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Media contact: Wendy Higgins, whiggins@hsi.org

 

 

Farmers offered $88 per porcupine, $84 per civet cat, or $17 per kg of cobra snakes

Humane Society International / China


Trevor Mogg/Alamy Stock photo Live animals for sale at a market in China in 2020

WASHINGTON—Wildlife farmers in two provinces in mainland China are being offered a government buy-out to facilitate a move away from breeding wild species for consumption, as part of the country’s crackdown on the wildlife trade in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The plans, published on May 15th, see Hunan and Jiangxi provinces provide an exit strategy for wildlife farmers who will be compensated to allow them to transition to alternative livelihoods such as growing fruit, vegetables, tea plants, or herbs for traditional Chinese medicine. Some may choose to switch to breeding other animals such as pigs and chickens.

On February 24th, the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress banned wild animal consumption for food, and wildlife campaigners at Humane Society International hope that the province-sponsored buy-out plans will help to ensure the ban is a success.

Hunan province will offer farmers compensation to the tune of 120 yuan per kilogram of cobra, king rattle snake or rat snake; 75 yuan per kilogram of bamboo rat; 630 yuan per porcupine; 600 yuan per civet cat; and 378 yuan and 2,457 yuan per wild goose and Chinese muntjac deer respectively.

Dr Peter Li, Humane Society International’s China policy specialist, said: “By subsidising wildlife breeders to transition to alternative livelihoods, these provinces are demonstrating global leadership on this issue, which other provinces and countries must now follow. Chinese farmers not only have an opportunity to leave a trade that poses a direct threat to human health – something that can no longer be tolerated in light of COVID – but also to transition to more humane and sustainable livelihoods such as growing plant foods popular in Chinese cuisine. This is a model for change that Humane Society International has been putting into practice with dog meat farmers in South Korea for some years, with dog farmers transitioning over to farming chillies, mushrooms, and water parsley. In China you can easily imagine the vast sheds that once factory farmed bamboo rats and other unfortunate wildlife, being adapted to grow mushrooms and herbs instead.”

Dr Li believes the closure of China’s destructive wildlife consumption trade could have the advantageous consequence of boosting the availability of healthy plant-based foods, in line with China’s national dietary guidelines recommending a 50% reduction in meat consumption. “People in China are increasingly interested in plant-based foods, in fact, a more plant-centred diet is far more traditional than one based on wildlife meats, or intensively farmed domesticated animals, as Chinese cuisines have led the way with plant proteins such as tofu and seitan.”

The buy-out plan does have a blind spot, it does not include the vast number of wild animals bred in China not for consumption but for fur, traditional Chinese medicine and for entertainment/pet trade/display. China’s overall wildlife trade is worth around 520 billion yuan ($73 billion/£57 billion), but although global focus has understandably been on wildlife consumption trade worth 125 billion yuan ($18 billion/£14 billion), the largest proportion of China’s wildlife farming – the fur industry worth 389 billion yuan ($55 billion/£43billion) annually – is conspicuous by its absence from any COVID-19 related bans or buy-outs. In fact there are plans afoot in China to reclassify the millions of raccoon dogs, foxes and mink farmed for fur from “wildlife” to “livestock” as part of a new resource list by the Ministry of Agriculture, State Forestry and Grassland Bureau.

Dr Teresa Telecky, HSI’s vice president of wildlife, said: “Rebranding fur-bearing wildlife as livestock doesn’t alter the fact that there are insurmountable challenges to keeping these species in commercial captive breeding environments, and that their welfare needs simply can’t be met. In addition, there’s clear evidence that some of these species can act as intermediate hosts of viruses, such as COVID-19, which is why governments around the world must stop all trading in wildlife.”

As part of the buy-out plans in Hunan and Jiangxi provinces, the fate of the wildlife stock is also a welfare issue of concern. There are three options proposed – release of animals into the wild in suitable and non-residential habitat; utilisation by other industries such as zoos, laboratory research, and traditional medicine; or mass culling.

HSI’s Dr Li said: “While the transition of wildlife farmers to other livelihoods is of course a very positive move for both people and animals, a really sad inevitable consequence of that is that a vast number of the wild animals being mass produced on farms across China will likely be culled or moved to other exploitative industries such as zoos and traditional medicine where animal welfare is typically extremely low and conditions woefully sub-standard. Culling programs in China and other countries in Asia can also involve truly barbaric methods such as live burial, and so we really hope to see the Chinese authorities mandating against such cruelty. The wild animal breeding farms and factories facing closure and transition must not sacrifice animal welfare in an effort to implement the new changes.”

Only farms that have been operating legally with breeding permits before February 24th are eligible for compensation. The initial roll-out covers 14 species of farmed wildlife. A second group of farmed species will be announced after the finalisation of the government’s “livestock” list.

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Media contact: Wendy Higgins, Director of International Media – whiggins@hsi.org

40 million dogs and cats killed annually despite rabies risk

Humane Society International / Global


Hoang Xuan Thuy Live dogs being sold by a dog trader in Vietnam May 2020

WASHINGTON—Animal protection groups from around the world have joined forces to urge governments across Asia to act urgently to permanently shut down unsanitary and brutal dog and cat meat markets and trades, amid growing global concern about zoonotic diseases and public health danger zones. Member organisations from the Asia for Animals coalition, including Humane Society International, FOUR PAWS International and Change for Animals Foundation, say the dog and cat meat trades pose a serious danger from the deadly rabies virus and other notifiable diseases, such as cholera, with dogs and cats often traded and slaughtered in the very same wildlife markets as wild animals who are the focus of COVID-19 concern.

Download video & photos (taken April, May 2020) of dogs on sale at markets in China, Vietnam and Indonesia.

An estimated 30 million dogs and 10 million cats are killed every year for the meat trade, mainly in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, India, and Laos. Most of this trade is in dogs and cats stolen from homes and back yards, as well as owned and roaming dogs snatched from the streets, with well-established links to the spread of rabies, cholera and trichinosis.

Kelly O’Meara, vice president of companion animals at Humane Society International, said: “Across the globe, nations are united in a collective response to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, including calls to close wildlife markets that can act as a petri dish for zoonotic diseases. Within that context, it is only responsible for governments across Asia to also tackle the dog and cat meat trades that, while not connected to COVID-19, undoubtedly pose their own significant human health risks, such as the spread of trichinosis, cholera and rabies that kill tens of thousands of people every year. With hundreds of dogs at a time crammed onto trucks and driven across provincial and even international borders to filthy slaughterhouses and markets where these highly stressed animals are then displayed and slaughtered alongside myriad wild and domestic species, it’s easy to see how this trade is not only utterly brutal, but also the perfect breeding ground for the next serious public health disaster. New pathogens could jump to humans in a number of ways – a dog trader wounded during the day’s slaughter, a local consumer eating cross-contaminated dog meat bought at a nearly stall, or a tourist breathing in microscopic blood droplets as they sight-see in the market. This is no time for complacency or turning a blind eye; the dog and cat meat trades need to be shut down with urgency.”

The rabies virus has been found in brain specimens of dogs traded for human consumption in China, Vietnam and Indonesia. Not only is there a risk in handling the dogs, and in the extremely unsanitary slaughter and butchery process, but there is also some reason for concern surrounding consumption itself, likely through contamination due to unhygienic conditions. The cholera bacterium has also been found in samples of dog meat, equipment and waste-water released from slaughterhouses in Hanoi, Vietnam. There have also been historical reports in Vietnam and the Philippines of patients with signs of rabies infection who had been involved in preparing and eating dogs and cats who may have been infected.

In a statement to the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition, the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed, “There are reports that dog-meat markets have a higher rate of rabies than the general dog population, as people often sell dogs to the markets when they act sick; some of these sick dogs have rabies.… Furthermore, there are at least three published reports of humans acquiring rabies from activities associated with the dog meat market, emphasizing that the risk is very real.”  

In many countries, the trade in dogs and cats for meat is largely fueled by criminal activity. Lola Webber, from the Change for Animals Foundation, says: “The dog and cat meat trades in Indonesia rely on criminal activity and there is increasing frustration among pet owners at the lack of action by law enforcement to deter or punish armed thieves who terrorise neighbourhoods and steal people’s dogs and cats. Once stolen, the animals are sold to slaughterhouses, markets and restaurants, kept in squalid conditions often alongside many other species of animals from various sources. The slaughter of dogs and cats is brutal, they are bludgeoned in the streets and then blowtorched, often whilst still alive. The streets are covered in pools of blood and the remains of other slaughtered animals. The cruelty alone is horrifying, but the risk of disease transmission is huge for anyone trading, slaughtering, butchering or even visiting these live animal markets. The Indonesian Government pledged it would ban the trade in August 2018, but we’ve seen very little commitment for action from provincial or central government. If COVID-19 isn’t a wake-up call, I don’t know what will be. If you told me tomorrow that there was a disease outbreak originating in one of the markets in North Sulawesi, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised, and with the number of tourists visiting these places, the result could be terrifying.”

In Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, China and parts of India, it is not unusual to see dogs and cats sold and slaughtered alongside other species including wildlife such as bats, snakes and rats, as well as other animals such as chickens and ducks. With growing global concern regarding the emergence of novel and deadly viruses from markets where multiple species are sold, the campaign groups are urging governments to take action. These markets provide an ideal environment for viral recombination and transmission between species, with potentially deadly results.

Cambodia’s government is being urged to publicly dispel myths that dog meat has medicinal benefits, including the belief it can ward off viruses including the one that causes COVID-19. Veterinarian Katherine Polak with FOUR PAWS in Southeast Asia, says: “The proliferation of completely unfounded, unscientific misinformation about dog meat is really worrying, with physicians even recommending dog meat to patients to treat various ailments. While we completely appreciate that cultures and habits are not easily changed, the government has a responsibility to safeguard the health of the nation as well as comply with global animal welfare standards. In Cambodia, dogs are being bludgeoned and drowned in fetid drowning pits, with total disregard for rabies which is endemic across Asia, while the government continues to do very little to protect people or animals.

 Asia overview

  • Vietnam: An estimated 5 million dogs and 1 million cats are killed every year despite laws and regulations being in place to make it illegal. Implementation is extremely poor, with traders having a total disregard for law enforcement. In 2018, Hanoi government officials called for an end to the dog meat industry, citing health and public image concerns. A pledge to phase out the slaughtering and trading of dogs for meat by 2021 is yet to be actioned, but a nationwide crackdown is needed to avoid the trade simply shifting elsewhere.
  • India: The cruel transport and slaughter of dogs violates several provisions of India’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and the consumption of dogs is illegal under the Food Safety and Standard Regulations in India, and yet in the north-eastern states of Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura and others, an estimated ten thousand dogs a year continue to be brutally bludgeoned to death in ‘killing pits’. Dogs are also smuggled from across Assam, West Bengal within India and Bangladesh and Myanmar from outside of India.
  • Indonesia: An estimated 2 million dogs and significant number of cats are killed a year, with many hotspots trading tens of thousands of dogs every month. In addition to slaughterhouses and dog meat-selling restaurants operating throughout most provinces of Indonesia, in dog meat-eating hotspots such as North Sulawesi, live dogs and cats are sold and slaughtered in live animal markets, where conditions are incredibly unsanitary, and domestic and wildlife animals and meats are sold alongside each other. The Dog Meat Free Indonesia (DMFI) coalition has conducted nationwide investigations documenting the inherent cruelty, illegality and dangers of the dog and cat meat trades.
  • China: An estimated 10+ million dogs and 4 million cats are killed for the meat trade annually, the vast majority of whom are stolen pets. There is no nationwide animal protection legislation in China, however in recent weeks the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai have introduced city-wide bans on dog and cat meat consumption, and the national government also publicly stated that dogs are considered companions not livestock. This distinction could inspire other cities in mainland China to follow this lead and introduce bans.
  • South Korea: Up to 2 million dogs a year are intensively reared on farms, without veterinary treatment or basic welfare such as water provision. Humane Society International works co-operatively with the growing number of dog farmers seeking an exit from the trade, to close dog farms and rescue dogs. Many dogs HSI encounters on these farms are former pets abandoned at the farm gates, or dogs originally bred for the pet trade.
  • Cambodia: Up to 3 million dogs are killed each year in the Kingdom, with an unknown number exported into Vietnam for consumption. According to a market research study conducted by FOUR PAWS, a total of 53.6% of respondents indicated that they have eaten dog meat at some time in their lives (72.4% of men and 34.8% of women), however the practice remains controversial among Khmer people. Supplying the demand, dogs are routinely snatched from the streets, stolen from homes, or traded for aluminium pots and pans and trafficked across the country to slaughterhouses and restaurants. There are more than 100 dog meat restaurants in the capital city of Phnom Penh alone, most having opened in the last 2-3 years.
  • Lao PDR: The consumption of dogs in Laos remains relatively undocumented. However, reports of theft and trafficking of dogs for consumption are common. Laos lacks any animal welfare laws, including those that would prohibit killing dogs for consumption.

Download video & photos (taken April, May 2020) of dogs on sale at markets in China, Vietnam and Indonesia.

ENDS

Media contact: Wendy Higgins, Director of International Media: whiggins@hsi.org

“There is no future in this dog meat industry,” says farmer Kim

Humane Society International / Global


Jean Chung/for HSI Dogs are shown locked in a cage at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea, on Saturday, February 8, 2020.

SEOUL—More than 70 dogs found languishing on a South Korean dog meat farm by animal charity Humane Society International have been given a second chance by the farmer’s decision to quit the dog meat industry once and for all. Mr. Nakseon Kim has been breeding dogs for nearly 40 years, but he jumped at the chance to leave dog farming behind when HSI offered to help him start a new life growing cabbages and other vegetables instead.

Amid growing South Korean opposition to eating dogs and a series of new regulations and court rulings cracking down on the industry, farmers like Mr. Kim are increasingly looking for an exit strategy but with one request – to save their dogs. After years of sending the animals to slaughter, Mr. Kim is not the first farmer to be relieved to learn that HSI rescues, rehabilitates and seeks happy homes for all the dogs.

“It may sound odd but I started dog farming because I like dogs,” said Mr. Kim, “I’ve never actually been a big fan of dog meat myself. I had a few dogs so I began breeding them and when I had 20 or 30 I started to sell them because I thought it would be good money but it hasn’t really worked out that way. I earn nothing from this dog farm, and pressure from the government is increasing and it’s not a good business at all.”

On his property in Hongseong, Mr. Kim breeds tosas, Jindos, poodles, beagles, huskies, golden retrievers, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas and Boston terriers for two abusive industries – the meat trade and the puppy mill trade. In rows of dilapidated cages, surrounded by animal waste, junk and garbage, some dogs are destined for the slaughterhouse, and others the unscrupulous puppy mill trade. Despite Korea’s dog meat industry attempting to claim a difference between pet dogs and “meat dogs”, the reality is they are all just dogs whose fate ultimately depends on where greatest profits can be made.

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s dog meat campaigner, said: “Unfortunately, it is still very common in South Korea to see live puppies for sale in pet shop windows. But what most Koreans will be shocked to learn is that these same puppies could easily have ended up being killed for human consumption instead. Whether they live or die, they are all born in this miserable place, their mothers intensively bred over and over until they are exhausted and eventually sold to slaughterhouses. I’m so glad that this nightmare has ended for these lovely dogs, but until the government commits to phase out this dreadful industry, the nightmare continues for millions more. As Koreans we need to be their voice and call for an end to the dog farming and dog meat industries.”

Marking the 16th dog farm that HSI has closed since its farmer transition program began in 2015, all the dogs will eventually be flown to partner shelters in Canada and the United States to seek adoptive homes. First, they are being relocated to a temporary boarding facility in South Korea while the organization waits for COVID-19 travel restrictions to relax. Once safely off the farm, the dogs will immediately receive a full veterinary check-up and settle into their temporary quarters where they can begin their rehabilitation.

HSI hopes its model for change will hasten an end to the controversial and cruel industry by demonstrating to the Korean government that a farmer-supported phase out of farms can work.

Mr. Kim said: “It’s too much work and I’ve got too old to be doing this for no profit. I just want to get some rest from all of this now. I’ve had enough, especially now that I have to pay for dog food since the local school decided to stop giving me free kitchen waste. I don’t think there are many people in South Korea who are willing to run dog meat farms anymore. There is no future in this dog meat industry. Once HSI helps me close my dog farm, I think I will start to grow crops instead like lettuce, cabbage, or other greens to sell to restaurants. That’s a business with a future.”

Dog meat consumption has been steadily declining in South Korea, and is banned or severely restricted in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. In 2018 both Indonesia and Vietnam’s capital city Hanoi pledged an end to the dog meat trade, and most recently in April 2020 the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai banned dog and cat meat consumption following a public statement by the Chinese government that dogs are considered companions and not livestock. As global pressure builds for countries across Asia to permanently close wildlife wet markets amid coronavirus risks, the array of undeniable human health risks posed by the dog meat trade in South Korea and across Asia, is strengthening calls for action across the continent.

Facts:   

  • Up to 2 million dogs a year are bred and raised on thousands of dog meat farms across South Korea.
  • Dog meat consumption is declining in South Korea, particularly among younger generations, and most Koreans don’t eat it regularly. A June 2018 survey by Gallup Korea showed that 70% of South Koreans say they will not eat dog meat in future. Still, dog meat remains popular during the Bok days of summer in July and August based on its perceived curative properties during the hot and humid summer months.
  • There has been a series of recent crackdowns by authorities to curb the dog meat industry. In November 2018, HSI/Korea assisted Seongnam City Council in shutting down Taepyeong dog slaughterhouse (the country’s largest dog slaughterhouse), followed in July 2019 by the closure of Gupo dog meat market in Busan (South Korea’s second largest dog meat market after Moran market, which has also closed), and a declaration in October last year by the mayor of Seoul that the city is “dog slaughter free”. Most recently, last November HSI’s partner group Korea Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) won a Supreme Court case against a dog farmer who electrocuted dogs in violation of the Animal Protection Act, a judgement that could have huge implications for an industry that relies almost entirely on this brutal and protracted killing method.
  • HSI has rescued more than 2,000 dogs from South Korea’s meat industry. At each dog meat farm closure, HSI has a veterinarian test for the presence of the H3N2 virus (“canine influenza”), at the time the dogs receive their rabies, DHPP and coronavirus vaccines. HSI also vaccinates the dogs for distemper and parvo. HSI then quarantines the dogs on the farm or at a shelter for at least 30 days, and the dogs are health certified again prior to transport overseas.

Download broll video and photos of the rescue.

ENDS

Media contacts
United Kingdom and international media: Wendy Higgins, whiggins@hsi.org, +44 (0)7989 972 423
United States: Nancy Hwa, nhwa@hsi.org, 1-202-596-0808
South Korea: Nara Kim, nkim@hsi.org

Rescued dogs to be temporarily sheltered in Seoul

Humane Society International / Canada


Jean Chung/for HSI Dogs are shown locked in a cage at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea, February 8, 2020.

MONTREAL –More than 70 dogs found suffering by HSI on a hybrid dog meat farm and puppy mill in South Korea have been rescued and relocated to a temporary boarding facility in South Korea. Once safely off the farm, the dogs will immediately receive a full veterinary check-up and settle into their temporary quarters where they can begin their rehabilitation.

Many of the dogs will eventually be flown to HSI/Canada’s Montreal emergency shelter, where over 450 dogs from the dog meat trade have been successfully rehabilitated before being placed in forever homes. This marks the 16th dog farm that HSI has closed since its pioneering dog meat farm transition program began in 2015.

Several breeds were found on this facility, including tosas, Jindos, poodles, beagles, huskies, golden retrievers, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas and Boston terriers. The facility supplied two abusive industries: the meat trade, and the puppy mill trade. In rows of dilapidated cages, surrounded by animal waste, junk and garbage, some dogs were destined for the slaughterhouse, and others the unscrupulous puppy mill trade.

Émilie-Lune Sauvé, senior campaign manager for HSI/Canada, stated: “We are so relieved to know that these dogs, who have endured such misery, are safe at last. But millions more are still confined on dog meat farms in South Korea and this industry needs to be shut down for good. We urge South Korea to follow the example of the two cities in China that have recently banned dog meat trade, and end this suffering forever.”

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s dog meat campaigner, added: “Unfortunately, it is still very common in South Korea to see live puppies for sale in pet shop windows. But what most Koreans will be shocked to learn is that these same puppies could easily have ended up being killed for human consumption instead. Whether they live or die, they are all born in this miserable place, their mothers intensively bred over and over until they are exhausted and eventually sold to slaughterhouses. I’m so glad that this nightmare has ended for these lovely dogs, but until the government commits to phase out this dreadful industry, the nightmare continues for millions more.”

Opposition to eating dogs is growing steadily in South Korea, and a series of new regulations and court rulings are cracking down on this cruel industry.

To download broll video and photos of the rescue, click here.

Facts:

  • Up to 2 million dogs a year are bred and raised on thousands of dog meat farms across South Korea.
  • Dog meat consumption is declining in South Korea, particularly among younger generations, and most Koreans don’t eat it regularly. A June 2018 surveyby Gallup Korea showed that 70% of South Koreans say they will not eat dog meat in future. Still, dog meat remains popular during the Bok days of summer in July and August based on its perceived curative properties during the hot and humid summer months.
  • There has been a series of recent crackdowns by authorities to curb the dog meat industry. In November 2018, HSI/Korea assisted Seongnam City Council in shutting down Taepyeong dog slaughterhouse (the country’s largest dog slaughterhouse), followed in July 2019 by the closure of Gupo dog meat market in Busan (South Korea’s second largest dog meat market after Moran market, which has also closed), and a declaration in October last year by the mayor of Seoul that the city is “dog slaughter free”. Most recently, last November HSI’s partner group Korea Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) won a Supreme Court case against a dog farmer who electrocuted dogs in violation of the Animal Protection Act, a judgement that could have huge implications for an industry that relies almost entirely on this brutal and protracted killing method.
  • HSI has rescued more than 2,000 dogs from South Korea’s meat industry. At each dog meat farm closure, HSI has a veterinarian test for the presence of the H3N2 virus (“canine influenza”), at the time the dogs receive their rabies, DHPP and coronavirus vaccines. HSI also vaccinates the dogs for distemper and parvo. HSI then quarantines the dogs on the farm or at a shelter for at least 30 days, and the dogs are health certified again prior to transport overseas.
  • Dog meat consumption has been steadily declining in South Korea, and is banned or severely restricted in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. As global pressure builds for countries across Asia to permanently close wildlife wet markets amid coronavirus risks, the array of undeniable human health risks posed by the dog meat trade in South Korea and across Asia, is strengthening calls for action across the continent.

-30-

Media contact: Christopher Paré, Director of Communications, HSI/Canada – Cell: 438-402-0643, email: cpare@hsi.org

Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, with active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation, farm animal welfare and animals in research. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International which, together with its affiliates, constitutes one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide and on the web at hsicanada.ca.

Humane Society International says ban reflects Chinese people’s love for their pets

Humane Society International / China


AP Images for HSI A cat climbs up the cage at the slaughterhouse in Yulin, China, trying to escape. This cat was later rescued by Peter Li, China Specialist with HSI. May 2015.

BEIJING—The city of Zhuhai in Guangdong province has become the second city in mainland China to ban the consumption of dog and cat meat, and of wildlife, in what campaigners at animal charity Humane Society International hope will be the start of a domino effect of progressive legislation across China to end these brutal trades that see an estimated 10 million dogs and 4 million cats killed every year, mostly stolen pets and strays.

Zhuhai’s ban comes after the city of Shenzhen banned dog and cat meat earlier this month, and just days after China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs publicly stated that dogs are companion animals and not “livestock.” The Standing Committee of the People’s Congress of Zhuhai Municipality stated that lawmakers must adhere to China’s livestock “white list” of animals for human consumption. Other cities in mainland China are believed to be considering bans.

Humane Society International has been at the forefront of campaigns to end the dog and cat meat trade across Asia for many years and has helped to rescue thousands of dogs and cats from China, South Korea, India and Indonesia. In South Korea the charity works cooperatively with dog meat farmers to help them transition to alternative humane livelihoods, and lobbies regional and national governments to advance legislation.

Dr. Peter Li, HSI’s China policy specialist, welcomed the Zhuhai ban, saying: “Zhuhai’s ban on dog and cat meat eating is thrilling news for all those in China and around the world who have campaigned for so long to end this brutal trade. Coming so soon after Shenzhen’s ban and the government’s historic statement classifying dogs as companions, we hope this will be the start of a domino effect of progressive legislation across China with other cities following suit. With so many millions of dogs and cats falling victim to the meat trade, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that most people in China don’t eat dogs and cats, and that for years there has been enormous public support there for an end to the cruelty. So now it would seem that in the absence of a national ban, cities are taking matters into their own hands and reflecting the mood of the people.”

“This isn’t just good news for animal protection, it’s very good news for public health because the dog meat trade poses a significant human health risk, linked to the spread of trichinellosis, cholera and rabies. Rabies has been found in dogs traded for human consumption in China, Vietnam and Indonesia, and is easily spread as thousands of dogs are crammed on slaughter trucks and driven across provincial borders to markets and slaughterhouses.” 

Facts about China’s dog meat trade

  1. Thirty million dogs a year are killed across Asia for meat. There are estimated to be more than 91.49 million dogs and cats kept as pets in China. An estimated 10 million dogs a year are killed for China’s dog meat trade.
  2. The World Health Organization warns that the dog trade spreads rabies and increases the risk of cholera.
  3. Most people in China don’t eat dogs, in fact dog meat is only eaten infrequently by less than 20% of the Chinese population. A 2017 survey revealed that even in Yulin, home of the notorious dog meat festival, most people (72%) don’t regularly eat dog meat despite efforts by dog meat traders to promote it. Nationwide across China, a 2016 survey conducted by Chinese polling company Horizon, and commissioned by Chinese group China Animal Welfare Association in collaboration with Humane Society International and Avaaz, found that most Chinese citizens (64%) want to see an end to the Yulin festival, more than half (51.7%) think the dog meat trade should be completely banned, and the majority (69.5%) have never eaten dog meat.

Download video and photos of China’s dog meat trade.

END

Media contact: Wendy Higgins, whiggins@hsi.org