Britain’s MPs have called for an end to Asia’s dog meat trade that sees around 30 million dogs a year brutally killed. Cross party MP support came as part of a Commons debate initiated by Robert Flello MP, the first ever British Parliament debate on the issue. The UK Government also pledged to take action.
Animal protection campaigners Humane Society International, Soi Dogs Foundation, Change for Animals and Animals Asia joined with TV vet Marc Abraham, MPs and rescue dogs Smoocher and Holly outside Parliament, ahead of the debate. Campaigners hope the debate is the first step towards greater political pressure on Asian nations to end the cruelty.
Foreign Minister James Duddridge said in the debate that the British Government would write to the embassies in all the countries concerned to ask what current action they are taking, and what additional action they can take, to address the dog meat issue, and it will also work with international health agencies such as the World Health Organisation and the World Organisation for Animal Health to investigate the human health implications of the dog meat trade.
Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, who attended the Parliament debate, said: “Asia’s dog meat trade is a brutal, largely illegal, profit-driven business that subjects millions of dogs to terrifying and painful deaths for a meat delicacy that no-one needs. Britain prides itself as a nation of animal lovers and world leaders in animal welfare, so it’s great that MPs have sent a strong message to Asian nations that dog meat cruelty must end. Next we need to see these good political intensions translate into meaningful political action.
“This is not about culture, this is about appalling levels of animal cruelty and abuse that must not be tolerated or ignored. These dogs have no-one but us to speak up for them, and we are proud of Britain’s MPs for refusing to stay silent. By doing so, MPs are showing solidarity with many thousands of people across China and other countries who want this cruelty to dogs to stop but feel powerless and voiceless. Hopefully this will bring us one step closer to the day when dogs are no longer dying for the dinner table.”
TV veterinarian Marc Abraham commented: “The dog meat trade is an ugly, dirty, and horrific business that sees millions of dogs kept in squalid conditions, subjected to horrendous treatment and then killed in some of the cruellest ways possible. Britain’s MPs have made it very clear today that such animal cruelty is intolerable regardless of where in the world it happens. Now we need to push on to ensure that the nations involved all take positive action.”
The majority of dogs dying for their meat are strays or pets snatched by thieves from the streets; South Korea is the only known Asian country to have an intensive dog farming industry that produces dogs solely for meat. China consumes around 20 million dogs a year, although dog meat is only eaten by a relatively small proportion of the population and is subject to vocal home-grown opposition. The trade also occurs in the Philippines, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.
China’s infamous annual Yulin dog meat ‘festival’ is one of a number of such events across the country, during which thousands of dogs and cats are trucked into the area from across China. HSI witnesses the Yulin event every year and has seen first-hand the large trucks packed with hundreds of dogs, off-loaded at back alley slaughterhouses during the early morning, and the dogs beaten to death in front of each other. The volume of animals is overwhelming, with Chinese authorities routinely turning a blind eye to a dog meat trade that blatantly relies on criminal activity to sustain it – illegal slaughterhouses without license to operate, and the stealing of pet cats and dogs from towns and cities. Many of the dogs are still wearing their collars when they reach the slaughterhouse.
HSI is a proud member of the Asia Canine Animal Protection coalition alongside Soi Dogs, Animals Asia and Change for Animals. HSI is one of the leading animal charities campaigning on the ground across Asia to end the dog meat trade. In China HSI has helped intercept dozens of dog meat trucks and rescued thousands of dogs headed for slaughter. In South Korea HSI has successfully negotiated the closure of three dog meat farms and transported almost 200 dogs to the United States for rehabilitation and adoption into loving homes.
Wendy Higgins, firstname.lastname@example.org, +44(0)7989 972 423