Humane Society International / India

Lance Murphey

Dehradun—Café Maya A Culture, a Dehradun-based café, has teamed up with Humane Society International India to join the global movement towards serving more plant-based, sustainable food, and has committed to replace 30% of all their meat, dairy and egg-based menu items with delicious plant-based dishes by 2022. Further, the café is also increasing their current menu to include all-new plant-based options to their menu, including dishes made with tofu, vegan whipped cream, coconut milk and plant-based meat.  In responding to consumer demand for more plant-based options, Café Maya A Culture’s menu changes will impact more than 1 lakh meals per year.

Consumers across the globe are increasingly swapping out animal products for plant-based ones, and responsible food businesses and institutions are responding to this opportunity to better cater to this vibrant and growing market. Consumer demand for this change has been driven by the mounting evidence of links between the intensive rearing of animals on factory farms to produce meat, dairy and eggs and its negative impacts on the environment, public health and animal welfare. Research indicates that animal agriculture accounts for an estimated 1416% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions, which is about the same as all transportation combined. Livestock production is also a highly inefficient use of scarce land and water, a principal driver of deforestation, habitat destruction and species extinction.

Avantika Chaudhary, owner of Maya A Culture, said, “Maya A Culture is committed to introducing animal welfare standards in its food supply chain. By changing the menu, we will be able to produce healthy food that is good for animals, our health and environment too”

Further, numerous studies indicate that a diet rich in plant-based foods can help improve health, and that people who eat fewer animal products have lower rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and certain types of cancer. By choosing to eat more plant-based foods, we can ease the enormous burden our current consumption habits have on the environment, improve our health and reduce the immense suffering of millions of animals.

Humane Society International/India’s Managing Director Alokparna Sengupta said, “The Café’s laudable decision to commit to replace 30% of their animal-based products with plant-based options is a visionary choice not only for the future of how we eat but also for the future of this planet. We are grateful to have worked with Maya A Culture and hope that other cafés in the city and in the country will soon follow suit. Replacing just 30% of their animal-based meals with plant-based options impacts hundreds of thousands of animals and enables customers to make food choices that are better for animals, their health and the planet.”

Across the globe, HSI partners with food businesses, schools, colleges and other institutions to put more plants on plates. By working with institutions to design exciting plant-based menus, provide plant-based culinary trainings and other promotional activities, HSI is paving the way for more humane, sustainable eating.

For support in the development of animal welfare policies in your supply or procurement chains, to request a plant-based culinary training or to adopt our Meatless Monday program, contact HSI/India at +91 9632890083 or

Reference in this article to any specific commercial product or service, or the use of any brand, trade, firm or corporation name is for the information of the public and does not constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation or approval by Humane Society International or its affiliates of the product or service, or its producer or provider.


Media contact: Shambhavi Tiwari, +91 8879834125,

Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services along with Karnataka Forest Department executed the program in collaboration with Humane Society International India in an effort to reduce zoonotic disease transmission

Humane Society International / India

Erin Van Voorhies Street dog in India.

DHARWAD—On the occasion of World Dog Day, the Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services (AH&VS) at Dharwad, Dharwad division of the Karnataka Forest Department and Humane Society International/India (HSI/India), an animal protection organisation, joined hands to conduct a vaccination camp to vaccinate dogs in Dopenatti village.

With the village bordering a reserve forest, chances of zoonotic disease transmission from owned and feral dogs to wild canids is relatively high. Periodic vaccination drives against common diseases such as rabies is vital for the health and well-being of the dogs themselves, people around them as well as wild animals in the region. As a part of this camp, dogs were vaccinated against rabies and a host of other commonly seen diseases such as canine distemper, parvoviral enteritis and leptospirosis.

Dr Vineeta Poojary, program manager of Veterinary Sciences, HSI/India said: “The concept of regularly vaccinating your companion animals is often lacking in most parts of the country. While vaccination of livestock is still done as they are production animals, dogs are often ignored – especially in rural areas. It is a known fact that dogs do venture into protected areas and often come in conflict and contact with wild animals. While only vaccinating them will not resolve the issue, it is definitely an important tool to achieve it. We are very grateful to the respective government agencies for collaborating with us for the same”

A recent study based on camera trapping data showed more dogs than tigers in core areas of 17 tiger reserves across the country. Experts believe that presence of dogs in a forest landscape leads to competition between wild animal and domestic dogs for resources. Further, a study conducted in 2017 demonstrated that domestic dogs contributed to 11 vertebrate extinctions and pose a risk to at least 188 threatened species worldwide.

Shri Yashpal Kshirsagar IFS, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Dharwad division said: “While we recognize the threats posed by proximity between domestic animals and wildlife in terms of disease transmission, we would like to explore sustainable and humane solutions to this conflict. We are happy that the Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services has come forward to join hands with us for this initiative. We would also like to thank Humane Society International/India for coordinating and helping execute this camp with their resources and expertise.”

Dr Parameshwar Naik, Deputy Director, AH&VS, Dharwad said: “Disease surveillance, monitoring and prevention of zoonotic diseases is the need of the hour as demonstrated by the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, we are happy to collaborate with the Karnataka Forest Department and Humane Society International/India to conduct this mass vaccination camp. To further aid in management of conflict between domestic dogs and wild animals, more stringent policies on responsible pet ownership is required.”

HSI/India in Dharwad and Gadag districts has been working over the last two years in building capacity of various government agencies on animal welfare, helping animals in times of disasters and providing training to several interested individuals in the district on first-aid for animals in distress.

***Keeping with the precautions that one needs to be mindful of with the COVID 19 pandemic, the organizers will be distributing face masks to all attendees. Further precautions such as physical distancing norms and sanitization of the premises and staff/volunteers will be done at regular intervals.


Media Contact: Shambhavi Tiwari;; +91 8879834125

Institute commits to developing and implementing animal welfare standards to meet growing demand for compassionate cuisine

Humane Society International / India

Lance Murphey

AMBALA—Ambala Institute of Hotel Management has committed to incorporate animal welfare-friendly practices in its operations by 2022, following a two-day culinary workshop organized by Humane Society International/India. The institute serves 43,000 meals annually, and will replace 30% of all meat, dairy and egg-based menu items with plant-based options, and it will procure its annual supply of 20,000 eggs exclusively from cage-free producers. With this move, AIHM joins a growing number of global food businesses and institutions that are making the switch to more ethical and sustainable food products.

Humane Society International/India’s Managing Director Alokparna Sengupta said, “College campuses are an important place to provide students with nutritious meals. This move is particularly relevant for culinary students, who will be better prepared for the growing market of consumers and businesses that recognize the future of plant-based foods and higher animal welfare. Students who have the opportunity to learn about and cultivate first-hand experience with these ingredients will no doubt be better prepared for the future. We are excited to witness this decision, and we encourage other institutes to follow.”

AIHM is a hotel management institute under the National Council for Hotel Management & Catering Technology, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. Experienced hoteliers and entrepreneurs set up the institute to bridge the gap between education, training and personnel development for the industry. It trains up to 100 students a year in hospitality and hotel administration, craftsmanship course in food production and pastry-making, Skill Development Programme HSR (Hunar Se Rozgar) and other skills. AIHM is the first institute of its kind to adopt animal welfare policies. It will also encourage other hotel management institutes under the National Council to take such decision.

Yaashik Aggarwal, director of AIHM, said, “Animals have been degraded for a very long time just like natural resources. We see cruelty and torture all around us every day and at every instance and there is a little that every individual can do. We try to do the maximum that we can but it is still not enough. So this is a small step by Ambala Institute of Hotel Management for a better tomorrow for people, animals and sustainable coexistence.”

HSI/India conducts plant-based awareness culinary programs in schools and colleges throughout the country to promote more climate friendly and humane consumption patterns in India. HSI has trained over 500 institutional chefs around the world on plant-based cooking, and has assisted hundreds of food businesses in developing and implementing cage free egg policies in their food supply chains.

Consumers around the world are fast recognizing the many benefits of moving away from animal based diets. A plant-based diet can have a significantly smaller environmental impact, as animals’ agriculture is resource intensive, requiring significantly more water and land than farming vegetables and grains that can directly feed people. Moreover, animal agriculture is a tremendous contributor to climate change, accounting for an estimated 14-16% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions, which is about the same as all transportation combined. Numerous studies indicate that a diet rich in plant-based foods can help improve health, and that people who eat fewer animal products have lower rates of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and certain types of cancer.

Finally, by shifting our current consumption habits, we can reduce the immense suffering of millions of animals—whether by leaving animal products off your plate entirely or by choosing products from higher welfare systems (such as cage-free eggs). The majority of laying hens spend their entire lives in cages so small that they are unable to spread their wings, turn around or engage in any of their natural behaviors. Cage-free production systems generally offer hens higher levels of welfare, enabling them to express more of these behaviors, including moving around, laying eggs in nests, perching and fully spreading their wings.

For support in the development of animal welfare policies in your supply or procurement chains, to request a plant-based culinary training or to adopt our Meatless Monday program, contact HSI/India at +91 9632890083 or

Reference in this article to any specific commercial product or service, or the use of any brand, trade, firm or corporation name is for the information of the public and does not constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation or approval by Humane Society International or its affiliates of the product or service, or its producer or provider.


Media contact: Shambhavi Tiwari, +91 8879834125,

Humane Society International/India lauds Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission on landmark decision to abandon obsolete animal test

Humane Society International / India

Andrei Tchernov/iStockphoto

NEW DELHI—A controversial and obsolete animal test for batch testing human vaccines has been abolished by the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission in what is being hailed by Humane Society International/India as a landmark decision. Deletion of the Abnormal Toxicity Test from the Indian Pharmacopoeia will spare the lives of hundreds of thousands of animals nationwide every year. The decision was announced following the draft notification published for public consultation in May. HSI/India, a member of the IPC’s Expert Committee has been in dialogue with the IPC, vaccine manufacturers and scientists to remove ATT which is in accordance with the World Health Organisation guidelines which deleted the test in November 2018.

Alokparna Sengupta,  managing director of HSI/India, said: “This is a landmark decision by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the IPC, and represents a progressive stride in joining some of the most scientifically advanced countries in the world that have also deleted the obsolete Abnormal Toxicity Test. This is the first vital step towards consigning animal testing for vaccines to the history books, and we hope that an equally forward-thinking vision will be applied to similarly obsolete animal tests for veterinary vaccines too.

“As a global player of ever-growing significance in worldwide vaccine manufacturing, India needs to be at the forefront of innovation and compliance with the highest international standards. As well as being inhumane, animal tests are increasingly recognized to be poor at replicating results in human, prone to excessive variability, and highly costly.”

The ATT was originally developed in the 1950s to detect external contaminants in vaccines and has remained the de facto gold standard despite mounting scientific evidence questioning its reliability and value. The introduction of “good manufacturing practices” and the use of stringent quality control measures, now mean that omission the test does not compromise the safety of the products. The IPC has previously granted waivers on the ATT for companies able to demonstrate good manufacturing practices and adequate consistency of production, but now the test will be completely deleted.

With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Humane Society International is working across the globe with vaccine safety authorities, industry and stakeholders in an effort to eliminate or replace redundant animal testing from regulations for human and veterinary products. HSI has facilitated extensive stakeholder engagement in India to help bring about this monumental step sparing countless animal lives while ensuring vaccine safety and availability.


Media Contact: Shambhavi Tiwari,, +918879834125

HSI/India and The Liana Trust are helping rural communities live in safe harmony with snakes

Humane Society International / India

Gerard Martin/The Liana Trust Russell’s viper snake

KARNATAKA—Radio telemetry to track snakes, the free distribution of solar lanterns and gum boots in rural Karnataka, along with local community awareness, are being used as part of a unique pilot project to tackle India’s huge snake bite problem. India is the snake bite capital of the world, with newly published research showing 58,000 human deaths every year, and up to a further 200,000 cases of life-changing morbidity such as limb amputations that can have devastating economic impacts on families affected. In addition to the human toll, snake persecution is a real conservation and welfare issue across India that sees many thousands of snakes needlessly killed every year.

Animal protection group Humane Society International/India and conservation initiative The Liana Trust are working together to help agricultural communities live in harmony with the Russell’s viper, among other venomous and non-venomous snakes with whom they share their rural landscape. The viper is the species responsible for the most snake bites in India. Human-snake conflict in India is far more significant than conflict with any other wild species in terms of loss of life, and yet rarely receives the attention that conflict with tigers, leopards, elephants or crocodiles does. Conflict with these mega-fauna account for around 1,000 deaths a year.

Sumanth Bindumadhav, wildlife campaign manager for HSI/India, said: “As snakes are often considered less charismatic than elephants and tigers, they receive relatively little attention in India, and citizens are generally not educated in snake safety. But the truth is there are many more lethal incidents involving snakes and people in India than any other creature, and snake persecution is extremely common, with thousands of snakes a year stoned to death or beaten with sticks and left to slowly die. The astonishing number of human deaths and life-changing injuries also has an enormous socio-economic impact because those most likely to be bitten are the main income earners in agricultural areas who are out working the land. If they lose their life or even a limb and cannot farm, it can mean their children are taken out of school and put to work, or families simply spiral into debt.

“So, our project in Karnataka is life-saving for all concerned, giving rural communities the knowledge and tools they need to live safely alongside these reptiles. We’re finding that people don’t actually wish harm on these snakes, they simply want to know where they are and how they behave so that they can avoid them and go about their business. Radio telemetry of venomous snakes helps us better understand their movements, ecology and behaviour, so that we’ll be able to give local people precise guidance in how to adapt behaviour to best live alongside their reptile neighbours.”

Working with a local community in Karnataka, HSI/India and The Liana Trust spring into action as soon as community members alert them to a Russell’s viper sighting, so that the snake can be retrieved, fitted with a transmitter and released in the same location with the community’s knowledge and support. Twenty four vipers so far are being tracked, allowing the HSI/India and TLT team to collect vital data about this little known snake that will be used to create a bespoke “snake safe” guide for people in the local area. Information such as what time of day they are most active, during what temperatures, and in what habitat, will be collated over a three year period to build a local profile of the Russell’s viper.

As well as field work to better understand the snakes, HSI/India and The Liana Trust are also employing practical measures to immediately help prevent bites, with the distribution of solar lanterns and gum boots. The majority of deaths from snake bites in India are in farmers and labourers who work bare-footed in the fields, or who venture out after dark to turn on the water pump motor to irrigate their land, because electricity in certain areas is only supplied at night. As 56% of India’s population (732 million people) is without indoor sanitation, venturing outside during the night to visit the latrine is also a prime time for snake bites for the whole family.

Community outreach and education also plays a critical part in the program, with local children participating in monthly snake safety lessons where the campaigners use films and slide-shows to teach them how to identify venomous snakes, how to play safe and what action to take if bitten. These are skills the children take back to their families.

Gerry Martin from The Liana Trust said: “Many people assume the area around their house or nearby will be safe and so they often step on a snake at night by accident simply because they can’t see them. By providing each household with a solar lantern, and ankle-high boots for the whole family, a significant proportion of these bites can be prevented. Snakes are a really important part of the local ecosystem, but they are killed in large numbers due mainly to fear and lack of knowledge. Even the Forest Department isn’t provided with proper training and so our project is working with officers to give them the humane snake handling skills they need. Snakes are often demonised in movies, and with the number of bite incidents it’s understandable that people are fearful. We aim to create a model district for snake bite management and mitigation in the state of Karnataka so it can be replicated in other regions as well and reduce human-snake conflict across India.”

Snake Conflict Mitigation Project facts

  • HSI/India and TLT have so far distributed 225 solar lanterns and 200 pairs of gum boots to the Karnataka community. In the second half of 2020 street plays and school wall painting projects will be conducted to further promote the message of how to safely live alongside snakes.
  • The project began in December 2018, with a pause of several months during COVID-19 lockdown, meaning the project has just over one full year of data so far.
  • In 2019, the World Health Organisation launched its strategy for the prevention and control of snake bites, aiming to halve the number of deaths and serious disabilities by 2030.
  • Bites by venomous snakes usually kill by shock, paralysis, haemorrhage or acute kidney injury. Contrary to popular belief, attempting to suck out the venom doesn’t work. If bitten, physical restrictions like jewellery should be removed as these cause concentration of venom in one part of the body, increasing the chances of amputation. The limb should be immobilised and immediate medical assistance sought. Noting down symptoms for immediate delivery to a doctor can dramatically decrease treatment times.
  • Research suggests that there were 1.2 million snake bite deaths in India during the 20-year period 2000 to 2019.

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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.


Media Contact: Shambhavi Tiwari, HSI/India media manager:

Human – wildlife conflict in India often leads to animals maimed and killed

Humane Society International / India

Arindam Bhattacharya/Alamy Stock Photo

Malappuram, India—Animal charity Humane Society International/India is offering a reward of up to 50,000 IN rupees in Malappuram district of Kerala, for information leading to the positive identification, arrest and conviction of those responsible for the killing of a pregnant elephant who ate a fire cracker believed to have been stuffed in a pineapple or other food item. She suffered catastrophic facial injuries and a slow, painful death.

Police reports show that the incident is believed to have occurred on 27 May when the elephant ate a firecracker-filled pineapple that was originally intended as a snare to catch wild boar. When the firecracker exploded in her mouth, the elephant is reported to have stood for a significant time in the Velliyar River with her trunk in the water, presumably for pain relief.

Following the incident, the Rapid Response Team of the Kerala Forest Department rushed to the scene to attempt a rescue but the elephant succumbed to her injuries. A post mortem revealed that the cause of death was asphyxia as a result of water entering her lungs and trachea.

Sumanth Bindumadhav, wildlife campaign manager for HSI/India said “Regrettably in India, human conflict with wild animals such as wild boars and elephants is a common problem, and often these animals can be maimed or killed by local communities experiencing crop damage and other issues. We don’t yet know if the firecracker-pineapple was maliciously fed to the elephant, or if it was a tragic accident, but whether the intended victim was a boar or an elephant, tragic incidents like this demonstrate the urgent need for better and humane ways to manage wildlife. Community education coupled with the introduction of crop insurance schemes would also safeguard the interests of people as well as the welfare of animals. We hope that by offering a reward for information, those responsible can be apprehended and a strong message will be sent out that treating wildlife in this way is unacceptable.”

Human-wildlife conflict is an unfortunate consequence of increasing fragmentation of wildlife habitats and a growing intolerance to living alongside wild animals in several parts of India. However, sustainable conflict preparedness and management planning methods need to be employed by the forest departments of all states, without which, some citizens choose to take matters into their own hands leading to animal cruelty.

Download video from the scene.


Media Contact: Shambhavi Tiwari,, +91 8879834125

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.


Media contact: Wendy Higgins, Director of International Media:

Humane Society International / Global

HSI HSI/India responds to the COVID-19 pandemic in Lucknow, India.

Update, March 2022: Read a report about the global impact of the HSI-Mars partnership on animals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

WASHINGTON— Family-owned Mars, Incorporated has donated $1 million to animal welfare organization Humane Society International for its global companion animal programs. The donation is a part of Mars’ initial $20 million cash and in-kind donations to aid communities across the globe during the COVID-19 crisis. HSI will use the funds in targeted countries to help keep companion animals in their homes, to assist shelters taking in abandoned or surrendered animals, and to provide for street dogs and cats who are not able to be fed by their communities during this time.

“We are incredibly grateful to Mars for this generous donation, which recognizes that our companion animals are a vital part of our families,” said HSI President Jeffrey Flocken. “They are a source of comfort and unwavering affection, particularly in difficult times. As the world struggles with this pandemic, these critically needed funds will directly help dogs and cats who are suffering as a result of the coronavirus crisis, be it starving dogs on the streets in India, Chile and elsewhere, or shelters in need of vital supplies in South Africa and beyond.”

“It’s vital that businesses like ours do our part to ensure the continued health and well-being of the people, pets and communities most affected by COVID-19, which is why Mars Incorporated has committed $20 million in relief to vulnerable populations across the world,” said Poul Weihrauch, President, Mars Global Petcare. For those of us fortunate enough to have animals in our lives, the companionship, love and comfort they bring has probably never felt more important. That’s why we are pleased to provide $1 million in support to HSI, an organization dedicated to providing critical support to the millions of vulnerable pets across the world.”

HSI is strategically deploying the grant to provide the greatest impact for animals at risk or suffering as a result of this global crisis. Recognizing that each country is experiencing the effects of the pandemic on a different timeline and faces different animal welfare needs, the relief effort will be conducted in phases. Phase 1 will focus on the most urgent needs in eight geographic areas:  Chile, China, Guyana, India, Mauritius, Morocco, South Africa and the Middle East region. HSI already has a presence and/or existing relationships with local organizations and governments in these locations, which will help to maximize the campaign’s impact.

The range of work will include:

  • Assisting residents to enable them to keep their animals at home;
  • Helping shelters that face shortages of food and supplies while dealing with increased numbers of animals surrendered or abandoned by owners who can longer care for them;
  • Tending to community animals who have lost their usual sources of food and medical care as a result of lockdown policies;
  • Working with governments to ensure companion animals are incorporated into pandemic emergency plans by designating veterinary services as essential and allowing advocates to rescue animals in need during lockdowns; and
  • Promoting accurate and useful information about appropriate animal welfare for cats and dogs during the pandemic.

HSI estimates that Phase 1 will help more than 20,000 animals. Subsequent phases of the campaign will be determined as the crisis spreads to new areas or intensifies in current areas, and the needs shift.

An additional component of the campaign involves engaging Mars Associates through volunteer opportunities to make a tangible difference for dogs and cats affected by the pandemic. Opportunities include reaching out to local shelters to offer assistance, encouraging their networks to adopt and foster shelter animals, and virtual engagement and support of the Mars-HSI initiative to help animals in need during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We are immensely proud to work with Mars on this effort,” said Flocken. “Mars’ commitment to animals and the people who love and care for them has never been more evident than it is now, during this unprecedented time.”

Download photos and video of animals affected by the pandemic.


Nancy Hwa, Humane Society International,, 202-596-0808
Kimberly West, Mars, Incorporated, Director of External Communications,


HSI and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. For more than 25 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands-on programs. and @hsiglobal.

Humane Society International/India urges Government of Mizoram to end dog meat trade and promote a more plant-based diet to its citizens

Humane Society International / India

Nagaland dog meat trade
Alokparna Sengupta/HSI

Mizoram, India — Mizoram, India has taken the first step towards ending its dog meat trade, by amending the law to remove dogs from the definition of animals suitable for slaughter. In a move welcomed by Humane Society International/India, the Mizoram Legislative Assembly unanimously passed the Animal Slaughter Bill 2020. HSI/India now urges the Government of Mizoram to end the cruel and illegal dog meat trade.

The consumption of dogs is prohibited under India’s food safety regulations. However, this is poorly enforced and thousands of dogs each year are illegally captured from the streets or stolen from their homes, stuffed into gunny bags with their mouth stitched or tied, and transported over many days to Mizoram districts such as Aizawl. There have even been reports of dogs transported from neighboring countries such as Myanmar and Bangladesh. The cruel transport and slaughter of dogs violates several provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, the Indian Penal Code, and Food Safety and Standard Authority (FSSAI) regulations.

HSI/India, a former member of the State Animal Welfare Board of Mizoram, has been working to end the dog meat trade in Mizoram since 2016, including helping to rescue more than 150 dogs from the brutal trade.

Alokparna Sengupta, managing director, HSI/India said, “This is a very welcome and much-needed move by the Legislative Assembly to remove dogs from the definition of animals for slaughter. We hope that this law will now ensure an end to dog slaughter in Mizoram, but in order to shut down the trade completely, we urge the Government of Mizoram to take action to ban the sale and consumption of dog meat too. This comes at a time when the world is facing a pandemic believed to have been caused by the trade in wild animals for consumption. In Mizoram we have witnessed dogs and other animals being transported and slaughtered in horrific conditions, violating India’s health regulations. So in addition to raising awareness about the illegality of slaughtering dogs for meat, we urge the government to proactively promote the human health benefits of moving towards a more plant–based diet, and reducing and replacing the consumption of all animals.”

Around 30 million dogs and 10 million cats a year are killed across Asia for human consumption, with the trade most widespread in China, South Korea, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and parts of northern India. However, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore have dog meat bans in place.

HSI is one of the leading organizations in the world working to end the cruel dog meat trade. Public education about the cruelty involved plays a key part of the strategy, and support from local governments and communities can also play a significant role in ending the misery these dogs endure in the dog meat trade.

Download photos and video of Mizoram’s dog meat trade here:


Media contact:  Shambhavi Tiwari,, +91-8879834125

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