Thailand’s Illegal Dog Meat Trade

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For at least the past 30 years a little known trade has existed within Thailand that has seen millions of Thai dogs smuggled illegally to Vietnam via Laos for human consumption. In addition hundreds of thousands of dogs are slaughtered within Thailand for their skins and for local consumption. This is also illegal.

The Trade of Shame has been founded to bring an end to this trade.

WHY? Not only is the trade illegal because of disease prevention regulations designed to stop the spread of rabies and other communicable diseases such as cholera and Trichinosis, it is extremely cruel. Dogs are packed tightly into cages and transported often for days without food and water.

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pickup truck2The dogs are transported within Thailand on small pick up trucks often with 160 dogs plus per truck.  After being loaded on to boats and smuggled across the Mekong River they are then loaded on to larger trucks in Laos often carrying in excess of 1,600 dogs per truck. The result is that many die from suffocation and injuries sustained but in reality these are the lucky ones. The survivors generally have material forcibly pumped into their stomachs to increase their weight and hence value. It is not uncommon for dogs to be tortured and cooked alive in the mistaken belief that the increased adrenalin produced tenderizes the meat. It is normal practice to kill or cook dogs individually in full view of others awaiting the same fate.

Examples of these practices can be seen on this independently made Thai film, but extreme caution should be taken before viewing as the majority of people will find some of the scenes contained extremely disturbing.

 

stolen pet2WHERE DO THE DOGS COME FROM? Traditionally dogs were gathered from poor areas of North Eastern Thailand and often “purchased” in exchange for plastic buckets. In recent years owing to increased demand and a shortage of such dogs the collectors now travel all over Thailand and are targeting pet dogs as seen to the right as well as dogs living in Thai temples. Stray dogs are generally too difficult to catch. It is the trust that pet dogs have in human beings that make them easy prey to the catchers who work at night whilst the owners are sleeping. In Thailand it is normal for pet dogs to live outside.

DO PEOPLE NEED TO EAT DOGS? Many years ago in times of famine poor people would eat whatever they could including dogs, cats, rats etc.. Today dog meat is considered a delicacy and eaten in the misguided belief that it has aphrodisiac and other properties. It is not cheap. Even in Thailand where it is openly on sale, the cost is 200 Thai baht (around $7) per kilo compared with chicken available at 49 Thai baht per kilo. Eating dog meat is dangerous. In Vietnam where it is not illegal the cost is much higher and the business is totally unregulated and no standards of hygiene are followed. This has led to numerous outbreaks of Cholera and even rabies in some areas. Outbreaks of Trichinosis have occurred in Thailand where dog meat is consumed though no direct link has been established.

Protest2DO THAI PEOPLE AGREE WITH EATING DOGS OR WITH THE DOG MEAT TRADE? Research has shown that many Thai people do not even know about the trade and 90% of people interviewed are totally against it. Dog meat is consumed only in a few areas of Thailand though there is no way of knowing if dog meat is mixed with other meat and sold to consumers unknowingly, in  a similar way that dog meat has been identified in meat offered for sale in Asian restaurants in the west.

CAN THE TRADE BE STOPPED? Yes. Within Thailand we are working with local authorities to intercept and apprehend smugglers and traffickers. However to do this is costly as is caring for the thousands of dogs intercepted. The purpose of the Trade of Shame is to call upon the Thai people and the international community to take action to get the government to stop the trade once and for all. The leaders of the trade are well known to the authorities and claim the industry is worth a tax free 1 billion Thai baht per year ($34,000,000). These people are criminals and are only able to operate openly because of corruption. In addition by allowing the trade to continue the Government is encouraging the spread of rabies, which as members of ASEAN they have committed to eliminate by 2020.

WHAT CAN YOU DO? Please click the button below to find out what you can do to bring the dog meat trade to an end…