Dogs that were bound to be sold as meat and rescued by the Humane, Society International (HSI). (John Javellana/AP Images for Humane Society International and Network for Animals)
Operation disrupts cruel commercial trade in dogs for meat
Eleven dogs destined for a slaughterhouse in the north of the country were rescued by Manila police and animal welfare groups in the latest enforcement effort aimed at cracking down on the illegal dog meat trade in the Philippines. Humane Society International and Network for Animals assisted authorities in the rescue.
Andrew Plumbly with NfA said: “It’s heartbreaking to see these innocent dogs in such a horrific state, stacked one on top of the other, desperate for air. Yet this is the reality for thousands of dogs in the Philippines who endure cruelty and suffering because of the commercial trade in dogs for meat, and it must be stopped.”
Rey del Napoles, HSI Philippines manager and a veterinarian, said: “Many of the dogs who fall victim to this illegal trade are pets, and during this rescue, two dogs wore collars. Also, as the dogs were freed from the cage, almost all of them were friendly which would indicate many were pets. Now that the dogs are in a safe place, we will evaluate and treat their medical conditions and do our best to find them loving homes with families.”
Of the 11 dogs rescued, two were nursing puppies. The dogs were rescued from a cage in a holding area. A holding area is where dogs are placed before transport, typically in a secluded, darkened area to escape detection. Upon the rescue, dogs were offered water, and were taken to a temporary shelter outside Manila. The temporary shelter is operated by HSI and NfA. The dogs will be given a comfortable place to rest, and water and food, so that they may recover from their cruel ordeal.
Philippines lawmakers banned the trade in dogs for meat in 1998 via the Animal Welfare Act. In 2008, this legislation was bolstered by the passage of the Rabies Act, which upgraded penalties for convicted dog meat traders to include jail time and substantially increased fines as a means of limiting the spread of rabies. In spite of these laws, lack of enforcement has allowed the commercial dog meat trade to proliferate, with hundreds of thousands of dogs slaughtered every year. HSI and NfA have longstanding campaigns in the Philippines aimed at creating stronger legislation to end the trade and pushing for enforcement of existing laws.
· Cruelty is endemic in all stages of the commercial dog meat industry. Captured dogs, many of them stolen pets, have their muzzles bound with nylon string and their front legs forced behind their backs and tied. Dogs are left in this condition, sometimes for days, in extreme heat without food or water.
· During transport, approximately 100 dogs will be forced into a cage the size of a double-door refrigerator. Overcrowding is so severe that up to 90 percent of the dogs can suffocate before reaching backyard slaughterhouses, where the survivors have their throats cut while conscious.
· The dog meat trade poses a threat to rabies eradication in the Philippines where an estimated 10,000 dogs and 350 humans die of rabies every year. International rabies experts recognize that the movement of dogs of unknown disease and vaccination status compromises rabies control, and that the slaughtering and butchery of rabies-infected dogs poses a risk to human health.