A recent shocking post on Facebook goes into the possibility – unsubstantiated as yet – that China wants to export dog meat into the US. Whether it is true or not, this announcement has released an avalanche of upset and protest about the uncertain possibility that dog meat might be coming to their town – or your town.
Research into this ghastly proposal from China which might only be a rumor has revealed a long history of this practice in other places – Thailand, Korea, North Vietnam, Nigeria, etc.
An example of how China is treating these doomed dogs comes from the Daily Mail. In hot weather, 500 dogs were crammed into a truck, on their way to be slaughtered and sold to restaurants. Some of them died while others became very ill. Several animal rights activists worked hard to stop the convoy but failed.
China has historically farmed and eaten dogs; it is legal and there are no sanitary or other laws regarding their treatment. Yet, they are crammed into cages and beaten over the head to kill them; the Chinese farmers say this method is not cruel.
Every year, thousands of dogs are stolen in Thailand and smuggled into Vietnam since it is not legal. The demand is very high and a very lucrative black market business, run by Mafia and corrupt officials.
The method of transportation involves cramming about twelve dogs into several poultry cages on long trips without food or water, then sold in fashionable restaurants; they are more expensive than pork.
In Vietnam, up to five million dogs are consumed every year, following a long tradition.
Demand has also spread beyond the country, sparking a multimillion-pound trade that sees 300,000 dogs packed every year into tight metal cages in Thailand.
The dogs are killed brutally, hitting them over the head 10 or 12 times, causing much pain. Some diners prefer the added suffering because they say the dogs are tastier. Other acts of cruelty are force-feeding, burning or stabbing.
Tha Rae is a small town in Thailand where 5000 poor farmers make more money selling or killing dogs to be eaten locally or exported. Even though dog meat is not popular there, sales do well in roadside stands. The mayor of the town, meanwhile, has refused to end the trade, though he can.
Crackdowns are occurring through the use of informants who work with the Royal Thai Navy but the smugglers, after paying a small fine, go right back into business.
A bus driver named Zuong Nguyen says the trucks moving across the border into Vietnam is endless and lately he’s seen cats as well. What makes it so easy is that border officers ask for money in exchange for a passport stamp.
In Vietnam, dog ownership for the purpose of cuddling them as pets is not common; their main interest, besides food, is security. So the animal activists have a hard time appealing to their emotions about killing them to be eaten. Instead, the buttons they push are the outbreaks of disease – cholera. trichinosis and rabies. This is not hard to imagine when many of the dogs end up in horrible conditions like mucus in their eyes, covered in their own feces and vomit and ill with animal diseases like parvo. Under these conditions, it would not be surprising if many in the US protested heavily about China or other countries exporting dog meat – aside from the horror most Americans feel about eating dogs.
Surprisingly Thailand is one country that is taking steps to stop the dog meat trade. The shipments are intercepted and sent to government-run shelters where they are cared for and treated for diseases. Still, many do not survive their previous treatment.
Activists in Thailand are trying to get a law passed to protect dogs from this brutality but there’s little chance of enforcing it, though the possibility to make stricter laws regarding how they are treated before being slaughtered, such as vaccinations and making sure they are free of illness and not been tortured, might work to curtail it.
The West has begun to take notice and there was even suspicion a few years ago that this dog trade and all the unsanitary conditions were responsible for the SARS virus.
Whether it is fact or rumor that China wants to export dog meat to the US, the real issue at present is how much emotional controversy it has created. Most of us prefer our dogs just the way they are – loving pets.
By: Lucille Femine