The trade in dog meat is resulting in the atrocious suffering of millions of dogs and poses a sinister threat to human health, according to Alex Cunningham, and the Government must do all it can to intervene.
Labour’s Stockton North MP, speaking in his role as Shadow Minister for the Natural Environment, was contributing to a debate on the dog meat trade in the House of Commons and challenged the Government to utilise diplomatic opportunities to ensure that cruel and hazardous practices are brought to an end. In his response, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs duly committed to doing so.
Despite a number of countries passing legislation banning the production, slaughter and consumption of dog meat, these laws are rarely or poorly enforced. It is estimated that 18 million dogs are killed each year for their meat or fur in China, while five million dogs are eaten annually in Vietnam and a further two million in South Korea.
Not only are millions of animals routinely and purposely tortured ahead of their inhumane slaughter, there is also a growing body of evidence highlighting the significant risk that the trade poses to human health. With dogs not considered farmed-for-meat animals, meat is not properly quarantined or inspected and the processing and eating of dog meat has been linked to outbreaks of rabies, cholera and other diseases.
“Where the trade in dogs for meat occurs, it regularly fails to comply with disease prevention measures and breaches rabies control and elimination recommendations by key human and animal health advisory organisations such as the World Health Organisation and the World Organisation for Animal Health.
“But just as importantly, the treatment of too many dogs facing slaughter for their meat is truly abhorrent and makes a mockery of the notion of animal welfare. Kept in cramped cages and frequently left to go hungry, surrounded by dirt and faeces, and subjected to extremes of temperature and a lack of water, it is no surprise that mortality rates can rise as high as 90 per cent before slaughter.
“I was glad that the Minister took note of what was said during the debate. While I recognise that the Government cannot legislate beyond our own shores, I know that Ministers and Ambassadors in the Foreign Office have previously raised concerns on this issue with the governments of China, the Philippines, and South Korea.
“With Britain having long led the way on animal welfare issues, I was pleased to hear the Minister commit to continuing to press counterparts around the world to collaborate in efforts to change attitudes and reduce animal suffering, and to review the Government’s interactions with the issues.”