Thai government announced steps to end the dog meat trade


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Thai government announced steps to end the dog meat trade

  1. 1. Thai Government announced stepsto end the dog meat tradeBy MahCacciola | Posted December 9, 2012 | Bangkok, ThailandThe Thai Government has announced steps to end the dog meat and skin trade inThailand.At a seminar held in Bangkok at the Royal Navy Auditorium, participantsincluding representatives from the Royal Thai Navy, the Canine Police Force, theMinistry of Culture, the Ministry of Social Development and Human security, theMinistry of Public Health and the Department of Livestock Development agreed toa request that the prime minister declare a national agenda to end the trade of dogsin Thailand, destined for human consumption.They also suggested education programs and campaigns to instill a sense ofresponsibility and social conscience in Thai People.Mr.NirandornEungtrakulsuk former chief of the Department of LivestockDevelopment and chairman of the Thai Veterinary Medical Association stated that
  2. 2. whilst he believed the new law to improve animal welfare and fight cruelty toanimals will help tackle the problem at a certain level it would not be enough toeradicate the illegal trade because corruption is rampant in Thailand.Soi Dog Foundation (SDF) welcomes this initiative which it believes has beenbrought about by local and international pressure for Thailand to enforce currentlegislation, which makes it illegal to export live dogs without export licenses andhealth certificates. However SDF agrees with Mr.Nirandorn that the level ofcorruption associated with the trade will make it difficult for the authorities tostamp it out.Soi Dog agrees with Police Lt. Col ChatchaiSetthiphanian of the Canine PoliceForce that harsher penalties should be imposed against dog smugglers. The currentlegislation allows for up to 2 years imprisonment and/or a 40,000 THB fine, but nosuch penalty has ever been imposed. Thailand‟s Animals Epidemic Act 1999,Chapter 4, Section 21 & 21(b)Soi Dog also believes that the Special Investigation Bureau should be called in toinvestigate the known leaders of the trade, one of whom has stated that the tradeearns them 1 billion THB per year, of course tax free. It has also been suggestedthat the dog meat trade may also be masking drug trafficking and the illegal tradein wildlife.SDF has full details of the leaders and they make no secret of their involvement.In SakonNakorn, the key province involved in the trade in North-East Thailand, inrecognition of the high levels of corruption in the province, the governmentintroduced a four-year anti-corruption plan in 2009. This is due to expire at the endof 2012 and could be used as an opportunity to include specific directives aimed attackling the dog meat trade.Soi Dog is working with agents in both Thailand and Laos to provide informationon planned smuggling operations, and is passing this information on to theauthorities. However, there is concern that the decrease in illegal exports fromThailand has resulted in an increase in the number of dogs being collected fromLaos to supply the demand.Soi Dog is in discussions with other regional animal welfare groups including theSingapore based Change for Animals, the Animals Asia Foundation and theHumane Society International regarding the establishment of a coalition of animalprotection groups uniting to end the dog meat trade throughout the region.ASEAN member states (including Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia) andthe “Plus Three” countries (China, Japan and South Korea) have pledged theirsupport for the „Call for Action towards the Elimination of Rabies‟ in theirrespective countries by the year 2020.By allowing the trade to continue they are in effect ignoring the recommendationsof leading organizations committed to eradicating rabies, including the United
  3. 3. Nations public health arm, the World Heath Organization (WHO), as the tradefacilitates the spread of the disease.They will be calling for the respective governments to cooperate in closing theirborders to live dogs. Dogs are responsible for an estimated 99% of human rabiescases in the region.In Vietnam, a study to determine the molecular epidemiology of the rabies viruswas conducted where brain samples were collected from 100 dogs inslaughterhouses in Northern provinces, and a further 76 samples were collectedfrom Southern provinces.Laboratory analysis confirmed that 2.0% of samples collected from the Northernprovinces and 16.4% from the Southern and highland provinces were infected withrabies virus. Molecular epidemiological analysis suggest that rabies viruses mayhave independently entered Vietnam from several countries such as Thailand, andmay have then established and spread throughout Vietnam.This research highlights the risk the movement of large numbers of unvaccinateddogs across borders poses to rabies control in the region. This risk was recognizedby the local government of Lao Cai Province in northern Vietnam in June 2011,when the trade and slaughter of dogs was suspended in response to an outbreak ofrabies. In addition the Public Health authority in Vietnam has identified a clear linkbetween outbreaks of Cholera in the country with the dog meat industry.The unregulated transportation of dogs across much of Thailand is also posing arisk of the spread of rabies within Thailand. SDF has evidence of dogs beingcollected as far as south as Nakhon Si Thammarat, a distance of some 1400 Kmfrom the holding centers in SakhonNakhon province.A statement by a Ministry of Public Health representative claiming that dog meatis only eaten in Thailand in SakonNakhon province is not correct. SDF hasevidence of dog meat openly on sale in other provinces including Chiang Mai.The total number of dogs intercepted since August 2011 is quoted as 9,042.Whether this includes the 1968 dogs “rescued” from a holding center in Ban ThaRae district is not clear. What is clear is that fewer than 80 of these dogs survivetoday and around 75% of the intercepted dogs have died at the livestock centers.Why? The Department of Livestock Development which has been givenresponsibility for caring for the confiscated dogs, has been given no budget to doso. The current population of around 2,500 dogs is housed in four centers, the vastmajority in NakhonPhanom and Khemmarat. Smaller numbers of dogs are housedat Buriram, Thong PhaPhum and now Petchaboon livestock centers including theless than 80 survivors of the raid on the Tha Rae holding center, currently at ThongPhaPhum.
  4. 4. As of November this year NakhonPhanom has a reported 7 million THB remainingof the fund set up by the former Governor of the province following the firstinterception in August 2011. The remaining centers have no budget at all and SDFis currently providing food, medical supplies and basic equipment such as pressurewashers to the centers. However this type of aid is unsustainable and SDF callsupon the Government to adequately provide for what are in effect innocent victimsof criminal activities.At present it would appear the policy is to allow the dogs to die of starvation anddisease.A full investigative report commissioned by SDF on this latter issue can be seen at Soi Dog FoundationSoi Dog Foundation is a not-for-profit, legally registered charitable organization,which helps the homeless, neglected and abused dogs and cats of Thailand.Helping the neglected and abused dogs and cats through veterinary treatment,desexing and by dog & cat sponsorships.For more information contact Marcelo CacciolaSoi Dog Foundation USAE-mail : marcelo@soidog.orgSkype: marcelocacciolaWebsite: www.soidog.orgFacebook : : Soi Dog Foundation USA is a US registered 501(c) (3) charitable organization(tax ID # 27-1600444). All donations are deductible to the fullest extent allowableby law.