Opposition builds to dog-and-cat eating

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2000:

WELLINGTON, BERN, BANGKOK, TEL AVIV, BEIJING, SEOUL– – Calling Korean dog meat eaters “sadists” and “ghouls” because of the beatings and burnings to which they are subjected to increase the levels of adrenaline in their flesh, New Zealand First political party leader Winston Peters suggested on May 14 that dog exports to Korea and other nations where dogs are eaten should be banned.

Present animal export regulations, Peters warned, “do not totally guarantee the safety of the animal and its ultimate fate.”

Peters cited reports from Switzerland and elsewhere that dog breeders in Korea and China are seeking St. Bernards as breeding stock for meat production. The Swiss office of the International Fund for Animal Welfare on March 31 led a demonstration in Bern, the capitol of Switzerland, demanding a ban on dog exports to China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Korea, and the Philippines.

Australian breeders recently furnished greyhounds to a new race track in Vung Tau, Vietnam––the first in Vietnam––despite media reports hinting that the dogs might be eaten.

Dog-eating in Thailand, chiefly by ethnic Chinese refugees from Vietnam, also drew activist attention. Parisian protester Nicole di Bianca made headlines in the Bangkok Post with a letter of protest that she hand-delivered to the Thai embassy on April 7, threatening to organize a tourist boycott.

“Her threat has prompted authorities to schedule a seminar on cruelty to cats and dogs next month, on the instruction of Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai,” wrote Bangkok Post c o r r e s p o n d e n t Bhanravee Tansubhapol.

Thailand actually has traditions of animal rescue, sheltering, and wildlife protection second in antiquity only to India, but those traditions lapsed with the wane of classical Buddhism. Contract laborers brought to Israel from Thailand to pick fruit are meanwhile blamed for extensive poaching and some dog and cat theft for meat in the southern Golan region.

“Every Thai worker gets half a sack of rice per month. If they want any meat, they have to catch it,” Israeli park ranger Yair Sharon told Alan Philps of the Daily Telegraph. “It is amazing what they eat––dogs, cats, jackals, small birds, chicks and eggs.”

Sharon attributed the loss of 5,500 of 6,000 gazelles and four of 18 wolves in the Golan to the Thai poaching pressure. “If you want nature conservation, you cannot have Thai workers,” Sharon said.

Dog-eating is also practiced in Kazakhstan, within the former USSR, but may be restrained by at least 17 cases of trichinellosis reportedly contracted in the village of Krasin during April by consumers of dog meat.

Hints of some positive response to western criticism of cruelty have come recently from Beijing and Seoul, as well as Bangkok.

“On April 12,” Kyenan Kum of International Aid for Korean Animals told ANIMAL PEOPLE, “the director of the Natural Ecosystems Department of the Korean Ministry for the Environment publicly stated that Sunnan Kum of the Korea Animal Protection Society [Kyenan Kum’s sister] had won all terms asked for by KAPS regarding the humane treatment of stray and feral cats throughout Korea.”

The terms included official encouragement of cat sterilization, humane euthanasia of sick or injured cats, offering captured kittens for adoption, introducing “a public education campaign to teach modern, internationally accepted scientific and general care knowledge about cats, and to address the many unfounded Korean myths surrounding their species,” leaving feral cats in remote areas alone, and neutering any feral or stray cats who are released after capture.

[For further details on the IAKA/KAPS anti-dog-and-cat-eating campaign, write to them at P.O. Box 20600, Oakland, CA 94620, or e-mail to .]

Beijing did not address dog-and-cat-eating, but the official Beijing Youth Daily newspaper in early May denounced the common practice of feeding live animals to carnivores at Chinese wildlife parks, another subject of recent protest by IFAW, the World Society for the Protection of Animals, the Animal Protection Institute, and the Fondation Brigitte Bardot––also exposed several times in ANIMAL PEOPLE.

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