Will Sakhon Nakhon province governor Panchai keep promise to ban dog meat?
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2003:
BANGKOK–Recently elected Sakhon Nakhon provincial governor
Panchai Borvornratanapran reportedly retreated on July 18 from a
mid-June promise to abolish the sale and slaughter of dogs for meat.
Following a protest rally by about 300 dog meat traders and
butchers from Tha Rae, the impoverished northeastern district where
dogs are most often eaten, provincial spokesperson Raksit Wathayotha
told Agence France-Press that the governor met with representatives
of the dog meat industry and “said he doesn’t want to impose the
opinion of the entire province, which favors ending dog meat
trading, on Tha Rae. He wants them to make their own decision and
will not object if the majority of Tha Rae people still want to
practice dog meat eating and selling.”
Agence France-Presse attributed directly to Governor Panchai
an estimate that 17 dog slaughter houses in Tha Rae kill 300 to 400
dogs per day, selling up to 4,000 kilograms of dog meat per day.
[At 300-400 dogs killed per day, however, the average daily sales
volume would be only half as large.] About 90% of the dog meat was
sent to Bangkok, Governor Panchai reportedly claimed. Some is known
to be exported to China and Vietnam.
Two weeks after taking office, Governor Panchai declared
that, “In a year’s time I will not stand for any more sales of dog
meat. I am chair of an 18-member committee,” he told Agence
France-Presse, “which will talk to people about how eating dog meat
will affect their health and reputation.”
He also promised to seek federal funding to help dog meat traders and
butchers develop other careers.
Offensive to the majority of Thais, and practiced mainly by
ethnic Chinese refugees from Vietnam, dog slaughter has long been
controversial in Thailand. It gained prominence as a political issue
in May when dog meat collectors captured Na Wa, beloved pet of
Chariya Nimla, 39, an employee of the Ruamkatanyu Rescue
Foundation. The foundation helps physically handicapped humans.
The housing development where Chariya lives gave her $95
toward the cost of pursuing the dog meat collectors to Sakon Nakhon.
She and a friend drove all night, caught up with the collectors’
truck before dawn, and followed it to Tambon Tha Rae. There they
persuaded a dog meat slaughterhouse owner identified only as King to
return Na Wua to them. They also witnessed dogs being killed and saw
other dogs they believed were stolen pets rather than street dogs.
Upon returning to Bangkok, Chaiya told her story to Roger Lohanan of
the Thai Animal Guardians Association. Lohanan took it to news media.
“During one of the televison interviews about the issue, we
found out that the Ministry of Agriculture had quietly passed a
ministrial regulation which allows the dog and cat meat and skin
trades to continue,” Lohanan told ANIMAL PEOPLE. “We immediately
requested a meeting with Soraatha Klinpatoom, the newly appointed
Minister of Agriculture who signed the regulation. The Minister
explained that the purpose of the regulation is to control rabies,”
Lohanan said, pointing out that it was unlikely to have any relevant
“Instead,” Lohanan continued, “the regulation is
accommodating the dog meat and skin trades by allowing dogs and cats
to be transported legally with a permit,” like cattle, pigs, and
poultry. Instead of only being allowed to export the carcasses of
dogs and cats, Thai dog and cat meat dealers now can export the
“Thousands of dogs are being trucked across the Thai/Laos
border every day,” Lohanan said.
Lohanan predicted that the new regulation could “tremendously
increase the demand for strayed dogs. Country people are already in
the habit of letting dogs breed freely for the small income they can
get from dog traders,” Lohanan lamented. “This could set dog
population control back to the dark ages.
“Fortunately, the Minister agreed with us,” Lohanan said,
“and ordered the formation of a working group to draft separate rules
for dog and cat transport permits. The Thai Animal Guardians
Association is to be on the drafting team. Dog and cat welfare
protection is to be required. The sale of dogs and cats for meat as
well as the sale of their cacasses are not to be allowed under any
“What we now must do,” Lohanan explained, “is try to make
sure everything is done as agreed. We don’t want this to become
another never-ending story like the evolution of the Animal Welfare
Bill also being drafted by the Livestock Development Department.”
However, that may be exactly what is happening.
As to the Animal Welfare Bill, Livestock Development
Department chief Yukol Limlaemthong told the Bangkok Post in late
July that he expected new legislation to protect Thai animals from
genetic modification and hybridization, and to prevent foreign
patenting of genes from Asiatic buffalo, bantam cocks, Siamese
cats, bang kaew and ridgebacked dogs, crocodiles, hog deer, mouse
deer, sambar, and fireback fowl.
On the same day, however, a delegation of cockfighters
testified to a Thai senate committee that cockfighting should be
removed from restrictions imposed under the current Gambling Act, in
order to preserve indigenous breeds of rooster.
Natural resources minister Prapat Panyachatraska was
meanwhile reportedly drafting a species conservation bill which in
the name of protecting biodiversity would provide subsidies totaling
$7 million to commercial breeding operations for species whose body
parts might be in economic demand.
Thai National Research Commission animal welfare committee
chair Pradon Chatikavanija on August 8 told Sirinart Sirisunthorn of
The Nation that he was preparing a bill to ensure compliance with
“the principle of mercy killing for lab animals. We have distributed
over 20,000 copies of a manual on how to treat lab animals, but the
scientists ignored them,” he said.