BOOKS: Dog Meat Trade In The Philippines
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2005:
Dog Meat Trade In The Philippines
revealing corruption, conspiracy, government inaction
Linis Gobyerno, Inc. (P.O. Box 1588, 2600 Baguio City,
Philippines), 2005. 139 pages, spiral bound.
Dog Meat Trade In The Philippines will jolt readers
unfamiliar with the dog meat industry. The most shocking aspect of
this comprehensive report, however, should be that it is the third
in a series of book-length updates by Linis Gobyerno, detailing
non-enforcement of the 1996 Philippine ban on dog slaughter for human
“This is not a national phenomenon,” the foreword
stipulates, “but a problem concentrated mainly in the Cordillera
region,” where under the thin legal cover of an exemption granted to
the indigenous Igorot tribe, non-Igorots conduct a clandestine
traffic in dog meat worth as much as $290,000 a month.
“As an Igorot, I vehemently do not accept dog-eating as my
culture,” writes Dog Meat Trade In The Philippines contributor Bing
Dawang. “I was not raised to eat dogs, and dog meat is not a
regular part of my diet, nor has it ever been.”
Dawang’s essay appeared originally in the October 2003
edition of The Junction newspaper, which she edits, and was
reprinted in the November 2003 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE. Her
husband is Baguio City journalist Freddie Farres, the chief author
and compiler of Dog Meat Trade In The Philippines. Together Farres
and Dawang founded Linis Gobyerno in 2000.
The name Linis Gobyerno means “clean government.” The group
did not intially focus on dog-eating, though Farres and Dawang have
always been concerned about cruelty to animals. They soon learned,
however, that criminal vice, corruption, and the dog meat industry
are inextricably linked, and that dog meat trafficking may be the
most visible and easily interdicted vehicle for bribery and money
Attacking the crooks and attacking the cruelty were
accordingly both part of the same mission.
Linis Gobyerno is now involved in other humane issues,
including live cattle exports and the capture of dolphins for
exhibition, as well as pound reform, founding an adoption center
for dogs rescued from dog meat traffickers, and working to improve
the image of askals, or street dogs. Two dogs aided by Linis
Gobyerno have saved human lives, including Dagul, a 2003 winner of
the Lewyt Award for Heroic & Compassionate Animals, presented by the
North Shore Animal League America.
Dog Meat Trade In The Philippines is a compilation of
materials including ordinances, summaries of court proceedings,
correspondence, and photocopied newspaper clippings that can be only
be read with a magnifying glass. Appendices include “What ANIMAL
PEOPLE expects of ethical charities,” and “How to make your
donations do the most for animals,” both from the 2005 ANIMAL PEOPLE
Watchdog Report on 125 Animal Protection Charities. These reinforce
some of Farres’ complaints about international charities that raise
funds to fight dog-eating in the Philippines, but do little there to
Much of Dog Meat Trade In The Philippines is more easily read
at the web site <www.linisgobyerno.org>. It documents a struggle
still far from over, not a fluent narrative with a happy ending.
But Farres and Dawang believe a happy ending is possible–if the
legislation already on the books is properly implemented, both
through law enforcement and through establishing properly funded,
supervised, and accountably maintained animal control agencies.