Pacific rim anti-dog & cat meat activism gains momentum

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2007:

HONG KONG, BANGKOK, MANILA–Tuen Mun magistrate Kwok
Wai-kin on December 22, 2006 sentenced four men to serve 30 days in
jail apiece for killing and butchering two dogs just 40 days earlier,
on November 12.
Kwok Wai-kin “rejected the defendants’ argument that eating dog was
simply a matter of culture, saying society could not accept or
condone such an act,” reported Jonathan Cheng of the the Hong Kong
The four men–Lau Lap-kei, 49; Wong Yung-hung, 44; Liu
Wai-hong, 40; and Wong Chun-hung, 49–immediately appealed their
sentences, and were released on bail.
Slaughtering dogs and cats has been illegal in Hong Kong
since 1950, but the four are believed to be the first offenders who
have received jail sentences.

The prompt convictions and judicial response encouraged
opponents of the clandestine dog and cat meat traffic in Thailand,
the Philippines, and Nagaland, part of an arm of India that lies
between China and Burma.
Selling dogs for meat is nominally illegal in Thailand, the
Philippines, and India, except among the Igorot tribal people of
the Philippines, but the authorities of all three nations tend to
find pretexts to avoid enforcing the weak existing legislation,
chiefly based on claims that dog-eating is a traditional practice of
ethnic minorities.

Hope in Thailand

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thai-land “on his birthday,
December 5, opened a photo exhibition of his beloved street dogs,”
reported Marianne Willemse of the Bangkok charity Love Animal House,
“and asked that mercy and compassion be shown to all animals. Next
year he will be 80. We want to push the interim government, who
loves the royal family, to make a law in Thailand that consumption
of cat and dog meat is illegal. This would be a great gift for His
“Yesterday animal rights lawyer Sanya Sukrasorn went to San
Patong market to investigate the situation,” Willemse posted to the
Asian Animal Protection Network on December 23. “He found dog meat
readily available. Five restaurants served dog meat in every way.”
A day earlier, Willemse said, Sanya Sukrasorn asked the
Ministry of Culture “to change the law to protect our companion
animals. He went alone, as we respect the martial law order of no
gatherings to protest,” but “brought along his guitar and a long
banner which he stretched out in front of the Ministry of Culture.
“The General Secretary accepted the letter with gratitude,”
Willemse continued. “The week before, ministry officials visited
Sakon Nakon and witnessed themselves a dog slaughter house where
600,000 dogs [per year] get killed and shipped to Vietnam frozen.
The officials were horrified about it. They had been given orders
from above to inspect the situation and to stop it. A law will be
made, they said.”
The prospect of Thai action against dog meat followed a
November 24, 2006 Bangkok Post report that “Dog meat is gaining in
popularity in Chiang Mai, with an increasing number of roadside food
stalls serving dog meat dishes over the past few years.”
Dog-eating was rare in Thailand until after the U.S. war in
Vietnam, when thousands of ethnic Chinese refugees from Vietnam and
some from Laos and Cambodia were resettled in the Chiang Mai region,
with U.S. economic aid. Alleged dog thefts for slaughter
subsequently became a frequent source of ethnic tension between
native Thais and the immigrants.
The existing law was enforced on November 6, 2006, the
Bangkok Nation reported, as Mekong Patrol Police “rescued 350 dogs
before they were smuggled to Laos. Police captain Sommai Duangkam
said his unit heard dogs barking and howling from a river bank at 5
a.m.,” the Nation elaborated. “Sommai said that when he checked,
he found that villagers were transporting 39 cages with 350 dogs on
two boats. He said the villagers fled on foot upon seeing his patrol
boat. The dogs were sent to the Nakhon Phanom animals quarantine
center for further action.”

The Philippines

Melchor Alipio of the Network for Animals on December 12,
2006 urged the Philippine government to “go after the dog traders.”
Wrote Jane Cadalig of the Manila Sun Star, “Most of the dogs
bought by restaurant owners in Baguio, Benguet, and other North
Luzon provinces come from the southern provinces, including Laguna,
Bicol, Lucena, Quezon, and Batangas. Alipio said only one trader
has been penalized with six months in jail,” as others “pay cash for
their liberty.”

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