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Since 1998, Network for Animals, in partnership with local animal protection organizations, has led the fight to end the brutal dog meat trade in the Philippines. Every year, tens of thousands of dogs, many of them stolen pets, are slaughtered in barbaric conditions; thousands of dogs die while being transported. Those who survive the journey are killed in makeshift slaughterhouses. Despite hard-fought-for legislation, the industry continues to exist because laws are not actively enforced by local police.
Dog meat traders acquire animals by stealing pets, rounding up strays and purchasing unwanted dogs. Upon acquisition, a dog’s muzzle is often bound with nylon string, before the dog is left for days without food or water in temperatures that exceed 30 °C (86 °F). Once acquired, the trussed dogs are crammed so tightly into wire or bamboo cages, they are literally unable to move. The lucky ones are forced against the cage walls and may manage to get some fresh air in the stifling heat. The dogs in the middle or bottom of the load are less fortunate and regularly suffocate or die of heat stroke. Conditions while caged regularly generate pre-slaughterhouse mortality rates of 40-50 percent. This is of no concern to the dog meat traders, who butcher and sell the dead along with the living.
In the illegal and makeshift slaughterhouses, dogs are most commonly slaughtered by having their throats cut, but are also known to be clubbed to death and scalded. The fur is often singed off with a blowtorch, to create a charred appearance, which is popular with customers. As you will imagine, veterinary observers report extreme levels of suffering and anxiety among the dogs.
Dog meat eating was banned in Manila in 1982 and nationwide in 1998 under the Philippine Animal Welfare Act (Republic Act (RA) 8485), with exemptions for dogs killed and eaten as part of indigenous rituals. With NFA and other NGO support, the national ban was bolstered by the Rabies Act (RA 9482) and the meat code of the Philippines (RA10536), which upgraded penalties for convicted dog meat traders to include jail time and substantially increased fines as a means of limiting the spread of rabies.
NFA’s animal welfare campaigning within the Philippines promotes rabies awareness alongside other health concerns involved in the dog meat trade. Around 10,000 dogs and 350 humans die of rabies in the Philippines each year. Our team regularly work in Philippine schools, and reports of our raids are regularly broadcast on Philippine news networks.
Our team operate a network of informants across the Philippines, monitor suspected slaughtering locations and smuggling vehicles, and organize raids to tackle the traders. Persuading local police, meat inspection services and veterinarians to take part is time consuming, expensive and difficult. Raids are dangerous, and guns have been discovered in raided compounds as recently as 2016. Only our continued action against the dog meat trade will bring the brutality to an end.
In 1998, trucks stuffed with live dogs were still visible on the streets of the Philippines, despite the existing laws. Today, we have forced the trade underground, but scores of bars and restaurants still serve dog meat when they think we are not in the area. Most of the dogs are sourced in the provinces of Batangas and Laguna to the south of Manila, then transported live to the provinces of Benguet, La Union and Ilocos Sur where they are slaughtered and consumed.
NFA has helped achieve major reductions in the Philippine consumption of dog meat. It is now almost unheard of in the capital of Metro Manila, and widely considered an embarrassment to the nation’s reputation. With your support, NFA will continue to fight the dog meat trade, until it is ended once-and-for-all.