Last week Network for Animals caught dog meat traders in the act. On the 3rd December our team raided Comiles, a popular chain restaurant in the Philippines. We discovered dog meat on the menu, and dog meat in the kitchen.
Comiles is a restaurant chain, with branches in and around the city of Baguio and Benguet province. The restaurant is widely known for serving dog, a practice Network for Animals stand against, not-least because of the torturous way that dogs are stolen and killed: Dogs are abducted from the streets, their mouths are bound so that they are unable to bark, and forced into tiny cages without food or water. Many die of suffocation before they see the knife of the dog-meat trader.
NFA raided two Comiles branches on 3rd December; one in Wangal and one in Puguis, La Trinidad, Benguet. We were supported by the National Meat Inspection Service and the police, together we confiscated their dog meat, and NFA are beginning prosecution.
This is not our first involvement with the chain who are widely known for their dog meat menu. In 2013 we asked San Miguel to stop supporting the restaurant because of its association with dog meat. And, in 2002, the Political Animal Lobby (Network for Animals’ sister organisation) reported on the seizing of 52 dogs from the Comiles Restaurant illegal slaughterhouse.
Network for Animals have now filed legal cases against branch owners of the Wangal and Puguis restaurants, using the recently implemented Meat Inspection code. We believe we are the first organisation to press for dog-meat-trader prosecution using this act, which carries fines of up to 1,000,000 Philippine Pesos (£$21, 000) and up to 12 years in prison. If successful, we believe the penalties involved will strike at the jugular of the dog-meat-trade, as the potential punishments far outweigh the profits to be gained by trading in dog.
Our partnerships with the police and the National Meat Inspection Service are successful, but the issue does not stop at Comiles door. There is high consumption of dog meat offered to the public in Baguio city and Benguet province, because local government units and officials often turn a blind eye to the existence of these restaurants, in favour of votes and targeting other crimes.
We are extremely grateful for the collaborative support provided by the National Meat Inspection Service, and local police forces, who have assisted and protected Network for Animals staff during these operations. We will continue to catch and prosecute further, and with your support, the fight against the dog meat trade is ours to win.