Undercover surveillance reveals the ongoing back-alley slaughter and barbecuing of dogs in the Southeast Asian country of the Philippines.
Animal welfare organization Network for Animals (NFA) has been working for twenty years to eradicate this vile, illegal industry. “We’ve managed to curtail the activities of these evil operators”, says NFA chief campaigner, David Barritt. “We’ve shamed most people in the major cities to acknowledge this as a national disgrace. But we still uncover horrific cases.”
Last week NFA instigated a new covert operation, based on information that two restaurants were buying dog meat from illicit suppliers. The transactions were filmed, and a restaurant patron was photographed eating barbecued dog. Proceedings are underway to shut down the restaurants and prosecute the owners.
But deep-rooted cultural practices are difficult to halt. In the provincial areas of the Philippines – especially Laguna, Batangas, La Union and Benguet – dogs are still captured, cruelly caged and then trafficked. The consumption of dog meat was banned in 1998, but the country’s Animal Welfare Act RA 8485 still provides for exemptions where dogs are killed and eaten as part of so-called “indigenous rituals”.
And motivation to enforce the law is sporadic. The country’s police are under-resourced, and the country is prioritizing President Duterte’s high-profile, tightly-focused “war on drugs”. Animal rights campaigners often embark on dangerous raids themselves, resisting brutal gangsters with the power of film – and the courage to do what is right.
“The fight continues. We want to stamp out the dog-meat trade in the Philippines. And everywhere. For good.” says NFA’s Barritt.