Last week we travelled to Brussels to meet with MEPs and discuss what role the European Parliament could play in bringing an end to the illegal trade in dog meat in the Philippines.

Via UK parliamentary channels we have had great success working with MPs to highlight the cruelty inherent in the dog meat trade. MPs interested in our work in the Philippines have highlighted the issue via parliamentary questions, a successful Early Day Motion and countless letters to the Government and embassies in Manila and London.  MPs from all the political parties have shown an interest in this issue, no doubt in part due to the significance of ”man’s best friend” in the lives of ordinary constituents across the UK, but we believe that the international community can do more to positively influence progressive animal welfare policy in developing countries.

We feel that the European Union as the biggest source of direct foreign investment to the Philippines and the fifth largest host of Filipino workers, could play a significant role in promoting the need for effective enforcement of legislation prohibiting the dog meat trade.

There are two pieces of legislation in the Philippines designed to combat the trade in dogs for their meat. The most significant is the Rabies Act 2007 which upgraded penalties for convicted dog meat traders to include jail time, in addition to substantially increasing fines for those successfully prosecuted.  The threat of rabies continues to pose a significant health threat to humans in the Philippines.  An estimated 10,000 dogs and 350 humans die of rabies every year.  Furthermore, additional diseases associated with consuming dog meat include E.Coli 107, salmonella, anthrax, hepatitis, internal parasites and brucellosis. A large proportion of these diseases can be fatal.

The risk of rabies transmission is not present simply in the consumption of infected meat – it is inherent at every stage of the process, from the live capture and transportation of dogs to the makeshift slaughterhouses which butcher the animals.

Following the trip to Brussels, where this matter was discussed with several MEPs, we feel that the international dog meat trade is an issue of concern for European Parliamentarians and we’re confident it will continue to be raised during international talks and via parliamentary channels.

With cruelty, law breaking and health risks present throughout the dog meat trade we believe EU involvement could signal a final end to this barbaric underground industry.