The campaign to expose the harmful, violent, and destructive reality of the animal agriculture industry.

Is Asia cooling on dog meat as COVID puts it on disease alert?


It is roughly estimated, given the illicit and unregulated nature of the meat trade, that 12% of the people in Cambodia consume dog meat, 11% in Vietnam and 7% in Indonesia.

SANDY ONG: When Cambodian province Siem Reap banned the dog meat trade in early July… animal activists, who have long decried the business as cruel and barbaric, cheered. Public health officials are applauding, too, hoping the decision will ease the country’s rabies problem.

The move came as the coronavirus pandemic cast a spotlight on the threat of zoonotic illnesses that spread from animals to humans, as well as the potential role of exotic meat. Scientists are still investigating COVID-19’s origin, but it is likely to join a long list of zoonoses that includes Ebola and plague…

The dog meat trade exacerbates the issue. “It involves practices that put handlers, traders and butchers at risk of being bitten,” explained veterinarian Katherine Polak from the Vienna-based animal welfare organization Four Paws. “Plus, rabies-infected animals are frequently sold into the trade” — animals the WHO “strongly discourages” people from eating even without evidence that consumption causes infections.

Siem Reap, better known for its ancient Angkor Wat temple complex, harbors a dark secret: It has been Cambodia’s staging ground for the industry. Four Paws says up to 3 million dogs are killed for food in the country each year — many of them snatched off the streets, transported to slaughterhouses like Hach’s or larger-scale facilities and culled before being delivered to restaurants in the capital, Phnom Penh…

The situation is similar in other Asian countries where dogs are eaten — mainly Vietnam, Indonesia, India, South Korea and China. In China, the largest consumer by far with up to 20 million dogs culled for meat each year, Polak said “it’s all a profit-driven industry” with strong links to organized crime.

Advocacy groups concede they can only make rough estimates of consumption, citing the illicit and unregulated nature of the business. It is also true that only a fraction of these populations eat canines — roughly 12% in Cambodia, 11% in Vietnam and 7% in Indonesia, according to Four Paws’ research…

“Certainly the pandemic has called a lot of attention to the threat of zoonotic diseases,” said Gregory Gray, an epidemiologist at Duke University. “We know that about 70% of the time, emerging infectious diseases in man come from animals.”

Historically, Asia has been a hot spot for such diseases. The H5N1 bird flu first emerged in Hong Kong in 1997, the Nipah virus was initially detected among Malaysian pig farmers in 1999, and SARS has been traced to Guangdong’s food and catering industry in China back in 2002. SOURCE…


Contact Us