Ending the Dog and Cat Meat Trade
Soi Dog's fight against the dog and cat meat trade in Asia has been running for over eleven years and our commitment to ending this barbaric practice remains as staunch today as it was when we set out.
With the amazing help from Soi Dog supporters around the world, in the difficult last two years we have partnered with organisations actively fighting the trade in Cambodia and South Korea, and continued our dialogue with government departments in Vietnam.
Today, Soi Dog is once again tackling this horrific trade head on and hands on throughout the region, and struck a partnership with Animal Kingdom Foundation (AKF) to combat the illegal trade in the Philippines. This is the next step towards ending the trade in every last country on Earth.
Help shut down the dog meat trade in the Philippines
In the face of overwhelming cruelty and suffering, it is easy to feel helpless. But you can help. Please sign our letter to the government of the Philippines urging them to crack down and put an end to this barbaric illegal trade once and for all.
The existing ban is great progress, but it is not enough. The laws must be enforced. Thousands of dogs are still being tortured and killed very year in this horrific underground industry.
With your support, we can urge the government to take decisive action and impose tougher penalties for those violating the law.
We have created change through campaigning before, and together we can do it again. The more social and political pressure we can put on the dog meat traders, the more dogs will be spared. That's why we want to the support of the highest levels of leadership, and why your name on the letter will really help.
There is great power in your voice. We urge you to act today.
Will you join us? Please sign our letter to the government of the Philippines: Help shut down the dog meat trade | Soi Dog Foundation
About the Trade in Asia
The dog and cat meat trade is one of the most serious animal welfare issues in Asia. Soi Dog Foundation is working in several countries to end this inhumane and barbaric practice.
The availability of dog meat in particular is widespread in Asia, where the welfare concern is enormous due to the large numbers of dogs being stolen from owners. They are taken from the streets or, in Korea, sourced from farms, transported long distances and inhumanely slaughtered.
The conditions under which dogs are farmed, transported, and slaughtered are inhumane and barbaric. The dogs are not humanely killed; most undergo immense suffering from being packed into crates, often for hours without food and water, resulting in many being severly injured or suffocating to death. Often they are force-fed liquid rice down tubes into their stomachs, sometimes leading to asphyxiation. It is not unusual for dogs to be burnt alive to remove their fur or thrown into large vats of boiling water for the same purpose. In some areas it is believed that the pain inflicted on dogs before death increases the flow of adrenaline, which can make the meat taste better.
Soi Dog has been successful in effectively ending Thailand’s dog meat trade and is actively expanding its efforts to neighbouring countries where little is being done to address the issue. In Thailand, our undercover investigators continue to monitor for signs of the trade re-emerging. Soi Dog has cared for thousands of dogs rescued from the dog meat trade and found loving homes for them.
In Vietnam, where approximately five million dogs are slaughtered each year for human consumption, Soi Dog is working with the national government and Vietnam Television, the national television broadcaster, to raise public awareness of the severe cruelty of the dog meat industry and the human health risks it poses. In addition, and in partnership with Vietnamese law enforcement agencies and the Department of Animal Health (DAH), Soi Dog is working to impose laws to prohibit the industry.
Tests have been carried out on several hundred dogs post-slaughter by the Vietnamese Government and results have been verified by the US CDC. These showed that over 3% of dogs tested positive to rabies, putting both handlers and consumers at risk. Together with the DAH, we will commence a survey of all slaughter houses and establishments serving dog meat in the city to gather evidence of the need to shut down the industry on health grounds.
In September 2018, the Hanoi municipality in Vietnam announced that it will ban dog meat sales in the city centre by 2021. To help with this, in 2019 we launched a petition to ask the Formula 1 group for their influence to encourage the authorities there to bring an end to the trade, once and for all. At that time, Hanoi had been added to their Grand Prix calendar. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic saw the postponement and eventual cancellation of the event. With the targeted deadline now passed, we have turned our attention to directly petitioning for the Vietnamese government to bring the ban into effect. You can add your voice to this petition here.
In Cambodia, we are supporting a campaign to expose and put to an end the trade there. With our support, 'End Dog Meat Trade Cambodia' are working to reduce the demand for dog meat with a social media marketing campaign and are continuing the research carried out by independent organisations to document and map out the dog meat restaurants, slaughterhouses, and supply routes in Cambodia. In 2020, authorities in Siem Reap announced a ban on dog meat in the city, a sign that progress is being made.
The trade was banned indirectly in 1998 as part of the Animal welfare Act that was passed that year prohibiting cruelty, maltreatment, neglect and the killing of animals in general except those that were identified and enumerated as ‘food’ animals. Under the guidelines of the act, the dog meat trade can be considered as cruel, and therefore part of the prohibited acts.
The 2007 Anti-rabies Act was more specific in its wording, though, and incorporated the provision that "the local government units shall prohibit the trade of dogs for meat" and its implementing rules mention the penalty and defines the penalty to “Any person found guilty of trading dog for meat shall be fined not less than five thousand (5,000) Philippine pesos ($90 USD) per dog and subjected to imprisonment for between one and four years.
However, an upper estimate of 200,000 dogs still fall victim to an underground and illegal trade that still exists mainly in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao regions.
In 2022, we joined forces with Animal Kingdom Foundation (AKF), the largest animal welfare group in the Philippines fighting the trade, and we are working together to carry out raids and interceptions on illegal dog meat traders, and to lobby national authorities to properly enforce the law that already prohibits this awful practice.
In China, Soi Dog has in the past provided substantial financial assistance to activists working on the ground to rescue, medically treat, and care for hundreds of dogs saved from the country's dog meat trade and the notorious Yulin dog meat festival. The situation in China is very delicate. Since the government removed dogs from the Livestock List in May 2020, the sale of dogs and cats for consumption is illegal, noting that cats were never included on the livestock list. However, the actual consumption of cats and dogs is not illegal - so if you killed your own dog, for example, you could eat the meat, but you cannot legally sell the meat to others. Many local authorities are on board, while many more need encouragement and engagement by local NGO's. Any "campaign" - especially one promoted by a foreign NGO - is generally not advised, owing to political sensitivity and the stirring up of public emotions which is not conducive to how progress is currently being achieved.
The Taiwanese Government banned the consumption of dog meat in 2017. Senior ministers from Taiwan visited the Soi Dog centre along with Genlin (Mr.Hiroshi Horiike), the founder of World Dog Alliance who was instrumental in bringing about the ban.
In South Korea, Soi Dog has worked for several years supporting local activists and meeting with politicians to have new laws enacted to end the dog meat trade. We have financed the erection of large billboards and graphic advertisements on the sides of buses passing close to dog meat markets . This has now led to the banning of all slaughtering of dogs in markets in the capital Seoul, including the infamous Moran dog meat market. In addition, we have financed the rescue of over 100 dogs abandoned by farmers on the site of a former market and, in 2021, partnered with Animal Rescue Korea (ARK 119) to support their efforts in closing down more dog farms in Buncheon. Efforts to rehome the rescued dogs continue to this day.
A dog is a dog is the key message Soi Dog is promoting in South Korea - a challenge to the myth that 'meat dogs' are different to pet dogs. Some people believe that ‘meat dogs’ don’t have a soul, or the same feelings as pet dogs. They’re the same people who drive demand for dog meat.
By turning public opinion against dog meat consumption and the farming of dogs, and by keeping up pressure on law-makers to make the industry illegal, we hope to see the dog meat trade in South Korea shut down for good.