The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) has called on various local government units, which have identified with the illegal dog meat trade, to assist in the implementation of the law against the inhumane treatment of animals.
BAI Director Rubina Cresencio said that animal welfare issue can only be resolved if all government agencies will have a unified and effective policy to enforce the provision of the animal welfare law and to stop the practice.
“Under Republic Act [RA] 8485, BAI may call upon government agencies for assistance and it is the duty of the government agencies to assist in the implementation and enforcement of the Animal Welfare Law,” Cresencio said.
The BAI chief noted that people may not be aware of the health issues involved in the trade risking themselves to possible rabies and other bacterial infection owing to the unsanitary and inhumane handling of the animal.
In most countries, dogs are considered as companion animals. The Philippines, however, has been branded as Dog Meat Eating Country.
Despite the Philippines being one of the countries in South East Asia that has dog meat eating practices, is one of the first if not the first Asian Country to pass an Animal Welfare Law, the RA 8485 in 1998.
While dog meat eating practices has been limited to a few areas in the country, the international community has been pressing the government, in particularly BAI who is the lead agency implementing the animal welfare act, to step up its abatement in view of the horrors involved in its handling and risk to rabies contamination.
A review of the police raids and interceptions conducted by the Police and the animal welfare non-government organizations (NGO), Animal Kingdom Foundation Inc., reveal that over 40,000 dogs a year are being traded for its meat for human consumption.
The dogs are sourced from provinces South of Manila and transported to Baguio City and Benguet Provinces to restaurants to cater to customers looking for what is called a local delicacy.
Lawyer Heidi Marquez a-Caguioa, Legal Counsel and Officer of Animal Kingdom Foundation Inc., the animal welfare NGO leading the stopping of the inhumane practice in the Philippines, said that the dogs are either bought from the community by buyers/collectors.
Caguioa said that during transport, the dogs’ feet are tied together behind their backs and mouths muzzled making it impossible for them to breathe properly. Between 30 and over a hundred dogs are then loaded into enclosed vans one on top of the other, stuffed under a fabricated hood, as if cargoes and luggages.
“Their condition is such that 80 [percent]to 90 percent of the animals have already died before they even reach their destination in Baguio,” she added.
On October 4, a forum on the Trading of Dogs for its Meat will be conducted on at Hotel Rembrandt. Participating agencies include various local governments, the Department of Interior Local Government, Department of Health, the Department of Tourism, The National Meat Inspection Service, The Philippine National Police, and Animal Kingdom Foundation Inc.
The forum is being conducted as one of the activities of the Bureau of Animal Industry in celebrating the Animal Welfare Week on October 1 to 7, 2013. October 5 is also known as the World Animal Day.