Kidnapping Canines: Southeast Asia's Vile Dog Meat Trade   
 
Kidnapping Canines: Southeast Asia's Vile Dog Meat Trade  
The images in the following program are highly sensitive and may be as disturbing to viewers as they were to us. However, we have to show the truth about cruelty to animals, praying that you will help to stop it.

On this week’s Stop Animal Cruelty program we’ll examine the gruesome truth behind the illegal dog meat trade in Southeast Asia with John Dalley of the Soi Dog Foundation, a non-profit charitable group that helps homeless, neglected and abused dogs and cats on the island of Phuket, Thailand. The word “soi” in Thai means side street or alley. The group is also active in helping rescue the thousands of canines and felines struggling to survive the flooding in Bangkok and surrounding areas that began in October 2011.

Dogs have always been referred to generally as “man’s best friend.” And there are good reasons for that in modern times, of course; we see dogs used in a huge variety of purposes by man, from looking after people with physical disabilities and blindness, through security work, and working with the police.

Sadly, however, this beautiful friendship is betrayed in some parts of Asia, where millions of dogs are slaughtered for meat and also have their fur barbarically ripped from their bodies while they’re still conscious for use in so-called fashion garments and toys. An even more shocking fact is that the victims of this heartless trade are often the stolen companions of loving families who have no idea of the tragic fate of their beloved animal friends. In Thailand alone, approximately 1,000 dogs are captured, smuggled and sold in neighboring countries every day.

The vast majority of them that we are seeing now that have been exported are pets stolen off the streets.

They are all extremely friendly dogs. And it’s clear that they’ve all been pet dogs or certainly had an awful a lot of contact with humans because they are not frightened of humans. And many of them are trained.

Dogs are acquired by gangs who will pick these dogs up off the street; they will steal them from people’s gardens, and pet dogs, whatever. And they will transport them by truck back to Ta Rae where they are then contained and once there are sufficient numbers some will be killed there if they’re not in particularly good condition, dogs for local consumption. But the vast majority, and this is the trade we are trying to stop, will be illegally transported to Âu Lạc (Vietnam).

The conditions under which the stolen dogs are transported prior to slaughter are beyond inhumane. As a result, many die from suffocation or severe injuries long before they reach their destinations in nearby nations.

Now the way they do this is, in effect, and you have to see these cages to believe it, but a cage is actually probably about the size of this table. A bit shorter than this but, that height and about that width. So if you can imagine a cage like that they will stuff between 10 and 12 dogs alive into a cage that size. The dog literally can't move; he’s probably bent in position. These cages will be piled onto the trucks, with several hundred dogs per truck. The cages will stack high, probably three or four across.

The dogs in the middle generally have suffocated to death way before they get to Âu Lạc (Vietnam). They are driven to the Mekong River and from there transported over, put back on the trucks and then driven all the way across Laos to Âu Lạc (Vietnam); no water, no food, they literally cannot move; so tightly packed that they’re just stuck like that. One of the first dogs we brought down from Nakhon Phanom (Province) was initially paralyzed.

In actual fact, she’s now running. She still has some nerve damage. But X-rays show one of the tail bones, lower, the first tail bone where the tail joins the back has been dislodged and trapped the nerve. That was causing the paralysis; fortunately it was temporary. But you can see how this happens because dogs are pushed in all sorts of different positions and angles and bones will be broken and dislodged, removed just by simply packing these dogs into cages.

Dogs who somehow survive the ghastly trip are extremely terrified and wounded, yet they don’t know that the worst is yet to come. The methods of slaughter inflict severe agony and are chillingly torturous, all out of the sickening belief that causing immense pain prior to killing raises the adrenalin of the animals and thus tenderizes the meat.

That’s the belief, which is actually totally untrue. If anything, the opposite is the case.

But these dogs often have their legs broken, beaten. They’re skinned alive either by dipping them in boiling water to get the skin off or they’ll use blowtorches on them while they’re alive to remove the skins, hang them up, do all sorts of things before they are actually killed. And it is this horrendous way of killing these animals.

And there’s also other beliefs. We find in Phuket the dogs disappear often around the New Year period. The workers there, they look for black dogs. And they believe the black dogs for some reason taste better than a brown or a white dog or have different properties. Again a ridiculous belief, there’s no evidence of that at all. But people believe these things. Same as they believe in China with, the tiger parts and aphrodisiacs. There’s no basis for that whatsoever. Dog meat particularly is very popular in the winter in Âu Lạc (Vietnam) because they feel it’s supposed to be a meat that warms. Once again there is no evidence to suggest that at all.

In August 2011, police in the northeastern Thai provinces of Nakhon Phanom and Si Songkhram rescued over 1,000 dogs when they intercepted four trucks attempting to smuggle them out of the country and sell them for their meat. Sadly, the lives of 119 of the dogs could not be saved because they died of suffocation in their utterly cramped cages.

Because it’s such a remote area in Thailand, it’s very difficult to stop. The four trucks that were seized, two of them belonged to local government officials, and one belonged to (Aulacese) Vietnamese. And whenever there is a lot of money involved, people are greedy and corruption comes in. And certainly the governor of Nakhon Phanom Province has now stopped two of these convoys, but these convoys go on all the time. It’s not once every few months, this can be every night dogs are being transported over the river. The stealing of dogs is obviously illegal; it’s theft in any country; in fact, it’s illegal but proving that is difficult.

Indeed, all that’s left at the end of this tragic process is a disease-ridden corpse.

Where these dogs are coming from, rabies is endemic in that area. And there’ve been particularly in the handling of dogs for the dog meat trade, in kitchens and restaurants, contracting rabies from handling dogs. They’ve documented cases of people who have not handled dogs, but have eaten dog meat, dying from rabies. In addition, certain parts of dogs can be very poisonous to people. Like the liver is very high in vitamin A, which would be poisonous to a human being. So, there is a danger of rabies being spread in Âu Lạc (Vietnam) from the dogs that they’re importing from Thailand.

Distressingly, canines are also being murdered for their fur.

We have dogs that we’ve rescued in Phuket, from labor camps, that were being skinned alive. Again, there’s the belief that it’s easier to skin a dog alive than it is dead, which doesn’t make sense either. But furs, there’s a big industry with animal fur in Asia for making of little pet toys, fur toys, and the fur will go for that. That’s generally what it’s used for.

What is the Soi Dog Foundation doing to help stop the heinous dog meat industry?

We’re looking now at ways of getting together with organizations in other countries to try to put pressure, to demonstrate, give petitions to embassies in different countries asking the Thai government to, in effect, help to stop the (dog meat) trade to Âu Lạc (Vietnam) and Southern China. What we’re looking at is stopping an illegal trade.

All that will be needed would be a team from Bangkok, totally unassociated with the area (northeastern provinces), to go up for a period to just enforce. Ensure the laws are enforced. Thailand doesn’t want this, you speak to the Thai people. It’s abhorrent to them, they don’t like it. Probably 98% of Thai people would want this trade to stop.

Please make a conscious choice today and help end cruelty to animals; be vegan, not only to save the lives of other beings, but also your own. Let animals be our friends, not our food. John Dalley, we appreciate the efforts of the Soi Dog Foundation to halt the dog meat trade and for its years of service to the canines and cats of Thailand. We pray the Foundation’s benevolent, life affirming work continues and that it rescues many more animals in the future.

For more information on the Soi Dog Foundation, please visit www.SoiDog.org

Intelligent viewers, this concludes this week’s edition of Stop Animal Cruelty. May all animals be eternally blessed by the Creator.
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