Everyday, dogs are captured and tortured for the Dog Meat trade. YOU can help stop this.
Every year, up to 500,000 dogs are snatched off the streets of Thailand, or even from their owners, and sold for their meat and skin through an established criminal network linking to Vietnam and increasingly into China. The fate of these animals is truly horrid: boiled alive, skinned alive, left to rot from disease or hunger – whichever comes first.
This is the reality for dogs that fall into the hands of these traders, who see these poor animals as just another commodity to be exploited, no different to drugs or timber. Many of the images are too graphic to show but it is beyond doubt that these helpless creatures are literally tortured to death and it continues to happen every single day.
As well as catching wild and stray dogs, these unscrupulous dealers have turned to catching people’s pets, literally driving round in big vans and taking any dog they can get their hands on. In poorer areas, gangs will drive around neighbourhoods offering to trade household goods for the family pet. In affluent areas, masked gangs will break into gardens to snatch animals, often breaking the bones of the animal in the process.
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It’s important that visitors to Southeast Asia realise the cruelty involved in the dog meat trade, and don’t see it as a cultural oddity to be tried and photographed to impress folks back home. If you buy dog meat on the streets of Vietnam or any other country then you are directly helping to fund this industry and its cruel practices.
As horrific as the trade is, there is a small but committed fight to stop this disgusting practice, and a Phuket-based charity, Soi Dog, has been leading the campaign on many fronts to help oppose the dog meat trade. Along with a dog shelter in Phuket and a small clinic in Bangkok, Soi Dog are teaming up with the Thai government and other organisations across the region to try and catch and prosecute the culprits of this already illegal but often ignored crime.
With the help of police, a truck load of nearly 2,000 dogs was successfully rescued from the death wagons on their way to the Laos border to be smuggled into Vietnam. These dogs were literally saved from a boiling pot, and taken to a livestock centre in Nakhon Phanom Province. This centre, however, was designed for farm animals and is not fit for purpose - but there are few other places for these dogs to be housed.
Due to this dire situation, a new dog shelter has been built in Buriram Province in Thailand’s northeastern region of Issan. This is a heartening step but the daily problem of money rears its head on a daily basis as feeding and caring for up to 3000 dogs rescued from the meat trade costs around 700,000 baht a month ($US21,500).
John Dalley, who started Soi Dog with his wife in 2003, is also pushing for an Animal Welfare Bill to be tightened and clarified so extreme cruelty to animals is punishable by more than just a small fine. Due to the difficulty of waging a purely moral campaign, Soi Dog are now fighting on medical grounds, appealing to governments across the ASEAN region to work harder to halt the trade of dogs in order to fight rabies, cholera and other diseases spread by wild animals.
If you feel appalled by the situation, there are several ways you can help. All donations are very much welcome, no matter how little you can spare. Soi Dog is a non-for-profit charity and their accounts are published every year. Everyone is also welcome to visit the dog shelter in Phuket, either to help with the day to day operations of walking and playing with the dogs or you can visit for a guided tour of the operation. Find out more at www.soidog.org.
Another way to help is to sign a petition to be delivered to Thailand’s Prime Minister at: https://savedogs.soidog.org/petition. There is an accompanying video presented by celebrities including comedian Ricky Gervais and actress Dame Judy Dench.
Asiawebdirect.com also helps with a range of other charities in Thailand, including the CCF Foundation for children.