Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cat and Dog Meat Trade

Around the world there is mounting concern about the expansion of an international cat and dog meat trade. While certain countries in Asia, including the Philippines and Taiwan, have banned the practice of eating cats and dogs, policing and enforcing such laws are inadequate, and in many parts of Asia, most notably, Korea, China and Vietnam, cats and dogs are still legally being used as food.

Cat and dog farms are currently springing up all over China, with industry ads boasting high rates of return, three times as profitable as poultry, and four times as profitable as raising pigs. Chinese cat and dog farmers believe that in a few short years, these farms will become as prolific as those raising sheep and cattle. In the Philippines, 500,000 cats and dogs are killed annually, most for slaughter but some also for their fur.

Cats and dogs bred for the meat trade may spend their entire lives in wire cages - usually in filthy cramped conditions. Many are packed so tightly into cages on their way to the markets that injuries are common. In addition, these animals are often killed in horrendous ways or beaten severely prior to being slaughtered, in order to stimulate the animal to produce adrenalin; many people believe that eating such meat boosts men's virility.

One restaurant owner in China said: "Cat meat is very often the least expensive dish. Our customers want something special so that's why dishes like cats' eyes and testicles are the most expensive. Basically we eat all of the cat. Another popular dish is stir-fried cats' paws with garlic."

Legislation:
Many Asian countries have relatively poor animal welfare standards and even where laws aimed to prevent such suffering do exist, enforcement and policing are inadequate.

The Philippine Animal Welfare Act No. 8485, (1998) bans the trading and eating of dog meat. However, animal welfare groups claim that widespread corruption of officials and other agencies means that the law is not enforced.

Taiwan's Animal Protection Bill (1988) bans killing dogs for food, but once again the ban is not enforced and there are purportedly around 60 dog meat restaurants throughout Taiwan.

How You Can Help:
Please send a letter urging the Philippines ambassador to enforce the Animal Welfare Act and to stop the cat and dog meat trade.

His Excellency Ambassador Albert F. Del Rosario
Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines
1600 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
United States of America
phone: (202) 467-9300 or (202) 467-9363
fax: (202) 466-6288 or (202) 467-9417
e-mail: info@philippineembassy-usa.org
website: www.philippineembassy-usa.org

You may also express your disapproval with the current treatment of cats and dogs in the Philippines by directly contacting the Philippines President through her website or by writing her a letter.

Webpage: www.op.gov.ph/contact.asp
Mailing address:
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street
San Miguel Manila NCR 1005

The United States Ambassador to Korea may also be contacted at the address below.

The Honorable Alexander Vershbow
Embassy of the Republic of Korea
2450 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008

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