The Philippines is set to be the first country in Southeast Asia to denounce the trade of dog meat for human consumption.
In a forum in Baguio City, a national plan of action towards a dog-meat trade free Philippines was crafted to indicate the government’s stance against the trade. The city, known for its tolerance for dog meat consumption, was chosen to instill further awareness against the practice.
The plan of action will be spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) in partnership with the DA-National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Animal Kingdom Foundation, Inc., a non stock and non-profit NGO.
It also involves various local government units, their chief executives, city and provincial veterinarians, various police officers in the local and national levels, the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples.
The forum, July 3-4, is an offshoot of last year’s celebration of World Animal Day in Manila, where commitments were made among various agencies to stop the trade of dogs for their meat.
BAI Director Dr. Rubina Cresencio said her office has not only taken seriously the campaign against the trade of dogs for their meat, culminating in the crafting of the National Plan of Action, but also ensured the implementation of programs towards a dog meat trade free Philippines.
The campaign is consistent with the country’s commitments to the OIE, International Animal Health Standards which assists the government’s efforts to come up with an improved animal welfare practices in farms and livestock, the BAI said in a statement.
NMIS Director Dr..Minda Manantan mentioned that “meats from dogs, cats, and other non-food animals as defined under a new law are declared as “hot meat” and are prohibited from sale and distribution.
Charles Wartenberg, President of Animal Kingdom Foundation, Inc., said the recent actions of the Philippine government towards the stopping of the trade of dogs for its meat would be a first in Asia.
“If the country will be successful in this campaign, the country will be gaining more respect and recognition internationally as the first to come up with serious measures against the illegal trade,” he said.
Just recently, the Philippines has been criticized for its apparent inaction towards the dog meat trade. Apart from cruelty to these domestic animals, health and sanitation issues linked to the preparation and cooking of the meat were also raised.
Only on June 23, 2014, a total of 12 dogs were rescued by local authorities in San Pedro Laguna. Dead dogs were found and one hanging, already slaughtered. Dog meat are believed to be mixed with goat meat and sold for human consumption.