Cruelty to animals knows no political or cultural boundaries. We cannot and must not avert our gaze from their suffering, wherever we find it.
That’s precisely why The HSUS created its global arm, Humane Society International. Today, our staff goes to far-flung places to stem the multi-billion dollar global wildlife trade, to combat animal fighting worldwide, to fight factory farming where it stirs in developing countries, to spay and neuter animals throughout the world, and so much more. Earlier this year, HSI helped to secure passage of a regulation to ban the trade in dog and cat fur in the 27 member nations of the European Union—the capstone on an eight-year battle.
Today, I want to tell you about a campaign we are stepping up—with our international partner on the issue, Network for Animals. It’s a campaign to stop the commercial slaughter of dogs for food in the Philippines.
Two dogs rescued from the Philippine dog meat trade.
As many as 500,000 dogs a year are funneled into the dog meat trade in this Pacific archipelago.
There’s no defense for the dog meat trade. The federal government banned commercial dog slaughter for food in 1998, and thanks to a provision in the new national anti-rabies law championed by Philippine Senator Pia Cayetano and the local organization, Animal Welfare Coalition, stronger penalties now apply to those caught in the trade. It’s now an enforcement issue, and the police and the majority of the people in the Philippines stand with us—a growing pet keeping culture has added to the Filipinos’ disdain for this practice.
When investigators from HSI and NFA showed me the footage from the Philippines, I told them it was a moral imperative for us to stay on the ground and fight this horrific cruelty.
This dog meat trade has so many appalling elements. The stealing of people’s pets from rural areas south of Manila. The long-distance transport of the dogs for 8-10 hours to a prominent slaughter area called Baguio. The cramming of so many dogs into cages for transport, as tightly as we might pack our clothes into a suitcase. In the jam-packed cages, the hapless dogs, who have their muzzles bound, suffocate or perish from overheating.
We just assisted in the rescue of 100 dogs from this trade. It’s obvious most of them were pets, and we placed them in the Manila shelter for immediate safe housing. We hope to rescue thousands more. But more importantly, we hope to prevent the dog meat bandits from picking up the dogs in the first place and channeling them into the trade.