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Dog and Cat Meat Trade

An estimated 30 million dogs and an unknown number of cats are killed for the meat trade every year, making it arguably one of the most severe companion animal welfare issues in Asia.

Reasons for the trade differ in each country where dog and cat meat is consumed. In some, dog meat is viewed as an inexpensive protein source or cultural dish while in others, it is believed to have medicinal purpose. As pet ownership rises, however, and dogs and cats are viewed more as members of the family rather than as food, there is growing local opposition to the trade across Asia.

Animal Welfare Issues

Large numbers of dogs and cats are stolen from their owners, snatched from the streets, or sourced from farms, transported long distances and inhumanely slaughtered. Investigations have documented the severe cruelty in all stages of the dog meat trade including sourcing, transport, sale, and slaughter. Dogs are typically caught with iron pinchers or makeshift metal lassos.

Once captured, dogs and cats are transported for many hours or even days. They are packed tightly into cages without food or water and many die during the journey due to suffocation, dehydration, and injury. Following transport, dogs and cats are slaughtered either at a restaurant or market. Slaughter methods vary between countries but typically include bludgeoning with a metal pipe, being stabbed in the chest with a large knife, or electrocution. This is usually done in full view of other animals awaiting slaughter.

A Threat to Human Health

The dog and cat meat trade is the only trade known to encourage the mass movement of unvaccinated companion animals domestically and internationally. This movement undermines local rabies control efforts and is in contravention to recommendations from prominent human health organisations.

The slaughter and consumption of dogs and cats destined for human consumption poses a risk to human health in the form of disease transmission, notably rabies, but also cholera and trichinellosis. Studies have demonstrated an alarming incidence of rabies-infected dogs in restaurants, slaughterhouses, and markets.

How do we stop it?

Ending the dog meat trade throughout Asia requires a multi-pronged approach including:

  • Government collaboration to enforce existing animal transportation and rabies control legislation
  • Public education to improve awareness of animal welfare issues and the public health threat dog meat poses
  • Support of local charities that are working tirelessly to end the trade in their communities
  • Humane and sustainable dog and cat population management program

FOUR PAWS is committed to fighting the trade

In order to stop this horrific trade, FOUR PAWS is a member of several dog meat coalitions active in Vietnam and Indonesia, and operates programs throughout Southeast Asia to promote animal welfare, support local charities, and improve the regional capacity for tackling this trade.



FOUR PAWS and the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition in the news: