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Why CFAF is not campaigning for regulation of the dog meat trade

Change For Animals Foundation works throughout Asia with our partner organisations to raise awareness of the inherent cruelty of the dog meat trade and the significant risk it poses to human health and public safety.

We campaign for an outright ban on the production and consumption of dog meat because regulating its production would mean endorsing the systematic cruelty the dogs endure throughout their lives and when they are brutally killed.

It is important to note that by calling for an end to dog meat production and consumption, we are not endorsing or suggesting an increase in that of other species of animals. CFAF is opposed to the intensive farming of all animals for meat because of the unimaginable cruelty and suffering it causes to hundreds of millions of animals every year. We are committed to promoting compassion towards and the humane treatment of all animals around over the world.

We can and should learn from our mistakes. Regulation has not stopped the daily abuse of hundreds of millions of ‘conventional’ livestock species around the world; in fact, in many cases, regulation has simply endorsed the systematic use of cruel farming methods. Animals are bred and reared in a system that fails to meet their basic needs and most suffer every day through legalised practices, including many permitted cruel methods of slaughter. Once animals are accepted and classified as ‘livestock’ – as a commodity produced for consumption – their awful treatment becomes accepted in society. In addition, regulating the meat industry has not stopped outbreaks of serious diseases, such as Foot and Mouth, ‘Mad Cow’ and Avian Influenza, which pose an enormous risk to human and animal health.

Authorities calling for regulation of the dog meat trade often do so in an effort to control diseases linked to the trade, or as an attempt to mitigate the environmental damage it causes. However, there is no evidence that regulating the large-scale breeding, trade, slaughtering and consumption of dogs would positively impact safety or environmental concerns. And formal regulation would not improve the welfare of the dogs involved.

But why not campaign for regulation as a ‘first step’?

The argument for regulation is completely at odds with that of banning of the trade. By calling for regulations to make cages a little bigger, transport a bit less torturous and slaughter slightly less brutal, we would ultimately prevent bringing about a legal end to a trade that causes unthinkable suffering and threatens public health. Regulation would not afford the dogs better lives, it would simply legalise what is happening now, lending legitimacy to an inherently inhumane and dangerous trade.

Once legalised, there would be no turning back from the large-scale production of dog meat, setting a dangerous precedent.

We know that governments are only prepared to consider issues like this once every several decades. We cannot miss the first opportunity we get to make sure this cruel trade is banned for good. If we focus on getting regulations introduced, which themselves would take years to come into effect, we would let down all the dogs who are depending on us to make the changes desperately needed to protect them from this brutality.

Regulation is not a step towards banning – they are completely separate legislative tools – and regulating a fundamentally cruel business is not our aim. Spending time and resources trying to win a battle where the objective isn’t our ultimate aim, is a fight we shouldn’t embark on. Our time and money is better spent bringing a complete end to the needless suffering of dogs killed for their meat. There is only one goal, and we need to focus on that for the sake of the millions of dogs who currently suffer from absolute indifference to their misery.

We don’t need to weaken our stance by getting into lengthy discussions about regulation, and nor should we have to, because what is at stake is far too important. Our position to ensure a complete ban is based on an unwavering belief that animals should be afforded respect and compassion.

The dog meat trade is a highly contentious and emotive issue in most countries where its consumption is popular. As a result of mounting national and international concerns for animal welfare, a rapidly increasing pet ownership in Asia, and a greater awareness of the human health risks associated with this industry, the opposition towards the production and consumption of dog meat has become increasingly vocal.

Our voice is becoming louder and our determination and commitment are resolute – the tide of opinion is turning against the industry.

Whilst no country has specifically legalised the dog meat industry, a number of Asian countries, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Philippines, (where dog meat was once a popular dish), have banned the slaughtering and the sale of dogs for human consumption.

We have an opportunity to stop dogs from becoming another species intensively farmed for human consumption. CFAF will continue to fight this trade until all dogs are saved from the cruelty being endured by millions every year.

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