Animals · Dogs · Educatio · Uncategorized

UK Set to Ban Dog Meat

It is hard to believe it has been six years since we founded the global NoToDogMeat campaign and a charity called World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade. Totally unique a charity with Objects not just to end suffering to dogs and cats but stop them being skinned and blowtorched alive.

When we first campaigned against Yulin and even when I went there to face the horror hardly everyone knew about it. The biggest response we got in London was

“Well we don’t eat dogs here do we? ” What people did not realise was there was actually no law to prevent people from doing that.

Now finally following the example set in the USA the UK is finally debating a bill to Lead By Example and send a message #CrueltyIsNotCool

We have come a long way since my e-petition in 2012 Urging the UK Government to ACT  when they responded to say there was little they can do.

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Animals · dogs · microchipping · puppy farming · Uncategorized

Defra Reveal Plans to Make Selling Puppies Under 8 weeks Old Illegal

Is this the beginning of the end to puppy farming?

New rules to crack down on backstreet breeders

puppy
Selling puppies under the age of eight weeks will become illegal under the new plans.

Defra unveils plans to reform dog breeding licensing rules

Tougher dog breeding licensing rules will be introduced as part of a suite of reforms to crack down on ‘backstreet breeders’, the government has confirmed today (2 February).

Selling puppies under the age of eight weeks will become illegal under the new plans, and anyone breeding and selling three or more litters of puppies a year will require a formal licence. ‘Backstreet breeders’ and larger commercial breeders will therefore be required to meet strict welfare criteria in order to get a licence, Defra says.

Breeders who do not adhere to the rules will face an unlimited fine or up to six months in prison.

To update current legislation, anyone trading commercially in pets online will need to be properly licensed. The government’s plans also cover the licensing of pet shops, boarding houses and riding stables, and a single ‘animal activities licence’ will be introduced to improve the process and make enforcement easier.

Pet shops will be required to give buyers written information about the species they buy, including exotic pets, which will provide details of the five welfare needs owners must meet under the Animal Welfare Act.

Defra also urged pet owners to make sure their pet’s microchip is up to date. According to the latest figures, 94 per cent of dogs have been fitted with microchips, nine months after compulsory microchipping of dogs became law.

World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade offers free microchipping to dogs and cats.
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Struggling to be Heard – Unreported World Expose Vietnam’s Dog Snatchers Oct 2014

20 years ago an amazing woman, and mentor to our cause, South Korean-born activist Kyenan Kum succeeded in getting mainstream airtime on the Korean dog meat trade. But after this programme was broadcast she found that doors were closed rather than opened.

It has been a long struggle to get people talking about the dog meat trade again. I was therefore very pleased when investigative journalist Nelufar Hedayat from the Channel 4 documentary series Unreported World contacted me and told me of her plans to travel to and uncover the murky illegal world of Vietnam’s dog snatchers in person.

I knew from my own experiences that Nelufar would face huge emotional challenges during the filming of this documentary but suspected her real challenge would be to get her film broadcast here in the UK. She has succeeded.

The film is powerful and will be distressing to watch. I spoke to Nelufar to find out what had motivated her to make Vietnam’s Dog Snatchers (scheduled for this Friday, 3rd October, 7.30pm Channel 4) and to ask about her experiences.

What motivated you to do this film?

Vietnam’s Dog Snatchers is a film that looks at the shocking and often cruel world of the dog meat trade in Vietnam. In the half-hour documentary we look at the growing human cost that’s got the whole country talking about the issue. People are being killed for dog meat, whether it’s the the thieves that are servicing the insatiable demand for the meat in Vietnam or, more often, the villagers that are beaten and even killed as thieves become more violent and brazen in their attacks.

My director Daniel Bogado and I were motivated to do this film because when we made a few calls we were immediately met with a black hole when it came to facts and information. Apart from a few campaigners no-one seemed to be able to tell us anything about the illicit trade. The only thing that was clear from our research was that dogs and people were dying. When I got in touch with the Vietnamese government to find out what the laws governing the slaughter of dogs were, I was met with more ‘umms’ and ‘errs’ than actual answers. It was clearly an issue that Unreported World had to investigate.
What do you hope people will take away from the film?

I’ll tell you what I don’t want people to take away from this: that the issue only effects a few dogs in one country and that it’s so far away that it really doesn’t matter because it’s their culture and that in Vietnam they don’t care anyway. All these assumptions are wrong. What I want people to take away from the film is an understanding of an issue that’s affecting both people and animals. These dogs are being killed, often inhumanely, with absolutely no regulation and no one to challenge the thieves and middle men that profit from the business. If all you can get for stealing a low breed Vietnamese dog is a small fine why wouldn’t you do it? The rewards far outweigh the risks.

Most importantly for me is that Vietnamese people watch my film and really see what it is that’s happening out there because I know that once this hidden world is exposed – some of these people will want to do something about it.

What were your challenges?

We managed to film a dog processing village in the north of Vietnam where we saw men force feeding rice down the gullets of hundreds of dogs- and this was a slow day. By this point I’d already visited the street market slaughter houses and dozens of dog meat streets but even then it was quite disturbing and difficult to see. This was cruelty for profit – systematic, mass- scale, horrific.

The challenges I faced were multiple. The last thing I wanted to do go there with preconceived notions of the ‘freakish Vietnamese people’ eating dog meat – so terribly uncivilised of them! But also- if our investigation was to uncover cruelty – I didn’t want to cower away from asking the questions and taking people to task. We did find cruelty – both casual and intentional – and we don’t shy away from showing this in our film.

It was a mental struggle throughout the trip. Coming from Britain, I couldn’t help but feel a little shocked by the laissez-faire attitudes of some of the people I met in the (exclusively) dog meat restaurants and on-street slaughter houses. It’s a fact that not all Vietnamese eat dog meat, in fact it’s an acquired taste mostly in the northern part of the country but still millions are killed for consumption every year and for most people who do eat it – it was an attitude of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’.

But what became clear to me as I continued my trip was that the people should know the way the animals are treated before slaughter and the fact that often dogs are disease-ridden and have little paperwork to say where they’re coming from. In my entire time there I couldn’t find a single person who could tell me where the dogs they were selling came from – which explains an even more contemptuous part of this illicit trade: that often its pet dogs or family dogs that are stolen and sold on to the meat trade.

Why should people watch it?

Whether you’re a dog lover or not, whether you eat meat or not – this film isn’t about that. What Unreported World have uncovered is a national scandal that’s gripped a nation in which dogs as well as people are being killed with little involvement from the government or a will to do anything about it – and its getting out of control.

Follow Julia de Cadenet on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/juliadecadenet
MORE: Julia De Cadenet Dog Meat Vietnam Yulin Cat Meat Pets Notodogmeat Unreported World Channel 4

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Hollywood Celebrities Agree: Nothing ‘Splendid’ About the Dog Meat Trade Huffpo Blog July 2014

Last Saturday night at the Hollywood Bowl thousands attended a glittering evening performance of Chinese Splendor – the finale of a two week extravaganza of dance, music and theatre showcasing an array of national art forms from Chinese culture.

But to me right now, the term ‘Chinese Splendor’ feels so tragically wrong. For barely 21 days ago, Yulin – a city in the southern province of Guangxi – celebrated a nightmarish midsummer festival where thousands of dogs were bludgeoned to death and Chinese activists were forced to plead and bargain in the street with traders who laughed as they blackmailed them for high prices – threatening to torture dogs right in front of them.

Respecting culture should never be used as an excuse for cruelty and abuse and like many other advocates (and as CEO of an animal welfare charity) I might expect this glittering showbiz display to make people quickly forget what they had so recently witnessed: the horrifying abuse and death of thousands of beautiful, sentient and loving, living beings – those we refer to as ‘companion animals’.

This 4th July weekend however saw a new and pleasing development: concluding several weeks of unprecedented online outpouring of grief and protest (both within China and internationally) Californian celebrities had rallied a band of activists to stand outside the Hollywood Bowl and say ‘Yes to Chinese Splendor but No to Eating Dog and Cat Meat’. Visiting Chinese dignitaries and artists will have seen from their limos a line-up of protesters – organised by Lori Alan (who plays news anchor Diane Simmons in TV cartoon Family Guy) Fia Perera, Sky Valencia and Shannon Lee – holding placards and banners saying ‘No To Dog Meat’. I pray they will take this story home and that somehow it will help the Chinese authorities find the political will to enact welfare laws for all animals and to end a trade which has no legal status within Chinese society.

LA’s demo chimes well with recent events in the UK. The issue of the dog meat trade has just been tabled as an Early Day Motion in UK Parliament and an online petition to the White House seeks 100,000 signatures to raise the issue in the US government.

A petition however high it climbs will not in itself effect immediate change – though I believe they are a worthwhile way to raise, focus and maintain attention to an issue. Last year I raised 10,000 signatures on an official UK government e-petition about the egregious cruelty in South Korea where dogs and cats are often burned and boiled alive for superstitious reasons. It elicited a lame fobbing off from the foreign office which complacently explained that its hands are tied against such torture there being no internationally recognised animal welfare laws.

Ultimately, real lasting change will need to come from within the countries affected. There are already small signs of hope – in China where historically, popular protest has been – and still is – repressed, the citizen activists who took to the streets of Yulin have already seen a drop in local dog meat consumption of over 30%. Let us hope the many others working hard in countries like South Korea, Indonesia and Vietnam soon see similar achievements.

At home for now I am still disappointed that the media tends to ignore the reality – Channel Four currently has a series entitled ‘The World’s Best Diet’ the first episode of which last week ran a long segment on South Korea yet completely failed to mention dog or cat meat.

Over the next few months I will be blogging on how we can all work to influence and effect change for animals. I am greatly encouraged by the emerging awareness of the dog meat issue among celebrities of all countries. Younger generations are hugely influenced by the arts and media and there is arguably nowhere better placed than Hollywood to kick-start a worldwide revolution in public and media thinking.

The NoToDogMeat campaign is led by the UK registered Charity 1154524 World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade 17 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0PH 0207 873 2250 http://www.notodogmeat.com

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Tradition or Travesty: China’s Yulin Dog Meat Festival – I Say ‘NoToDogMeat’ Hufffpo June 2014

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/julia-de-cadenet-/china-dog-meat-festival_b_5513995.html

How are you celebrating the Summer Solstice? In Yulin, China a feast of 10,000 dogs is planned for this weekend.

As a dog lover I cannot imagine anything worse than my best friend used for food – and the thought of her being beaten, hung, skinned, blowtorched or even boiled alive leaves me frozen and distressed. Imagine then an entire festival devoted to eating dog as part of a trade where such methods are commonplace. This is not a myth created to shock – it’s a fact.

Since the 1990s in the city of Yulin – in a rural part of China, the Southern province of Guangxi – around 10,000 dogs are slaughtered so that they can be eaten on or around June 21st. The meat is served with lychees as a stew.

You may wonder how so many dogs are found – in fact they are shipped in on huge dog trucks in tightly packed cages. Some are from ‘dog farms’ but most are rounded up strays and former pets. I have witnessed entire cages full of dogs being literally thrown to the ground from the tops of trucks several metres high.

Is this culturally acceptable….or even legal? Unfortunately, China has no real animal protection laws – certainly not for the dogs and cats who end up as part of the human food chain – and because the trade is unofficial and black market it is not even subjected to health, trade or food production laws. Culture aside, Chinese consumers have many reasons to think twice.

And as if this were not bad enough, China is not the only country with a dog and cat meat trade. During the hot summer months it is estimated that over 12. 5 million dogs and cats are eaten each year in South Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Philippines and Indonesia – and in nearly every instance, torture is demanded. It is still believed by some that the more suffering a dog endures the more potent or tender is the resulting meat or that if a cat is boiled into a soup or drink it can cure ailments. Many believe dog meat can treat impotency. Governments turn a blind eye and stay silent. The dog meat trade – illegal and unregulated – is lucrative for some who will not be willing to relinquish it and so far there has been no political will to address this.

Thankfully, there is a glimmer of hope: times are changing and so are attitudes. This year’s Yulin festival has become more subdued and secretive having attracted unprecedented opposition amongst activists and celebrities from both inside and outside of China. Social media has played a huge role in spreading information and the gruesome images of suffering animals are now shared far and wide.

The charity World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade runs the ‘NoToDogMeat’ campaign. Originating as a lobbying page on Facebook WPDCM works to raise awareness at home and abroad and aims to make a lasting difference to the welfare of animals in those countries affected.

NoToDogMeat campaigners have been outside the Chinese Embassy all week and the BBC petitioning against the Yulin Dog Meat Festival Photo: Brett AllanMany people in the UK and other western countries have not even heard of the dog meat trade. I continue to lobby our own government and the UN for at least an acknowledgement of the existence of the trade. In December last year I spoke at the APGAW annual general meeting on Companion Animals and this week hand delivered a letter for the Chinese prime minister Li who was in London this week. Routinely, Chinese Embassy officials are unresponsive to protest and will rarely open the door for petitions. Recently even a group of Chinese people wishing to pay tribute to the Tiananmen victims were refused.

People often ask how we can make a difference being so far away, but through social media we can all connect with activists and other welfare groups and our collective voice is powerful. Freedom of speech is curtailed in China but here we can speak out, without the same fear of reprisal and this makes a genuine difference for activists abroad.

The sad reality remains for now that with a festival like Yulin even if it is banned publicly the cruelty will still go on behind closed doors.

To find out more about our work please visit http://www.notodogmeat.com You can also find us on facebook http://www.facebook.com/NoToDogMeat and twitter @NoToDogMeat World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade registered charity 1154524
17 Cavendish Square London W1G 0PH + 44 207 873 2250