By Jenny Moxham, December 2011
Dogs and cats have been in the news this week with a local animal welfare
society coming under scrutiny for perceived cruelty to animals.
Nothing, however, can compare with the cruelty to which dogs and cats are subjected in some parts of Asia.
It is estimated that each year in Asia 13-16 million dogs and 4 million
cats are are killed for their meat.
What makes this trade so particularly heinous is the fact that the animals are generally tortured before being killed and slaughter methods are specifically designed to intensify and prolong their agony.
This is due to the misguided belief that adrenalin enhances flavour and
raises the libido in men.
Dogs may be bludgeoned over the head, stabbed in the neck or groin,
hanged or electrocuted. Boiling water may be thrown over them or holes cut
in their paws so that they bleed to death. Their legs may be broken and they
may be skinned alive the following day. They may be slowly strangled, blow
torched or thrown conscious into drums of boiling water.
Dogs are eaten in large numbers in China and Korea and on a smaller scale
in Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Myanmar, the Asian portions of the
former Soviet Union, Thailand and Vietnam.
Cats - often boiled alive - are eaten in southern China, Korea and some
parts of Indonesia.
Many of the animals sold for food are stolen pets.
In Korea, contrary to popular belief, dog-eating is a relatively recent
phenomenon and has never been a part of their tradition. The story that dog
and cat meat is tradition in Korea is a marketing strategy by unscrupulous
vendors who are exploiting an easy-to-produce commodity.
At China's Guangzhou market, Animals Asia investigators have witnessed
trucks laden with up to 2,000 dogs per truck arriving.
Squashed together in tiny cages, unable to move and without food, water or shelter for up to 3 days the animals suffer enormously during transportation.
At the market they are dragged from the cages by means of metal tongs
clamped tightly around their necks and thrown into pens to await their
brutal and terrifying death. They are killed in full view of one another.
Regrettably, this brutal trade is becoming increasingly industrialized in
China and is even promoted by the government in some provinces.
Huge dog farms have been developed and giant gentle breeds, like the St. Bernard, have been imported to be cross-bred with the local Chinese mongrel to produce a fast growing, docile "meat dog" that can be slaughtered at 4 months.
Livestock sections of large bookshops stock books and DVDs on dog farming
which promote horrific slaughter methods.
Whilst Australia has not yet sunk to this depth of cruelty to dogs and
cats we are still in no position to feel smug.
We impale fish on sharp hooks and allow them to slowly asphyxiate. We
boil live crustaceans. We mince up live chicks. We cut and burn farmed
animals and severely confine them in cramped cages and pens. We subject them
all to a terrifying death.
The monstrous cruelty to dogs and cats in Asia is clearly not justifiable - but can we honestly say that our cruelty is?