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As some countries turn away from the dog meat industry, others expand it

March 27, 2017 | dog meat / Dogs


Over the weekend, on the same day 46 dogs were rescued from the horrific and cruel dog meat industry in South Korea, The New York Times published an article exposing that even though some countries might be turning away from the dog meat trade, others are embracing it.


At Friends of Animals (FoA), we know changing a culture is no easy task, and many factors are involved in creating and sustaining a movement that results in longterm changes.


The story, "Indonesian’s Taste for Dog Meat is Growing, Even as Others Shun it," puts into perspective exactly how difficult it can be to create significant change when it comes to actually shutting down the dog meat industry. It shows how financial gain, cultural belief and lack of government oversight are all roadblocks to killing this industry, and how each of these issues need to tackled.


FoA knows that education is key, starting with one person or group at a time. Consuming animals is not morally defensible, and can't be justified by habit, culture, amusement, convenience or pleasure. Humane groups can't purchase every dog in Indonesia, China or South Korea to end the dog meat trade. Moreover, dogs, cats, birds, cows and other animals should not be brought into existence to be treated as food, and plant protein easily replaces animal protein. That educational message must be launched again and again until a movement grows to re-make a culture.


The article explains that in the Southeast Asian region and Indonesia, rising incomes seem to be increasing the demand for dog meat, which many believe contains special health benefits. In those areas, many people still can't afford beef, but now can afford to eat dogs and cats.In Indonesia, as in some other countries where dogs are eaten, the dog meat industry operates largely in the shadows, and reliable data on consumption is scarce. But according to the Times, restaurant owners, butchers, researchers and animal rights advocates agree that more dogs are being killed and eaten here than ever before. The horrifying abuse that these dogs face due to this increase in demand and lack of any government regulation is detailed in the article which you can read here (link).

This contrast between the two stories this weekend exemplifies the struggle that many animal activists face on a day-to-day basis. Do short-term solutions, like rescuing 46 dogs and flying them to America, run the risk of drawing attention away from the larger cultural issues that need to be addressed here and abroad? Do actions that make us here in America feel good actually directly impact those participating in cruel practices?   

That is also why we are reaching out to the animal welfare groups in Indonesia who struggle with creating a movement that actually invokes cultural change. Bali Animal Welfare Institute is one such organization which focuses attention on education and advocacy, which “is helping to change attitudes towards animal welfare, step by step. Whether it is seen as tradition, religion or a lack of understanding, much suffering is caused by humans.”


FoA couldn’t agree with that more. 


These animals need all the help we can give

Education is the key to save the lives of millions of sentient beings from human ignorance.

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